It’s Time for the California Republican Party to Fight

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, flickr

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, flickr

The Democratic Party and the city of San Francisco are officially dead. The acquittal of illegal alien, Jose Garcia Zarate, who shot Kate Steinle on the San Francisco pier in cold blood, has now officially killed the party of the common man and woman. A jury of her peers found him not guilty and this was a crystallizing moment to understand there is a clear choice – of life and death – between a Republican and a Democrat. Whereas Democratic San Francisco protected Mr. Zarate, the Republican Justice Department issued an arrest warrant. This isn’t about “sanctuary cities,” or stricter immigration reform, this is about protecting American citizens versus Democrats – the party of the left – who seemingly only lust for power and control reminiscent of Marx, Trotsky, Lenin and Stalin. The days of Scoop Jackson, FDR, Truman and Kennedy died in that San Francisco courtroom when the drug dealing, six-time-deported, zero-skilled, Mr. Zarate was acquitted.

It’s time for the Republican Party to stop wasting their majority in Congress and the CRP to stand up and fight, because you’ll never hear illegal immigrant advocates shed a tear for Ms. Steinle who collapsed and died in her father’s arms. Those are the Democrats who run California that decided it wasn’t a problem for her to die this way.

However, men like Republican consultant, Mike Madrid, who is now helping Antonio Villaragoisa’s gubernatorial campaign are also the problem. If he wants to cash a liberal Democrat’s checks then go become one, because he’s in the same class as McCain, Romney, et al who still believe that Democrats are just like us; but don’t have the ability or temerity to understand what ordinary people are up against anymore. We don’t have the option to opt out of the very laws that are supposedly passed on our behalf. And the Democratic supermajority in the legislature isn’t doing anything to protect staffers and female lawmakers from sexual harassment; Minority Leader Pelosi has now been accused of protecting sexual predators for decades.

Here is what Democratic policies that have run California and most major cities across America into the ground wrought on the citizenry’s backs for generations. San Francisco and other Democratic progressive cities have the “worst housing inequality in the nation,” according to Wendell Cox. Meaning, there are less homes to purchase at higher prices, which obliterates individual and family incomes while stagnating the economy of those cities. San Francisco Unified School District is becoming a real-estate investor to alleviate housing shortages by spending $44 million to develop the Francis Scott Key annex for teachers who can’t afford San Francisco homes or rental units.

Joel Fox has debunked Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez’s solution for the growing California homeless problem: taxing homeowners’ equity. Fox has detailed how taxing homes won’t solve the problem, possibly make it worse, and that Los Angeles now has the worst homeless problem in the U.S. The problem is so severe the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved in August a program to pay L.A. County homeowners up to $75,000 to house homeless people on their properties.

Natural gas is the most effective, clean, scalable, abundant and job-creating energy available. However, California is moving from this form of energy into unstable, unreliable and intermittent renewable energy, causing California to have the highest energy costs in the U.S. And California’s energy policies are killing fossil fuel investments and driving jobs out of the state according to the Frasier Institute. Moreover, AB 32, the global warming law isn’t causing emissions to dip, instead it’s the weather, but the environmental leaders in the Democratic Party, led by Tom Steyer, would never acknowledge this fact.

Our public schools – not all of them – but the majority are “unaccountable” and failing while the legislature wants higher taxes for “better schools.” No public official or school board has ever definitively defined what constitutes a “better school.” Unfortunately, the California School Dashboard revealed:

“Fifty percent of California schoolchildren can’t read at grade level, and for African American (AA) children, almost seventy percent failed to read at grade level.”

The CRP should make this the number one issue aggressively going after AA families and voters by showing the Democratic and teacher union-led California schools are failing you, your families and your children. If Democrats lose a sizable bloc of AA voters, they lose California, and eventually they lose the country.

As President Clinton’s first presidential campaign famously stated, “It’s the economy, stupid,” which propelled Clinton to the presidency. This issue still resonate, particularly when California’s economy is ranked 35th in the nation. Chris Reed writes, “California job creating incentives fall short – again,” and Dan Walters in CalMatters exposes disturbing budgetary facts facts that Mac Taylor, the Legislatures’ top advisor disclosed in November:

“Governor Brown, lawmakers and voters have made the state’s longer-term situation potentially even worse since off-budget debts, especially for pensions and health care for retired state workers have increased.”

