GOP In Turmoil


Richard Eber, California Political News and Views

A couple years following my attendance to the Republican Convention, it was my conclusion, “I was expecting with Donald Trump’s victory last fall, this place would be a hot bed of political activism. Was this reporter ever wrong? The GOP confab reminded me of a 1950’s costume party.  All that was missing were “I like Ike” and “Nixon’s the One” buttons.”

My comments at the time were:

  • The Party was pleased with its accomplishments in the past four years. Chairman Jim Brulte ran unopposed for another term while during this period 302,000 fewer voters registered as Republicans.  What’s wrong with this picture?
  • Arguably, aside from selected lobbyists, liberal Governor Brown, with hard core progressive wack jobs in charge of the legislature, was the de facto leader of conservative thinking in Sacramento, via his vetoes.
  • Not one Republican has been elected to a significant state office or to the US Senate in a decade. Even worse under the new primary rules where the two top vote getters qualify for the November ballot regardless of party affiliation, conservative alternatives are not even contemplated by voters. (Example Harris vs. Sanchez for US Senator
  • Outside of San Diego, the Central Valley, and sparsely populated areas of Northern California near the Oregon border, the Republican Party has all but disappeared.  Republicans now comprise just over 25% of registered voters. Except for talk radio stations, the conservative cause is in an MIA mode in many parts of the State.

After reading this assessment in 2017, one would think things could not get much worse for the GOP.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  Two years later there are 7 fewer Republicans in Congress, only 19 members of the Assembly and 10 members of the State Senate

If anything the Party has taken several steps back.  At the Republican Convention in Sacramento a couple of months ago, several of those who won the leadership posts at the event were strikingly anti Trump.

There was considerable sentiment that the President was somehow at least partially responsible for the current pathetic state of affairs in GOP world. Hence leadership was telling GOP candidates not to mention Trump, just concentrate on California issues.

To me this makes no sense.  California Republicans trashing or ignoring Donald Trump is like blaming the Jet Fighters for shooting down King Kong as he was climbing the Empire state Building.

Outside of a few ideologues, most conservatives are not going to waste their money supporting candidates who have no chance of being elected to office. In addition, finding viable conservative office seekers willing to oppose the Democratic juggernaut is getting more difficult.

Adding insult to injury solid conservatives and liberal politico’s are leaving the party as decline to State voters  in order to have even a gunslingers chance of winning an election   It looks to me like those the GOP are  ignoring are not going away.  Instead they are creating candidates, fighting issues, holding rallies and doing the work normally done by political parties.

Notable examples include:

  • Nathan Fletcher left the GOP and his wife to become a Democrat after serving as Political Director of the California Republican Party and a GOP Assemblyman. 
  • After winning election to become the only Republican member of the Bay Area Rapid Transit  board Debora Allen not only quit her post of being County Chairwomen but also registered as decline to state in order to compete against labor backed opponents next year
  • Brian Maienschein, a GOP Assembly member, became a Democrat, He apparently realized that as former Assemblywomen Catharine Baker learned, being a Republican in this state places a scarlet letter on your back and almost certain defeat at the polls

There are many more additional instances of politicos, as a matter of survival, opting out of the Republican Party.  Except for a few selected regions in the Central Valley and a scattering of districts elsewhere, prospective office holders in local elections have quit the Party founded by Abraham Lincoln.

The pity is when these individuals end up running higher office on a State or Federal level; they will not be wearing a GOP label.  With this abandonment of the ship becoming more prevalent, with each passing year, what can be done to fix the problem?

There are many issues facing Californians– issues such as education, transportation, water, public pension deficits, Sanctuary Cities, and high taxes.  All of these areas should be the foundation for a conservative comeback in 2020.

To their credit the Assembly and State Senate Republican Caucuses have promoted fixes to California problem, spent time and effort showing how the Democrat have made these problem worse and introducing legislation to go with the press releases to get the public involved.  They are setting the benchmark for GOP candidates in 2020.

The problem is educating and registering voters must be done simultaneously.  Good reasons need to be given, especially to young adults, to cast aside Democratic propaganda spread in the schools that are exposing them to liberal ideology.

I must be out of my mind and be mentally challenged in some way to believe that if the public actually understands what conservative principals stand for, they will carry this knowledge to the polls.

In Contra Costa, where I reside, the County Republican Party is having a meeting May 18th to formulate a strategy to push forward competitive candidates in next year’s elections. By attending this confab, I will not be able to make a report in the CPN&V blog as the organizers don’t want to tip off plans to Democratic operatives.

While it is gratifying to know Republican leadership thinks Progressive politico’s actually reads my stuff, this sounds more like Dean Wormer in Animal House placing me on “Double-Double Secret Probation.”

Sometimes it is difficult understanding the end game of Republican politics not only where I live, but in the entire State as well.  Just look at the voter registration  figures and the number of  GOP elected officials holding office in Sacramento and Washington D.C.? These findings are at best gloom and doom.

The best news is that GOP activists and conservatives are not giving up. They march forward doing the work that needs to be done. All we can do is keep trying. 

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

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.

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