LOS ANGELES, 26 July, 2012 — The Republican Party in California is on the verge of extinction. It was once one of the two major political parties in California. In 1981 Ronald Reagan was the last GOP presidential candidate to win the state’s 55 electoral votes. Now, 31 years later, the California GOP is on the brink of annihilation.
The fact that there are almost no viable Republican candidates for statewide office in California has led to the suggestion that the GOP has outlived its effectiveness there. Its poor history of managing and controlling decision-making in California has led to the electoral rejection of moderate, libertarian, and right wing conservatives as people have become increasingly dependent on the state for their livelihoods. The cost of state consumption has grown, and now subsidized programs are a drug addiction. Voters cannot be weaned from their dependence.
The Democrats have been able to dominate state legislative politics while the CAGOP has left conservative Californians disheartened and disgruntled with its ineptitude. California’s GOP leadership is trapped in a leadership style of the past, not recognizing that needs are different, the electorate is different, and Orange County Republicanism might as well sink into the tar pits for all the relevance it has to Californians today. The CAGOP has failed to change as circumstances have changed, turning into a country-club clique that still looks at black and Hispanic voters like some sort of quaint, exotic, and transient intrusion into their political ecosystem.
How can California recover when its political life is all about what one group can take from another? California is a “Drug Fest State.” Its legislative process is designed to subsidize and burden voters with handouts, high taxes, and burdensome regulations. The state can no longer function without the drugs that taxes and subsidies have become. It is no longer a normal state.
When state money dries up, the users of state programs suffer from “substance-abuse” withdrawal. CAGOP leaders at local, state, and federal levels have tried many times to create “legislative substance withdrawal laws” to heal our state, but unwilling to tackle the addiction head-on and unable to explain the problem to the addicts, they’ve failed. Compulsive and repetitive use of “aid subsidy programs to lifestyle” commands a price when politicians try to cut back, much like the aftermath of a California hippie drug-fest when withdrawal symptoms start.
So how can the California GOP help fix the problem when it seems to not even understand the problem? Many people who see what’s going on feel a sense of hopelessness. Despairing of the possibility of fixing California, they’ve moved out of state. Texas and Colorado are full of Californians who are willing to trade the state’s climate and incredible natural beauty for the chance to work and build businesses in an environment that welcomes that. Yet many of us here still fight for the cause.
Chuck DeVore is a Republican who left California and moved to Texas. He served in the California State Assembly from 2004 to 2010 and was Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Revenue and Taxation; he also served on the Budget Committee. After a hard loss in the primary in 2010 for the state senate seat, he bowed out of California.
He calls himself “a proud new Texan by way of California’s high taxes and burdensome regulations. Texas’ veteran’s plate is the same cost as a regular plate; in California, veterans’ plates cost $30 per year. Good-bye, California, I’m going to Texas.” He adds, “It’s hard to say ‘good-bye.’ Perhaps au revoir is better (‘til we meet again). As some of my friends know, our family has been caring for my aged in-laws, 86 and 82. As with many people who have seen a full life of war and work and raising a family, they need our help. This assistance has consumed our whole family, in fact it’s the toughest thing and the most noteworthy thing we’ve done, even more so than running for statewide office.
“In addition, as with many in the Golden State, I have found it hard to earn enough to support my family. My old aerospace clientele has fled to greener, less-expensive pastures. Combined with the drain on our savings caused by six years of public service in the Assembly, we have come to the reluctant conclusion that it is time to move. … there are still other places in America where the taxes are lower and the regulations less onerous than here in California … One such place is Texas. … I have accepted a position as Senior Visiting Scholar for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. My first order of business is to write a book on the Texas Model of how low taxes and low government spending, a light and predictable regulatory environment, respect for property rights, and a business-friendly legal climate has turned Texas into America’s jobs generating dynamo.”
Nathan Fletcher is no longer in the California Republican Party. He is leaving the GOP to become an independent. Fletcher rails against the major parties, their unwillingness to negotiate with each other in order to avoid letting the other side take credit for any accomplishment. He declares, “I believe it’s more important to solve a problem than to preserve that problem to use on a campaign. I am willing to work or share or give all the credit to someone if the idea is good. I don’t believe we have to treat people we disagree with as an enemy. I’ve fought in a war. I have seen the enemy. We don’t have enemies in our political environment here. Local politics is broken. Backroom deals, hyper-partisanship, us-versus-them. [I] will bring a different approach: a new generation of leadership with a trusted track record of reform, innovation, cooperation, and progress. [I am] about getting things done, not about re-fighting old battles or dividing San Diegans based on their party affiliation.”
The last forty years have shown that the federal and state governments have not been equipped to accomplish the needs of building wealth for everyone. This must change. In California, many are unaware of the bureaucracies filled with corruption at every level. America needs to have its collective eyes turned to this. We must be more responsible when we vote. The leadership of the GOP is only one side of the equation; we are the other side. We Californians have to take responsibility and vote out those who push our failed, dependency-creating policies on the voters.
Republicans are not totally to blame for the demise of serious conservatism in the state. Californians need to be liberated from the racist, defeatist, self-destructive rhetoric that comes from the Democrats. But the GOP has not prepared for a Republican presidential candidate to help us build a healthier party here, to support a new generation of candidates in local, state, and federal races, to build a party that can stand on its own instead of asking for outside money. The RNC has always just written us off, so what will make this year any different?
It takes numbers and money to win, and we have neither. American “government” means “We the people,” not foisting responsibility elsewhere. Unfortunately, the ones who have failed at their responsibility in California are the people. We have failed to elect qualified people and hold elected officials accountable. We have to chang ourselves before we can change our government.