To Brown’s credit he is now attempting to rectify the pension issue while defying his Democratic base in the process. Brown realizes cities like Los Angeles have underfunded pension liabilities totaling over $9 billion, and other California cities hold hundreds of billions in pension debt that will cut government services and raise taxes – otherwise bankruptcy is a strong possibility. Even once-thriving Ventura County is now losing jobs while government employment rises. The pension and job loss issues are where the CRP can gain crucial votes in deep blue California.

There are a myriad of other issues that Democrats are pushing that will hurt most Californians from the economic devastation the high-speed rail in the Central Valley will bring to having the highest taxes, worst roads, and over a trillion dollars needed for infrastructure improvements and construction. Additionally, California is ranked at the bottom or near bottom in business-friendly policies and the Democrats answers is to make suing President Trump, “a team sport.”

At one time Pat Brown, who built water systems, world-class highways and the best universities in the world, exemplified the Democratic Party. That isn’t the case anymore; instead a gentrified class of technology billionaires, climate enthusiasts and entertainment executives litter the Democratic Party; while Democratic-supporting unions ask for more tax payer dollars with less to show for their gains. California has real problems and if the CRP doesn’t stand up and support candidates who understand these issues and fight for them in the upcoming mid-term elections than they are doomed to irrelevancy that will spread across the U.S.

Todd Royal is a geopolitical risk and energy consultant based in Los Angeles.

Conservative praise some of Gov. Brown’s vetoes

jerry-brown-signs-lawsSACRAMENTO – California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed only 118 of the 957 bills that came before his desk in the recently concluded legislative session, but some of his final vetoes earned a great deal of attention and praise – even from conservative Republicans.

That’s an interesting turn of events given that Brown signed into law most of the main Democratic priorities from the session. He approved a bill that turns California into a “sanctuary state” that limits the ability of local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration priorities. He approved a transportation tax and new spending on affordable housing programs. He agreed to a gender-neutral category for California driver’s licenses.

In addition, Brown signed a law that places more limits on the open carry of firearms and mandated that small businesses now provide 12 weeks of unpaid family leave to their workers. There’s much commentary about this having been one of the most liberal sessions in memory, which isn’t a surprise given the diminished power of the California GOP.

So what would conservatives – including ones outside of California – be happy about?

The main cause for celebration on the right came from Brown’s veto of Senate Bill 169. That legislation was passed in response to federal Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ decision to roll back Obama administration sexual-assault guidelines for campuses. Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, pointed specifically to the Trump administration in authoring the bill:

“The Trump administration continues to perpetuate a war on women,” Jackson wrote in a statement. “It is now more important than ever that Governor Brown sign SB169 into law and that other states follow. All students deserve an education in an environment that is safe and free from sexual harassment and sexual violence.”

The issue involves the Title IX federal amendments from 1972 that require schools and universities that receive federal aid to assure an environment that’s free of sexual discrimination and harassment. The Obama administration in 2011 sent a letter to schools, colleges and universities urging stepped up efforts to battle sexual assaults on campus.

But conservatives, such as David French of National Review, argued that the Obama-era guidelines were “mandating that (schools) satisfy the lowest burden of proof in sexual-harassment and sexual-assault adjudications, defining sexual harassment far too broadly, and failing to adequately protect fundamental due-process rights.” The new administration rolled back the rules and – to the surprise of many – Brown agreed with Trump and DeVos.

Brown issued an unusually long veto statement, in which he noted that “sexual harassment and sexual violence are serious and complicated matters for colleges to resolve. On the one side are complainants who come forward to seek justice and protection; on the other side stand accused students, who, guilty or not, must be treated fairly and with the presumption of innocence until the facts speak otherwise.”

The governor added that “thoughtful legal minds have increasingly questioned whether federal and state actions to prevent and redress sexual harassment and assault – well-intentioned as they are – have also unintentionally resulted in some colleges’ failure to uphold due process for accused students.” Brown also argued that the state should avoid new rules until it has “ascertained the full impact of what we recently enacted.”

In another veto that received praise on the right, Brown rejected Assembly Bill 1513, a union-backed measure that would have required private-sector workers in the privately funded home-care industry to provide private information to unions.

Workers who provide help in the homes of sick, elderly and disabled people already pass background checks. But this legislation would require the placement of “a copy of a registered home care aide’s name, mailing address, cellular telephone number and email address on file with the department to be made available, upon request, to a labor organization.”

Labor unions pitched the measure as a way to improve the licensure and regulation of these aides, but opponents saw it as a means to help unions contract these workers as part of their organizing efforts. Brown agreed with the opponents, and expressed concern about “releasing the personal information of these home care aides, who joined the registry without knowing that their information would be disclosed as prescribed by this bill.”

