Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Can The Cali GOP Get Its Act Together?

Yeah, I know that this is a hilarious question since the last several election cycles seem to say a big fat N O!
It is very important to go back to how the California Republican party is now a third-party in this once Golden State.
The stats are just a part of the story, but a very important one.
Lets go back to 2000 because that is the beginning of the 21st century and the Democrats began the long march to where they are about to be today.
In 2000, as usual, there were more registered Democrats than Republicans in California.
Here is the breakdown and the percentages are rounded off.

7,134,601 (45%)

5,485,492 (35%)

Decline To State (Independent)
2,256,316 (14%)

Fast forward to this past election

7,966,422 (44%)

5,356,608 (29%)

Decline to state (Independent)
3,820,545 (21%)

While Democrats have lost a whole percentage of registered voters over this time, they have gained almost 832,000 new voters.
The Republicans?
Not only have they lost six percent of registered voters but have lost nearly 129,000 registered voters.
And the big winners?
Those choosing to register with neither political party as the Decline to State has jumped seven points and over 1,154,000 registered voters.
OK, now you get the state of the parties currently in terms of registration.
Another stat worth looking at is the presidential results since 2000.
Yes, the Republican candidates have lost every time.
But it did not start off as bad as it has become today.
Here are the presidential election results since 2000 and without third parties.

Bush (R)     4,567,429 (42%)
Gore (D)     5,861,203 (54%)

Bush (R)     5,509,826 (44%)
Kerry (D)    6.745,485 (54%)

Obama (D)  8,274,473 (61%)
McCain (R) 5,011,781 (37%)

Obama (D)  6,414,573 (59%)
Romney (R)4,413,120 (38%)

Now look at several things.
One, Democrat numbers increase almost every election. Except this year. And after the Republican high water mark of 44% in 2004, the numbers and percentages precipitously drop like an anvil. Granted the numbers for the just concluded presidential election are not final, but the bottom line is this.
The new high water mark for California Republicans seem to be about 38% of votes.
And even in the GOP strongholds the Dems made some striking gains.
Thus, California is about to endure total Democrat rule.
The Democrats control all the elected constitutional offices and are about to have a super-majority in both the Assembly (lower house) and the senate. Out of 120 legislative districts total in the assembly, it appears that the Republicans will have a grand total of 40. Forty out of 120 available seats.
So the overall numbers suck, the question or multiple variations are why?
Even though there was an alleged Republican as governor from 2005 to 2010, that governor, Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger, did absolutely nothing to improve the Republican party standing in any way.
By the time Benedict Arnold ran for a full term in 2006, he was politically lobotomized and was nothing but Democrat lite.
The GOP in California has done absolutely nothing to keep up with the very substantial change that has taken place in this state.
It is now much more Asian and Hispanic. In fact, there is no race group over 50% in the state. Both the previously mentioned groups are rising fast.
The Whites?
Well, if they can they are getting out. Regrettably, what we are seeing statewide is White Flight. But it is not all race related.
It is a combination of things that have driven mostly Whites from leaving California. The high cost of living. The difficulty of doing business here. The continuous tax-and-spend mentality from the city level to the state level.
But now, many people of color who have gained economically are beginning to follow Whites outta here.
But the Cali GOP has never been able to shake the damage from the vote in 1994 for Proposition 187.
It did pass and had it been implemented would have essentially cut all assistance to illegal aliens.
Then Republican governor Pete Wilson, bless his heart, a moderate Republican and struggling to win reelection decided to back the measure and it passed by an amazing 60%-40%.
Now one has to realize that a sizable number of Hispanics did vote for the measure. In fact according to the link, about 23% of Hispanics voted for the measure. There were not enough Whites to get to 60%,
But, alas, Proposition 187 never was implemented. And since then, the California Democrat party has never let the California Republican party off the hook on that one.
And it seems that the party has decided that it is not worth the effort to have real, genuine outreach to Hispanics since that time.
And that is a huge problem in this state.
The reality is that the Cali GOP has no message for its base let alone for non-Republicans to consider.
It is a rudderless ship that is about to hit a coral reef.
But, there are ways to right this wrong if the party really wants to get back into the game here in California.
One, it must pursue what I would call a middle-class agenda.
It must explain why it is bad to have higher taxes all the way around. It must stand for the homeowners who in fact and indeed have the highest burden in term of paying state and local taxes.
It must stand for making public education second to none. It must take the time and effort to explain that public charter schools are the future of education. It must be forward looking. It must be inclusive in this way. It must meld education with being an American.
It must explain that excessive regulation is a cause and affect as to why joblessness remains in double-digits. That if there is reasonable deregulation, it will bring business to the state and not less.
It must remain and explain why it is tough-on-crime. And that crime knows no race and or economic background. It must pursue that it will not only enforce the death penalty but find ways to speed up the process so that executions can go at a much faster pace. And the fact that voters voted to keep the death penalty, it is a totally winning issue for the Cali GOP.
Now, this will upset most conservatives who consider themselves social conservatives, but the party will have to downplay that aspect of the coalition.
Not shun so cons at all. But the reality is that if same-sex marriage gets on the ballot next time, it will pass, not be rejected. We can explain why it is a bad thing, but should not have candidates run on that as an issue. Same with abortion. What we have to do is educate as why it should not be the way that it is now. And we must not let illegal immigration define us or be defined by the Dems and left. We must  point out that it is a federal issue and that the federal government must pursue the policies to secure our borders. By that, the Cali GOP can not support so-called "Sanctuary" cities and point out that they are violating federal law. Again, pick the battles that can be won, not keep fighting losing efforts.
All of this requires some very hard, serious work on the part of the Cali GOP.
It means that it has to get volunteers to do some things that have been lacking.
It means getting involved in the ethnic events around the state.
Chinese New Year is coming up. Get some Republican registration booths at all the celebrations. Have material in Chinese, Cantonese and Mandarin, the primary dialects. And they must be manned by Asians, not old White people. No offense to those since I am a middle-aged White guy.
Cinco de Mayo. Same as above. Have material in Spanish. Have Hispanics manning the booths.
Martin Luther King Day in January. Again, same as above. And of course have Black people involved.
And we have to keep at it because we will not have a mass sea change of minds by the 2014 state election.
The Democrats did not get to where they are now over night and neither will the Republicans.
It has to be a long-term strategy and a genuine effort that minority groups have never seen before in this state.
Again, many of the issues are on the Republicans side. But we have to be willing to get into the game. We can't keep whining and hand-wringing.
It is time to get to work.
We need to have a strong Republican party in California, the largest state in the nation. We need to have that strong party to get back to having actual presidential races in which the candidates come here instead of Florida. Or Michigan. Or Pennsylvania.
If not, we will just go the way of the Northeast state Republican parties. Into irrelevance.

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