Patterico's Pontifications


Can the California GOP Mount a Comeback?

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:29 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Those of us who have been in California for two decades or longer have seen a slow, inexorable decline of the Republican Party in the state. When I arrived, Pete Wilson had won reelection as governor two years earlier, and though Bill Clinton would win the state for a second consecutive election later that fall (after six straight elections where the Golden State had gone for the GOP candidate), exactly half of California’s 52 Congressional districts elected Republicans that year. Nearly a quarter-century later, the tide as emphatically turned as Hillary Clinton won the state by over three million votes and just two years later Democrats took 46 out of the state’s 53 House seats. Combined with a decade of Democrat governors and now super-majorities in both state legislative houses, the GOP has been reduced to the parsley garnish on the politial steak dinner plate.

But could that be changing? The first significant pushback to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s lockdown order came from Huntington Beach, in a nominally-Republican congressional district that a Democrat managed to capture two years ago. Though the state ended up swatting down Huntington Beach’s attempt to reopen the beach before the state had granted authorization, it’s not hard to imagine that Huntington’s move greatly accelerated the state’s plans and forced them to relax their stringent plans. And now even the governor’s fellow Democrats are pushing him to speed up the process for returning to some semblance of normality. Gov. Newsom, who just last week was warning us that restrictions would likely last throughout the summer, is now optimistically suggesting that sporting events — sans stands manned with tanned fans — could return to the state as early as two weeks from now. We can try to believe that these developments coincidentally arose independently of the protests, but it seems far more likely that state Democrats are starting to understand that they may have overreacted just a wee bit.

A second shoe dropping was last week’s special election where Republican candidate Mike Garcia won a surprise victory to serve out the remainder of disgraced Democrat Katie Hill’s term in California’s 25th Congressional District. Though the party registration is divided equally between Republicans and Democrats, the donkey party bailed out on the race once their candidate beclowned herself with an intemperate remark about Mr. Garcia’s military service, and the party decided to cut bait and hope to win the seat back in the general election this fall, when they presume Democrat turnout will be higher.

And finally, one of the most positive developments is that the few remaining GOP legislators in Sacramento seem to have coalesced around a workable agenda which involves cutting spending, holding taxes as low as possible, and removing the ridiculous levels of red-tape that Democrats have used to tie up businesses over the past decade-plus. Republican Senator John Moorlach, a CPA who served as Orange County Tax Collector during the county’s bankrupcy in the mid-1990s, has been at the forefront of pushing for budget and regulatory reforms. Though super-majority Democrats can easily swat aside his bills, Sen. Moorlach has started to attract some support form across the aisle among those Dems who are starting to understand that their party’s hyper-progressivism might be a constraint upon getting the economy restarted. This past week, Sen. Moorlach introduced a bill that would have entered California into a multi-state licensing compact where nurses from the Golden State would be licensed to practice in other states who have signed on to the compact, and vice-versa. This bill was supported by hospitals, the AARP, health insurance providers, and dozens of other stake-holders, but was opposed by the California Nurses’ Association, a militant left-wing union whom progressive Democrat legislators are loathe to cross. Despite this, the bill was narrowly defeated in committee on a 5-4 margin, with two Democrats bucking the powerful union and voting in support of the compact. Could it be that even some Democrats are beginning to understand that business as usual is not going to pull us out of this economic malaise? Sen. Moorlach is also taking the lead on challenging Sacramento Democrats to get serious about budget and spending reform, so here’s hoping his efforts bear at least some fruit.

As I’ve written before, I am not going to be making any predictions for this November’s election, in the Golden State or anywhere else. But I am pleased to see that perhaps at long last the California GOP is getting its act together and providing at least the appearance of opposition to the Sandersista socialists in Sacramento.

[UPDATE]: Sorry folks, this post was kind of a mess. I accidentally published it a couple of hours ago, so I copied it, trashed it, and then pasted it into a new post. But I guess in that process a portion of the post got deleted by mistake, so when it was published the second time around I was horrified to discover that some paragraphs were missing. I’ve tried my best to reconstruct it, but I beg your forgiveness if it seems somewhat slap-dash (because it is).


20 Responses to “Can the California GOP Mount a Comeback?”

  1. Answer to the question posed in the title of the post: probably not.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  2. Put it this way – I have never in my life voted Republican, but the California Democratic Party’s near-unanimous support for freelance-killing AB-5 will likely persuade me to do so on a local level. I can’t possibly bring myself to vote for 45 over it, but I think a lot of freelance Dems are really disaffected over this. As are disabled folks who depend on Lyft and Uber.