“Conservatives find themselves in the unexpected position of cheering some of California Governor Jerry Brown’s recent vetoes,” wrote Jim Geraghty in National Review. Geraghty also pointed to Brown’s veto of a bill that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns to qualify for the California ballot and another one that would have required large companies to provide detailed data about male and female salary disparities.

Brown, by the way, vetoed a bill that would have imposed a late-night driving curfew on those under 21. Currently, the curfew applies only to those under 18. The governor made the fundamentally conservative argument that 18-year-olds “are eligible to enlist in the military, vote in national, state and local elections, enter into contracts and buy their own car.” So it would be unfair to limit their driving privileges.

As the 79-year-old Democratic governor finishes his final gubernatorial term, he still has a way of defying critics and keeping people on the left and right guessing.

Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute. Write to him at sgreenhut@rstreet.org.

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

CA GOP Has Fared Poorly in ‘Jungle Primary’ Era

VotedOver the past few weeks, leading into the California Republican Party’s convention in Orange County this weekend, there have been mailings supporting the argument that the “top two” or “jungle primary” system created by Proposition 14 in 2010 is a good idea.

It is not a good idea – at least not for conservatives. In fact, as the California Republican Party itself predicted when it strongly opposed the passage of Prop 14, it has been a disaster.

Prop. 14 changed the way elections for partisan office are held in California. Prior to its passage, each qualified political party held a primary in June, and the winner of that primary would advance to a general election ballot featuring all of the nominees of each party, as well as independent candidates.

Under the new system all candidates run in June, and the top two vote-getters advance to the general election.

Since Prop. 14’s passage, not a single Republican has been elected to statewide office. Since the passage of Prop. 14, there are fewer Republicans in Congress from California. Since the passage of Prop. 14, there are fewer Republicans in the State Senate. Since the passage of Prop. 14 there are fewer Republicans in the State Assembly.

Now, is Prop. 14 totally responsible for flagging GOP numbers in partisan elected offices? Of course not. But it certainly is not helping the Grand Old Party pick up numbers, as proponents said it would do.

I think it is important for us all to remember how we ended up with Prop.14 in the first place. Back in 2009, a terrible budget deal was brokered by insiders. Then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with legislative leaders from both political parties, pushed through what was at the time the largest tax increase in the history of California. In order to get the deal done, three Republicans in each chamber had to vote for it. One of the three GOP votes in the Senate, Abel Maldonado, refused to vote for the deal unless the so-called “open primary” measure was placed on the ballot as part of the deal. So a terrible deal was made worse.

Governor Schwarzenegger then championed the ballot measure, raising millions of dollars to pass it.  And Maldonado, who campaigned for its passage, was rewarded with an appointment as Lieutenant Governor – but he was rejected by the voters when he ran for election as the appointed incumbent.

Just days after the tax-increase was passed, the state GOP gathered in Sacramento and passed a scathing resolution cutting off party funding to those Republicans who voted for the tax increase.

The delegates to the California Republican Party, when Prop. 14 was on the ballot, voted overwhelmingly to oppose the measure. And for good reason. First and foremost, eliminating the right of every political party to nominate a candidate in June, and have its nominee appear on the general election ballot, has meant that many races have no Republican on the ballot in the general election. The most glaring example was last year’s U.S. Senate race, where voters in November had to choose between then-Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) or then-U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez (D).

Prop. 14 has also created circumstances in which the general election is a food-fight between two Republicans, bringing an intra-party feud to the general election.

And, of course, the open primary has led to much higher costs to campaign (candidates now have to talk to every voter in June, and again in November). This higher cost for elections has worked out just fine for the Democrats, whose coalition includes very well-funded interests like the California Teachers Association.

In fact, at this weekend’s convention, there is a somewhat quixotic proposal to create a process for the State GOP delegates to have a vote – kind of a straw poll – to potentially endorse candidates in statewide races.  But that endorsement would not be binding on anyone, and of course would not limit ballot access to the endorsed Republican candidate alone. It is doubtful as to whether a candidate endorsed by the California Republican Party would have an advantage unless the party spends party resources to help communicate its endorsement to Republican voters. No one thinks that will happen.

Proponents of Prop. 14 also said that its passage would lead to a more moderate California legislature. However, as impossible as it once seemed, the state legislature has become more liberal than ever before! In fact, if you have money, which the liberal interest groups in the state do, Prop. 14 gives you more power, not less.

