Sarah Wesley, Eric Ortiz, Narda Zacchino and Emma Niles.

In her new book, “California Comeback: How A ‘Failed State’ Became a Model for the Nation,” acclaimed journalist Narda Zacchino explains how “a remarkable progressive revolution” in the state has been underreported by the mainstream media. Her book is “a fast-moving and informed tour de force of contemporary history,” says Kevin Starr, a renowned California historian. The Golden State, Zacchino says, “has boldly reinvigorated the notion that government is not a dirty word but rather an instrument for uniting people and improving their lives.”

Zacchino, a former editor at the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, has decades of experience covering state politics.On Thursday, she joined the Truthdig team for a live discussion on what can be learned from California — and why the lessons are important in this election season.

In November, Californians not only will vote for president but also will choose between two Democrats for the open seat in the U.S. Senate: current California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez. What can their competition tell us about other down-ticket races, such as Floridian Tim Canova’s bid to replace Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz?

In many ways, election events unfolding across the country have already panned out in California’s history. The state has witnessed the fall of the Republican Party, which many contend is now occurring on a national scale. California has been a world leader in combating climate change, led by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown. And faced with a rising immigrant population, state policy has focused on breaking down barriers instead of putting up walls.

Next week, Truthdig will sit down with cartoonist Mr. Fish (Dwayne Booth) for a live discussion. On Thursday, August 25, fans of Booth’s work have the opportunity to meet him and watch a screening of his new documentary at a special event in Santa Monica, Ca.

Watch the full discussion with Zacchino below, and check out past live sessions on our YouTube page.

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