    LYT (b89070)

  3. But enough to blunt/mitigate a democrat supermajority?

    whembly (c30c83)

  4. The California Republican Party should get out of the way and let a real opposition party form, that doesn’t have some of the platform of the California Republican Party.

    And the thing is, the jungle primary makes that easy.

    So the problem is campaign finance restrictions. And maybe the absence of the rollover voting system used in Australia

    Sammy Finkelman (b4888e)

  5. But enough to blunt/mitigate a democrat supermajority?

    If they can just reach the threshold to end the supermajority, perhaps some Democrats in districts where registration isn’t so heavily skewed blue or where there is a significant number of No Party Preference registrants might start to cool on the hard left agenda that Democrat leaders are pushing.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  6. I think it depends on what they decide they want and who they want to be. If they keep themselves chained to exactly the platform of the national party, certainly not right now.

    I don’t think Sammy’s idea is necessarily a bad one. CA has the pull to do something like that and money for fundraising is there to be accessed. It would need to be a long term commitment though, they would need to accept that an immediate change is unlikely and it might take several election cycles to start building up a good base.

    Nic (896fdf)

  7. [UPDATE]: Sorry folks, this post was kind of a mess. I accidentally published it a couple of hours ago, so I copied it, trashed it, and then pasted it into a new post. But I guess in that process a portion of the post got deleted by mistake, so when it was published the second time around I was horrified to discover that some paragraphs were missing. I’ve tried my best to reconstruct it, but I beg your forgiveness if it seems somewhat slap-dash (because it is).

    JVW (54fd0b)

  8. I swear, at first glance I read: “Can the California GOP surmount the mountebank?”

    nk (1d9030)

  9. If the CA GOP does mount a comeback it will take a long time, but anything is possible. In 1990, after Republicans had a string of wins, there was a big billboard in West L.A. that said “Finally, A Race Even A Democrat Can Win.” I don’t remember what it was advertising — maybe the season at Santa Anita — but it was at least sort-of accurate at the time, the Waxman-Berman machine in LA notwithstanding. Back then, Republicans usually won a number of the statewide offices and were even competitive in the state legislature for a while.

    The conventional wisdom is that Prop. 187 killed the CA GOP, so that now there’s no effective check on the Democrats. But the Democrats will inevitably over-reach, and maybe already have with AB 5. Current prospects for the Republicans remain pretty bleak. Maybe if they get lucky they can regain a couple of the Orange County congressional seats they lost in 2018 but not much more.

    RL formerly in Glendale (40f5aa)

  10. At the very least they need to be less extreme on immigration than the national party. I think it’s no coincidence that two of the “squishiest” GOP politicians on immigration are Bush and Rubio, both from Florida, a rather immigrant heavy state.
    Scott isn’t squishy, but he made a determined effort to woo Puerto Rican voters (including a lot of assistance to the island after Maria, when he was running for senator).

    And also a determined long term effort to persuade minority communities that their policies are good for minority businesses and minority communities in general, instead of just assuming they are in the pocket of the Democrats. Of course that advice would work for the national GOP too.

    Kishnevi (8c41bd)

  11. And also a determined long term effort to persuade minority communities that their policies are good for minority businesses and minority communities in general, instead of just assuming they are in the pocket of the Democrats.

    Agreed. Joe Biden’s clunky and obnoxious comments earlier today demonstrate how fearful the Democrats seem to be that they can’t drift to the furthest edges of social justice and hang on to more moderate minority voters.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  12. I think the Garcia win was a one-off. He was much more qualified. I don’t see a trend.
    But I am glad to hear the GOP in Sacramento is figuring some things out.

    Paul Montagu (aa165a)

  13. California Republican Party pulls Howze endorsement due to ‘disgraceful’ social media posts

    The California Republican Party pulled its endorsement of embattled Republican House candidate Ted Howze on Thursday over inflammatory and bigoted social media posts.

    The unanimous decision came after POLITICO revealed social media posts from Howze’s personal accounts that derided Muslims, disseminated conspiracy theories and insinuated that Democratic elected officials were guilty of murder.
    Howze has repeatedly denied he wrote the posts in question, including Thursday when he dismissed accusations as “Brett Kavanaugh style attacks.”

    “The maliciously false attacks on our campaign based [on] old social media posts being attributed to me are Fake News. They do not resemble anything close to my personal words or actions exhibited during my decades-long record of service in the Central Valley,” Howze said in a statement, saying he was “under attack by national Democrats.”

    ……Rep. Josh Harder claimed California’s 10th congressional district in 2018, defeating GOP then-Rep. Jeff Denham to help Democrats complete a sweep of competitive Republican seats.