California Democrats have moved to the left. But on the GOP side, there has not been an offsetting move to the right. On the contrary, it seems like there are more Republicans than ever before who are willing to vote with Democrats for bad public policy, including big tax increases.

There is no better example, of course, than the recent vote to extend the state’s “Cap and Tax” program – the result of which is a GOP patina on a draconian program and an estimated over $25 billion in higher taxes over a decade!  Democrats control the legislature now with super-majorities in each chamber. If Prop. 14 was working out poorly for them, they could just vote to place a repeal of it onto the ballot.

The California Republican Party faces many challenges. But Prop. 14 has made the path forward more difficult, not less, for Republicans in the Golden State.

Jon Fleischman is the Politics Editor for Breitbart California.  His columns appear regularly on this page.  You can follow him on Twitter here.

This article was originally published by Breitbart.com/California

GOPers who backed ‘cap and trade’ likely to face more fallout

Brian DahleChad Mayes of Yucca Valley is out as Assembly Republican leader, replaced last week by Assemblyman Brian Dahle of Bieber. But the fallout may continue over the decision of Mayes and six other GOP Assembly members to provide Gov. Jerry Brown and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, with the votes necessary to save the state’s cap-and-trade program on July 17.

Mayes touted the GOP support as helpful in rebranding the party with young voters worried about climate change and emphasized the concession he won from Brown and Rendon, which could make it possible for the Legislature to effectively scrap the state’s troubled high-speed rail project in 2024. But the votes infuriated many Republicans for betraying the party’s core anti-tax, anti-regulation beliefs and for allowing a handful of Assembly Democrats in swing seats to avoid having to vote to extend cap and trade until 2030.

Under the program, businesses buy permits for emission rights. Because of fears that courts would find the permit fees were tantamount to taxes, Brown wanted two-thirds votes in the Legislature to ensure cap and trade’s extension would be on solid legal ground under Proposition 13. Thanks to the votes of Assembly Republicans Mayes, Catharine Baker of San Ramon, Rocky Chavez of Oceanside, Jordan Cunningham of San Luis Obispo, Heath Flora of Ripon, Devin Mathis of Visalia and Marc Steinorth of Rancho Cucamonga, Brown got 55 votes for the extension, one more than he needed.

Harmeet K. Dhillon, a San Francisco lawyer who is one of the state’s members on the Republican National Committee, told the Los Angeles Times that Mayes shouldn’t be the only one held accountable for preserving cap and trade.

“Now, given the fact that six of these [Republican lawmakers] did vote for a massive tax increase, Republicans are going to be very vigilant about these issues,” she said. The state GOP voted earlier this month to ask Mayes to step down at Dhillon’s behest.

Another RNC state delegate – former state GOP chair Shawn Steel – also blasted Republicans who sided with Brown on cap-and-trade.

Mayes, Baker, Chavez, Cunningham, Flora, Mathis, Steinorth and state Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto – the only GOP Senate vote to extend cap and trade – are likely to face heat from conservatives in their re-election bids or in seeking other elective posts. Conversely, they could also attract support from moderate and independent voters, given the popularity of environmental causes among state voters.

New GOP leader wants no more cap-and-trade recriminations

But new Assembly GOP leader Dahle – a 51-year-old seed business owner and farmer and former Lassen County supervisor – wants to the put the cap-and-trade flap behind.

“There are 24 other members of this caucus and they all have different views,” he told reporters Thursday after Mayes stepped down. “There are people in our caucus who voted their conscience for their district, and I support those who did that. In my case it didn’t work in my district, so I was opposed to that.”

Mayes, 40, was first elected to the Assembly in 2014 and began as GOP leader in January 2016. While now under fire from conservatives, he could someday be remembered as the man who killed the bullet train – the state project that’s as unpopular among California Republicans as cap and trade.

As part of the cap-and-trade deal, Mayes got Democrats to agree to put a constitutional amendment he wrote before state voters in June 2018. Under the unusual measure, if voters gave the go-ahead, there would be a vote in 2024 by the Legislature on whether to continue to allow cap-and-trade revenue to fund the $68 billion project – with two-thirds support necessary to continue funding.

Brown and bullet-train backers are counting on cap-and-trade fees to increase in coming years and to keep the project viable. So far, the California High-Speed Rail Agency has been unable to attract outside investors to help pay for a statewide system, and federal funding dried up after Republicans took control of the House in 2010.

