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Hawai'i is the land of aloha. It is a blue state from a voting history perspective. Hawai'i was the first state in the union to ratify the Equal Rights Ammendment, to allow abortions, pass a pre-paid health insurance law and pass a statewide zoning law.

An idealistic focus has been lost over the years by the Democrats due to complacency. Democrats who felt "left out" of the political process when Republicans held sway in Hawai'i long ago, are fading away. The younger generations having benefitted from the fruits of economic growth and equality, are more intent on contemplating their survival in a state where the cost of living is high and rising (or moving to the mainland). They are less apt to see a need to fight for a 'democratic' political cause. Those inmigrants from out of state, meanwhile, tend to be more conservative.

Democrats have been the source of a string of political corruption and mismanagement stories over the decades creating voter disgust and low voter turnout. The Bush/Kerry presidential race, however, created high voter interest in Hawaii, bringing democrats out to the voting booths and Republicans lost seats in the state legislature as a result.

Republicans in 2004 and 2005 have had their own series of political 'mistakes'. (see Brian Blundell, Galen Fox, Beverly Wolff Harbin and Dalton Tanonaka)

Democratic Revolution

The Democratic Revolution of 1954, when Hawaii's territorial legislature turned Democratic overnight, was the result of a politics of resentment. The politics and economy of pre WWII Hawai'i was dominated by an oligarchy of sugar, pineapple and related plantation companies popularly called the 'Big Five'. The revolution was an effort by newly unionized workers and college educated postwar ethnic American vetereans, in large measure due to the GI Bill of Rights, to correct the injustices of a plantation economy. In a cathartic liberal political convulsion, a heady idealism prevailed in the 50's and 60's, not likely to be seen in Hawai'i again.

Demographically Unique

There is no ethnic majority in Hawai'i. Today, approximately 22% of Hawai'i’s population are Caucasians, 19% are of Japanese ancestry, 19% Hawaiian or Part Hawaiian, and 13% Filipino. Racism is a concern in an ethnically diverse state of Hawaii, and "traditional Values" are strong (albeit from a wide and divergent range borrowing from all Pacific cultures).

Simple Governmental Structure

Hawai'i has a uniquely simple governmental structure: a state government and five counties, there are no municipalities. County bodies are a peculiar mix of municipal and county, since county executives are refered to as “ Mayors” , and the Island of Oahu is officially named, the "City and County of Honolulu” .

Hawai'i’s centralized state government is unique, a legacy of Hawai'i’s history as a kingdom. Hawai'i has a statewide school system, state hospitals, state airports, state harbors, state libraries, statewide zoning and even a state-owned football stadium. There is a state income tax, state excise tax, and a state hotel room tax. The Counties must rely on real property taxes, user fees, and various state transfer payments.

Federal Government

Legislative Branch

Judicial Branch

Hawaii State Government

Executive Branch

Legislative Branch

Hawaii State Legislature

Judical Branch

Hawaii State Constitution

Federal/State Entities Regarding Native Hawaiians

County Governments of Hawaii

Past officeholders

Past federal officeholders

Past State and Territorial Governors and Lt. Governors

2006 Political Parties in Hawaii


2010 elections

Discuss Hawaii

  • Discuss Hawaii -- Links to sources of news/political information and pundits, links to sources of economic info, a blog list, environmental groups, newsgroups and other Hawaii sources. You are invited to refine and expand the list. (see this page).


Sources on Contemporary Hawaiian Politics

  • Lawrence Fuchs. 1961. Hawaii Pono. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich Publishers. (Well researched book on the contributions of each of Hawaii's main immigrant communities (Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino) made between 1893 to 1959, and a good primer to understanding Hawaii's present political fabric.
  • Tom Coffman. Catch a Wave: A Case Study of Hawaii's New Politics. (Good followup to Hawaii Pono.
  • Tom Coffman. The Island Edge of America: A Political History of Hawaii. (See the Star-Bulletin review)
  • Dan Boylan and Michael T. Holmes. John A. Burns: The Man and His Times. (See the Star-Bulletin article).
  • Samuel P. King and Randall Roth. Broken Trust: Greed, Mismanagement and Political Manipulation at America's Largest Charitable Trust.

Sources on Hawaiian Political History

  • Stephen Kinzer. April 2006. Overthrown: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 0805078614.
  • Noenoe K. Silva. 2004. Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism. Durhan, NC: Duke University Press. ISBN 082233349X.
  • Julius W. Pratt. 1939, 1959 reprint. Expansionists of 1898: The Acquisition of Hawaii and the Spanish Islands. Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith.
  • New book acknowledges theft of Hawaiian nation (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7-31-98)
  • 'Nation Within' examines the motives for annexation (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 8-3-98)
  • Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen Liliuokalani The overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in her own words, Hawaii's last monarch, Queen Liliuokalani.

A Compact History of Hawaii

  • Hawaii Looking Back Honolulu Star-Bulletin, May 5, 1999.
  • Businesses That Have Built Hawaii Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 29, 2002.

See also

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