    As long as Republican voters nominate candidates like Howze, it will be tough. What a gift to Democrats. From the original story:
    At least a dozen additional posts from Howze’s account over a two-year period espouse conspiracy theories, suggest Hillary Clinton and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) are responsible for murder, or denigrate Dreamers, Islam and the Black Lives Matter movement. As of Tuesday afternoon, they were accessible on his personal Facebook account.
    In the recently uncovered posts, Howze accused the Clintons of leaving “a trail of bodies as long as the Mississippi River behind them.” He compared recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to pedophiles: “Surely they understand that pedophiles are ‘dreamers’ too.” Addressing the Black Lives Matter movement in a post, he wrote: “As a culture 95% percent of you vote in lock step for the same political party who held you as physical slaves and now wish to keep you as political slaves unable to effect any real change for the better.”

    He also asserted that Muslims cannot be good American citizens, and in a Facebook post signed “Ted Howze American citizen,” he said the 2016 mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub occurred because “the FBI was ordered by the Obama administration to lay off Muslims.”
    On June 16, 2016, he shared a meme of a gun salesman addressing an unseen customer. The text overlaying the photo suggested breaking an Islamic dietary law should be a litmus test for purchasing it: “Yes sir, your background check came back fine. But I gotta see you eat some bacon or its no sale!”

    On June 18, 2016, he said President Barack Obama should be arrested for treason because he “puts the welfare of foreign Muslims ahead [of] his own citizens.” He signed this post.
    …..[H]e posed “a question of the day” on his Facebook account: “Can a Muslim ever truly be a good American citizen?”

    The answer, Howze wrote, was no. Among his reasoning in his 318-word post: Socially, a Muslim’s “allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews”; Domestically, a Muslim is “instructed to marry four Women and beat his wife when she disobeys him”; and, spiritually, “when Americans declare ourselves ‘one nation under God.’ we are referring to the Christian’s God and not Allah.”

    Ripmurdock (b867aa)

  14. In my lifetime…The USSR fell essentially without a shot fired, the American South completely flip flopped from Dem to GOP, Goldwater conservatism rose again and resulted in enormous change, with a Cali dude as prez, to boot. The Berlin Wall fell. An iron-grip on the U.S. House by the Dems was overcome by a GOP who decided to eschew Ford/Michel’style meekness.

    D freakin’ J Trump was elected POTUS.

    So….yes. California politics might could flip.

    Ed from SFV (f64387)

  15. I’m a 43-year-old lifelong Californian. I remember when we had an aerospace industry and a lot more military bases than we do now. That’s when the state voted Republican. Bill Clinton’s Base Realignment and Closure Committee may not have explicitly targeted California for a major social reengineering so much as political payback to Republican Congressmen, but that’s what it achieved. I could live to 80 and I don’t believe I’d ever see another Republican governor, Senator, or other statewide officeholder. With great respect for the optimists earlier in the thread, I do not believe any merely policy-based strategy can overcome the fundamental demographic changes in this state.

    I would further add that for the present Democrat voter and officeholder arrangement, the punitive effects of things like AB-5 or forcing Christian schools to post signs proclaiming they discriminate are a positive reward. I’m proud to have voted for John Moorlach, but this is a barrier he can’t overcome, regardless of the issue in question.

    Eliot (339582)

  16. i read Pierre Delecto is for mail in voting. Such a schiff stain on America. We deserve better humans than this sack of schiff.

    mg (8cbc69)

  17. @15 A lot of the CA base closures weren’t Clinton, they were Reagan and Bush in 88 and 91. Clinton closed a few but Reagan and Bush also had a big hand in that.

    Nic (896fdf)

  18. Answer to the question posed in the title of the post: probably not.

    Betteridge’s Law of Headlines:

    “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

    Dave (1bb933)

  19. Mostly off-topic, but related to another recent California-bashing post, UC President Napolitano sent out an email announcement this week about the University’s impending budget crunch and some steps to be taken in response.

    Napolitano’s letter says that in 1.5 months, from mid-March through April, UC took a $1.2B financial hit. In addition, Newsom has announced a $372M funding cut for the next year.

    There will be salary freezes for non-union/non-faculty staff and academic appointees. In addition Napolitano and all the chancellors will take voluntary 10% pay cuts.

    The latter is a symbolic move, since the total amount involved is only about $500-600K. The Dog Trainer explains:

    Napolitano earns a base pay of $570,000, ranking 73rd among 268 public college leaders tracked by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The average base pay of UC chancellors is about $500,000, compared with about $670,000 for public college peers in the Assn. of American Universities.

    Dave (1bb933)

  20. RIP Jerry Sloan

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

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