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

San Diego mayor hopes to lead state GOP out of its morass

Kevin Faulconer 2SACRAMENTO – Even Republicans admit the state GOP is something of a rudderless ship these days. The party doesn’t control any constitutional offices. Democrats have supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature. Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley, is the target of a grassroots effort to force him from his leadership post after he backed a Democratic bill to expand the cap-and-trade system for 10 years.

Meanwhile, the national Republican Party has become anathema to ethnically diverse California, especially after President Donald Trump doubled down on his initial comments about Saturday’s white-supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia. On Tuesday, the president assured the media that there were some “very fine people on both sides” at the protests. Yes, the California party’s predicament is dismal, especially from a recruitment standpoint.

Yet Tuesday night, one prominent GOP official detailed a positive direction for the party. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer says he isn’t running for governor, but gave a major speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco regarding the future of the California Republican Party. He wasn’t there “to offer suggestions about what we ought to do,” he said. “I’m here to tell Republicans what we’ve already done in San Diego.”

He described it as a call to action – an opportunity to rebuild the party centered on the theme of “fixing California.” Faulconer detailed five themes on which the party should unite as a way to win over new generations of voters. The first of them involves freedom. “Not only is individual liberty part of California’s heritage, it’s a classic conservative principle – one that Republicans have watered down to our own detriment,” he said. “People have stopped seeing the GOP as the party of freedom. They see it as the party of ‘no.’”

He even singled out a freedom theme that could be controversial in a socially conservative party: freedom of sexual orientation. But he contrasted his vision with that of the Democratic Party, “which has organized itself around the proposition that an individual’s most defining qualities are gender, sexuality and race.” He calls that a party based on differences, whereas he envisions a “New Republican Party” built around a set of common ideas.

“One of our biggest failures is that Republicans do not communicate our shared values to underrepresented communities,” Faulconer said. He pointed to his successful San Diego mayoral race: “Facing a Hispanic candidate in a city where just 25 percent of voters are registered Republican, I won more than 57 percent of the total vote – and close to 40 percent of the Latino vote. … Why? Because I campaigned in communities Republicans wrote off as lost – and Democrats took for granted.”

His second theme involved immigration. Faulconer said that Republicans are doing a poor job inviting new Americans to join the party of freedom and limited government. In fact, he said he wouldn’t even need to give such a speech if the GOP weren’t failing at that message. He called for welcoming immigrants, while acknowledging that the party can’t ignore the issue of illegal immigration. “We must push for efficient ports of entry and get smarter about border security,” the mayor said, while emphasizing the importance of treating nearby Mexico as “neighbors and economic partners.”

Faulconer’s third theme involved the environment, about engaging responsibly on conservation and climate-change issues with “plans that don’t plunder the middle class.” He again used his city as an example. “San Diego is now on a path to slash greenhouse gases in half and shift to 100 percent renewable energy – without a tax increase,” he said.

His fourth theme is for California leaders to focus on California issues, rather than “chasing the latest soundbite out of Washington, D.C.” He chided Sacramento Democrats, who he says “are suffering from what I like to call ‘outrage FOMO’ – a Fear Of Missing Out on the latest controversy that will allow them to score political points on social media and TV.” By contrast, Faulconer said the “New Republicans” need to focus on “the fundamentals of government service.”

That includes infrastructure. “The fact that 50 percent of California’s roadways are in poor condition is an absolute failure,” he said. “We have the nation’s second highest gas tax but some of the worst roads, with no guarantees that the taxes we pay at the pump will actually go toward fixing the problem.” But, for his fifth and final point, he focused on the overall need for “reform.” This theme involved the role of the state’s powerful unions in resisting reform.

“Too often Sacramento politicians are unwilling to say ‘no’ to entrenched special interests – at our expense,” he said. “California ranks in the bottom 20 percent of K-12 schools nationwide. Yet Democrats continue to side with unions against meaningful changes to improve student achievement.” He noted that “California falls dead-last in housing affordability in the continental United States” but “Democrats are blocking revisions to housing rules that were designed to protect the environment but that labor has hijacked for its own gain.”

He noted that California was “rated the worst state for business” because “lawmakers keep layering regulation on top of regulation until budding entrepreneurs are crushed, and only the biggest businesses survive.” He also pointed to the state’s massive pension debt and, again, used San Diego as an example, given that city’s successful voter-approved pension reform.

