By Richard Eber
With the likes of Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, Toni Adkins, Scott Weiner, Lorena Gonzales, and the rest of the Progressive politicians dominating politics in California, a good case can be made for The Golden State taking over from Claxton Georgia for being the fruit cake capital of the world.
Not so fast there. In the election on November 3rd, the majority of voters demonstrated their rejection of their leftist leader’s policies in down ballot initiatives put before them. Good examples include:
- Proposition 15 Despite the efforts of the Governor, Teachers Union, virtually all Legislators, and the Democratic Party to overturn the provisions in Prop 13 passed in 1978 for assessing commercial properties, this so called tax the rich ballot measure went down in flames.
- Even more surprising was the defeat of Proposition 16 which tried to overturn the Initiative from 1996 backed by then Republican Governor Pete Wilson that banned Affirmative Action as a means for government decision making. In 2020 despite the outcry for racial justice, voters had other ideas. especially when it came to their children being admitted to the UC system.
- Proposition 21 dealing with another effort to push rent control on a local level, was defeated once again. It probably does not matter as Progressives in the Legislature will likely ignore their constituents and try to pass new housing policies when they convene next year. There is little to stop them.
- Proposition 22 the big ticket item of the Democratic Party and Labor Unions to reverse state prevention of Uber, Lyft, and truck driver owner operators from being independent contractors without interference from government over regulation passed by a margin of 2.3 million votes. This sent a less than subtle message that many Californians’ are concerned about the exodus of decent jobs leaving the State.
Throw in the results of Propositions 23 and 25 and one would think the Tea Party slate card was being utilized by voters on State propositions. Unfortunately these conservative sentiments did not resonate to selecting members of the Legislature. Democrats easily held their super majorities in both the Assembly and Senate.
As usual Republicans were left out in the cold lacking power to make a viable impact in the Sacramento political scene.
The fact of the matter is that the late Howard Jarvis and Jon Coupal, who leads the tax group he founded, are better known than most prominent Republicans in California. With the exception of House of Representatives minority leader Kevin McCarthy, the State Party might as well be an exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.
In passing what can be considered the conservative agenda on the down ballot propositions, the average voter who supported Joe Biden, didn’t even know they were voting like a GOP stalwart. How could they?
Most Democrats and Independents who make up almost 70% of the electorate, don’t actually understand what the Republican Party stands for. When the subject of high taxes, over regulations, Sanctuary Cities, exorbitant pension costs, and jobs leaving the state are mentioned, the GOP label is not attached to these conservative issues.
To the best of my knowledge, State Party Chairwomen Jessica Patterson has done virtually nothing since elected to educate voters what her cause stands for. Raising money from wealthy donors, while addressing supporters already in the fold at Country Club settings, hardly advances the cause of promoting conservative values. Patterson has spent more energy trying to separate the Party from Donald Trump than promoting GOP candidates.
Despite Patterson’s RINOESQUE behavior, voters showed their disdain for the Progressive agenda set forth by their elected leaders. A Democratic friend of mine Concord City Council member Edi Birsan remarked, “Maybe things would have turned out better for us on Propositions 15, 16, and 21 if voters had known how Republicans felt about these measures?”
What could have been done differently by Jessica Patterson? Outside of not doing voter registration (While the Democrats program got 1.5 million Californians to register with their Party), the party’s limited resources should have been directed towards associating Republicans with their stands of ballot measures. Buying advertising space in large metropolitan newspapers, internet, radio, and TV explaining the GOP perspective on things would have been money well spent.
The goal of the Party should be to at least make Democrats and Independents be aware what voting Republican actually means. At least in the next election voters might have as the late Phyllis Schlafly remarked “a choice to an echo” in determining if casting a Republican ballot is a viable alternative to the present leadership in Sacramento.
But clearly this is not the case. Jessica Patterson and her $ 250,000 per year salary is again in hiding, with no game plan on how the California Republican Party is to be rebranded this decade. They are suffering from a malady that can be charitably termed a chronic case of political malpractice.
What to do?
A good place to start is for Patterson to decline to run again to be the Party chair in next February’s election. Clearly experienced leadership is needed to make Republicans competitive again running for local, County, State, and Federal offices.
This job will take more than money. Getting some fat cats to empty their wallets is not the entire correct answer. A total makeover is needed.
Outside of selecting a new state wide leader, selling the benefits of conservative polices to the average voter is a critical task. This means gaining access to public schools and promoting our capitalistic way of life as the best way to obtain future prosperity.
Now that Donald Trump can no longer be used by the Left like a punching bag to promote socialistic policies, a great opportunity exists for the Republican Party to come out of its Chapter 11 state of mind in California. Their political malpractice must end. We can no longer continue to operate as a one party State.
Richard Eber studied journalism at the University of Oregon. He writes about politics, culture, education restaurants, and was former city and sports editor of UCSB Daily. Richard is president of Amerasa Rapid Transit, a specialized freight forwarder.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.