These reform themes echo talking points Republican leaders have traditionally made. And he was predictably pointed in his critique of Democrats, noting that their policies have resulted in “economic inequality; troubled schools; sky-high housing costs; failing infrastructure; and crippling pension debt.” Those problems have festered, he added, while Sacramento “pursues the kind of political fantasies that grip a party when it gains complete and total control.” But his approach signified a break from typical Republican efforts.

To break that one-party control, Mayor Faulconer’s blueprint focuses heavily on repackaging the party’s long-held ideas and reaching out to communities that the party hasn’t successfully appealed to in the past. He envisions a day “when San Francisco’s Republican mayor is standing before you, she isn’t talking about how California Republicans are endangered, but rather how we are ushering in a government that is uniting our people and looking out for the middle class.” It’s a bold challenge for a party that seems to be collapsing, but his ideas received a warm reception.

Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute. Write to him at sgreenhut@rstreet.org.

This piece was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

California Democrats outspend GOP in primary races

VotingWhile maintaining a marked edge in legislative representation across the state, California Democrats notched a different but familiar distinction against Republicans in the 2016 election cycle, new data showed. Consistent with the results of previous races since the implementation of the so-called “jungle primary” law, Democrats spent far more in intra-party primary races than did GOP candidates. The pattern also held in contests for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

High-cost competition

Under the current primary system, all registered voters can participate in a single “open” primary including all candidates regardless of party identification. The top two vote winners then square off in a general run-off election. Last year, according to tabulations made by Forward Observer, Democrats spent a total of $91,518,355 on 23 same-party races – 11 in the state Assembly, five in the state Senate and seven in the House, for an average of $3,979,059 per race. That compared starkly to the $2,784,596 spent by Republicans over four same-party races for state Assembly seats, an average of just $696,149.

Fundraising among the two parties reflected the lopsided totals. Altogether, the Democrat candidates contending for the 11 Assembly seats “raised $49.4 million including independent expenditures, for an average of approximately $4.5 million per race,” Forward Observer noted.

Among Democrats vying for one of the five same-party state Senate seats up for grabs last year, “candidates raised $23.3 million including independent expenditures, for an average of approximately $4.6 million per race,” while those pursuing one of the seven same-party races for seats in the House of Representatives “raised $33.9 million including independent expenditures, for an average of $2.7 million per race.”

Unexpected consequences

For Democrats, therefore, the cost of winning seats has climbed steadily under the nonpartisan blanket primary system passed as Proposition 14 by California voters in 2010 – increasing by about $3 million from 2012 to 2014, then by more than $37 million from 2014 to 2016.

“Since the first implementation of Prop. 14 in the 2012 election cycle, there have been a total of 80 same-party races in California for seats in the state Senate, Assembly and U.S. House of Representatives – 60 races between Democrats and 20 between Republicans,” the Forward Observer report summarized. “In total, Democrats have spent a total of $197.4 million on same-party races since Prop. 14 first went into effect in 2012, compared to $34.5 million spent by Republicans. Democrats have thus spent $5.72 on same-party races for every dollar spent or raised by Republicans.”

Prop. 14 was billed as a way to help ensure greater quality and competition among candidates without regard to party affiliation and, implicitly, with a mitigating effect on large campaign war chests. But for Democrats, the new system has had the more pronounced effect on pitting party members against one another at cost – neither clearing the field for dominant candidates who can win clean or uncontested victories on the cheap, nor giving upstart or insurgent candidates a clear opportunity to shift power away from established or establishment-backed contenders. “In nine of the 28 same-party races in 2012 election cycle, the second-place primary finisher won in the general election,” the report noted. “In six of the 25 races same-party races in the 2014 election cycle, the second primary finisher won.” Showing a similarly disproportionate ratio, second-placers scored general election victories in just six of the 2016 cycle’s 27 same-party races.

In fact, over the past three election cycles, primary winners have fared better and better on the whole against their second-place rivals, whether despite their increased campaign fundraising and spending or because of it. The ratio of victorious second-placers decreased from nearly a third to about a fourth to just over a fifth.

GOP Gains in California May Not Be as Implausible as Commonly Believed

CA GOP

Chairman Jim Brulte leads a meeting at the California Republican Party convention.

It almost qualifies as one of the more unexpected headlines in recent memory. “CAN THE CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY BOUNCE BACK IN 2018?” asked the Los Angeles Times in late February. Who would expect the GOP ever to re-emerge in California? Yet that such a question was even asked by a member of the state’s single-party media is meaningful. Maybe something is stirring within this seemingly permanent minority.

A mere stir won’t be enough, though: the political equivalent of a Home Depot paint mixer will be required. The Golden State is the deepest blue of the 20 states that Hillary Clinton won: 62 percent of California voters cast their ballots for her, the highest percentage of any state. Using data from the IBD/TIPP poll, Investor’s Business Daily’s John Merline wrote in December that “if you take California out of the popular vote equation, then (Donald) Trump wins the rest of the country by 1.4 million votes. And if California voted like every other Democratic state — where Clinton averaged 53.5 percent wins — Clinton and Trump end up in a virtual popular vote tie.”

Not that this outcome was any great surprise. California has been a one-party state for what seems like a geologic era. The only chamber of the state Legislature that hasn’t been under Democratic Party control in the last four decades is the Senate. The GOP held it by a slim two seats in 1995–1996. The last time the Republicans held at least one chamber before that was in 1969–1970, when Ronald Reagan was governor and the GOP had two-seat majorities in both the Assembly and Senate. Since Reagan’s stint in Sacramento, there have been three Republican governors (and was Arnold Schwarzenegger truly a Republican?) and three Democratic governors (including Jerry Brown twice). Only six Republicans, one of them Schwarzenegger, have held statewide seats since 1998. Democrats have held 23.

It’s a similar story with California’s representation in Congress. The House of Representatives has been prime Democratic property since the late 1950s, with a 26-26 tie in the state’s congressional delegation in 1995–1996 being the only exception. Since then, the spread has increased steadily to reach 38 Democrats, 14 Republicans, and one vacant seat — that of Xavier Becerra, now the state’s attorney general — though some might say that the real attorney general is Eric Holder, the former Obama AG hired by the Legislature to lead the state’s Trump resistance. California has not sent a Republican to the Senate since Pete Wilson, having won the governorship, appointed John Seymour to serve the final two years (1991-1992) of his term in Washington.

Only 27.3 percent of California voters are registered as Republicans. That’s the smallest sliver for the GOP since 1980, the year of the Reagan revolution. Republicans have even lost San Bernardino County, a longtime GOP stronghold in California’s flyover country, with registered Democrats there now outnumbering Republicans.

Republicans deserve a healthy portion of the blame for their marginalization. In the early 2000s, they colluded with Democrats to redraw districts in a scheme that ensures that few seats are competitive and for the most part gives both parties perpetual possession of the seats they hold. This makes it nigh-on impossible for Republicans to unseat Democratic politicians.

And too often, Republicans are hard to distinguish from Democrats anyway. Stephen Frank, an editor for the California Political Review, complained a few years ago that the GOP establishment has “run candidates without serious ideology — except the desire to win election,” and recalled a 2013 legislative surrender in which Democrats got the votes they needed in Sacramento from the GOP to extend $2.3 billion a year in vehicle taxes. More recently, Frank said that if “you stand for nothing” as a party, “you’ll cease to exist.”

Democrats have the state sewn up not only through their safe districts but also through a constituent bloc that will vote them back into office again and again. Those on the lower end of the economic ladder tend to support Democrats and their redistributionist agenda. In 2014, Pew Research showed that 51 percent of Californians earning less than $30,000 a year are Democrats or lean toward the party (22 percent are Republicans/leans); 53 percent earning between $30,000 and $49,999 a year are Democrats/leans (30 percent are Republicans/leans). In return for their party loyalty, the poor Californians who vote Democratic are robbed of economic opportunities by Blue State public policy.

Those at the top also have a role in perpetuating Democratic power. Pew says that 49 percent of Californians earning more than $100,000 annually are Democrats or lean that way, while only 39 percent identify with the GOP. According to Political Data Inc., the gap closes somewhat for those earning more than $500,000 a year. But Democrats still hold a 38-33 edge there.

Given these facts, it’s baffling why anyone, even the most optimistic Republican operative, could imagine that the party might “bounce back” in California. The reason for many is simple: Donald Trump. These Republicans believe that they can emulate on the state level what Trump achieved nationally. One key to the GOP’s resurgence lies in between the economic extremes that support the Democrats and is primarily inland from the posh coastal districts. It’s a shrinking middle class at odds with the ruling party over water, climate, energy production, immigration, infrastructure priorities, housing, economic policies and the environment. Enough polarization exists to lead some to believe that the state needs to be split — not in two parts but in six.

Frank believes that the state’s minorities can also play a role if the Republican Party has the courage to show them how Democrats have “destroyed their hopes” and condemned them to “poverty and dependence.”

Some Democrats are considering the possibility that the Trump phenomena could carry over to California. “If we didn’t get a wake-up call from what happened in the rest of the country, then shame on us,” David Townsend, a Democratic strategist, told Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton after the election. Skelton, no Republican apologist, acknowledged that Democrats have been “paying little attention to the middle class.”

So maybe there is an opening. As GOP consultant Ray McNally told Skelton, “power really does corrupt,” which could mean that the Democrats, with all their raw political muscle in California, are vulnerable to making the fatal mistakes that can happen when politicians believe they’ve become too powerful to pay for the consequences of their actions.

California GOP moves to align with Donald Trump policies

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

The California Republican Party moved Sunday into greater alignment with President Donald Trump, approving resolutions opposing sanctuary cities, advocating robust vetting of citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations and supporting a swift repeal of the federal healthcare overhaul.

Delegates to the state party, meeting in Sacramento for their annual spring convention, also voted to reaffirm their aversion for tax and fee increases proposed as part of the state’s 2017-18 budget.

The resolutions, drafted with the help of longtime conservative activist Steve Frank, come as Republicans labor to identify common ground with Trump as some of their officials continue to distance themselves from his more controversial stances and statements.

All four proposals were adopted with no discussion.

The move represents a departure of sorts for a party that has tried to grow its shrinking ranks by adopting a more inclusive tone. …

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The GOP Needs to Improve Its Marketing Skills

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, flickr

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, flickr

California is now a one-party state, with Democrats having a supermajority in both the state Assembly and Senate.

How is it that the GOP can’t adequately explain to California residents that our ideas are better? Why is it that Republicans can’t convince Californians that our solutions will bring prosperity and a better life for everyone, Democrats included? The fact is that Republicans in California are poor marketers. We have a great product but don’t know how to sell it.

We need to learn how to market it. You can manufacture a great widget that will do incredible things, including saving people tons of money. But if you don’t know how to market it, you won’t make any sales, even if it is better than sliced bread.

The blame is not completely with the Republican Party. Selling our ideas is only one of the ways we can improve our standing with California voters. We have many obstacles in California. The populous cities of the state are predominantly filled with secular progressives who aren’t interested in limited government, lower taxes and a better business environment. The unions run the Democrat Party and they and multi-millionaire Democrats provide funding to Democrats and their candidates that Republicans can only dream about. It isn’t easy to overcome the Democrat funding, no matter how well we sell our ideas.

Also, the Democrats have been very successful over the past several decades in convincing voters that Republicans are heartless, racist, misogynist and white supremacists, without compassion, and who are essentially evil. We have let them get away with that and have done very little to counter those false charges.

We also need to get active in the inner cities and show the African American community that we care about them. We do, but saying so means nothing compared to getting into the communities and actually doing something to help their community.

We have been active in the Latino community, and have several Latino-American elected officials and party leaders. Programs like the Grow Elect program are doing great things in the Latino community, and state and local leaders like Mario Guerra, Jack Guerrero, Ignacio Velazquez, Alex Vargas and others are making a big difference in the Latino community. We need to do more to show Latinos that their future and the prosperity for their families lies with the Republican Party.

With the supermajority now in the Legislature, one way we can make a public relations difference is to propose legislation that will benefit Californians. Go the the extremes. Eliminate the carbon tax, reduce stifling regulations on business, propose lowering taxes. Of course, none of these bills will pass, but we can then issue press releases that Republicans are trying to make life better for Californians by submitting important bills that are being voted down by Democrats. Let’s learn how to use the press and public relations. In the next two years let’s see if we can convince Californians to try voting for Republicans. Let’s convince the voters that they have nothing to lose, and might have everything to gain.

I know we can do it.

By Gary Aminoff, Treasurer, The Republican Party of Los Angeles County

Trump Reality Sets in for California Republicans

As reported by the L.A. Daily News:

Even though it was presumptive and even though the result appeared to be a foregone conclusion for some time, it became unofficially official for Republicans Thursday — Donald Trump reached the delegate total needed to become the Republican presidential nominee.

Jim Lacy missed being able to congratulate Trump in person by just one day.

The at-large California delegate from Orange County met him backstage at the candidate’s Anaheim rally Wednesday, got to shake his hand and told him “You’re the man” before posing for a photo.

“I was hoping I could’ve been the delegate that put him over the top when winning California,” Lacy said. “But I was still delighted with the news.”

Trump, the man who built his …

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