The NY Times just wrote about the demise of the CA GOP. It claimed its dramatic loss in voter registration, now just 30% of the state’s voters, is due to the fact that the party has run out of ideas popular with the electorate and that it has grown increasingly conservative, out of step with independents who decide elections. Yes, the GOP has declined to insignificant status. It’s minority status is now so small it can no longer block any legislation or budget that Gov. Brown and the Dems want. We live in a one party state. The state GOP simply sits in the legislature, relegated merely as silent observers watching in agony at the demolition of its state.
Under the Democrat’s leadership city after city is going bankrupt: first Vallejo, then Stockton, then Mammoth Lakes and San Bernardino and Compton waiting in the wings. The state would have gone bankrupt, if it could, but the state constitution prohibits it. The governor and the legislature are now going full speed ahead in yet more spending and solving it by raising taxes. Unlike the federal government, the state democrats have no GOP controlled house to prevent them from this spending insanity. The legislature is now budgeting for, and the governor has approved, 68 billion dollars that they don’t have for a train nobody wants according to a recent poll. Yes, it’s that bad.
The governor and his democrat controlled legislature has neither offered nor made any serious structural reform in order to balance the budget, no serious labor or pension reform, which is the major out-of-control 500 pound gorilla in this China shop. Not only does the state have a $16 billion deficit, it doesn’t have any plan for another huge ticking time bomb – an $884 billion of unfunded pension liability to unions. This is the money that’s owed to the unions, the same ones who have bought and paid for the entire democrat controlled legislature. But don’t worry it gets worse: wait for it… the latest CA budget increases spending by 28%.8 %.
So now the NY Times claims the real problem with the GOP in California is its positions on such issues as immigration, affirmative action, high speed rail and gay rights that are hampering the resurgence of the party. The only problem is that voters of California, including minorities agrees with the GOP on all these positions. So the NYT might considering looking elsewhere for explaining the demise of the CA GOP. Californians passed Prop 187, called Save our State, that would have virtually stopped all state aid to illegal aliens. “A majority of voters in 50 of California’s 58 counties supported Prop. 187–the exceptions were eight San Francisco Bay Area counties. According to exit polls, 64 percent of whites, 57 percent of Asian-Americans, 56 percent of African-Americans, and 31 percent of Latinos voted in favor of Prop. 187.” How can a party lose voters when it takes positions that are consistently siding with the majority, including minorities?
Again, with Prop. 209, the landmark affirmative action legislation that prohibited government preferences based on race or sex, also passed handily as well. Republicans supported it, not surprisingly, the Democrats opposed it.
Gay marriage? Republican opposed it, Democrats supported it. Voters sided with the GOP to oppose it. On every major conservative social issue, Californians sided with the GOP, why then do they overwhelming support democrat politicians? And so why do the media say that the GOP is out of touch with the electorate “social issues”?
1) The media are lying. They are overwhelming comprised of democrats in their editorial departments and that hardly any major paper supported the GOP candidates for either senate or governor in the last election cycle despite their superior credentials for job creation. Moreover, the coverage of the GOP candidates were overwhelmingly negative. Meg Whitman, with an impressive resume that included a stints as CEO in both HP and EBAY received no support from the media. They trotted out an abused housekeeper story for weeks before the election as if Californians cared. The media chose the tired lefty, Jerry Brown, also known as Gov. Moonbeam for his unrealistic drugged out policies while governor 30 years ago. He was best known for putting the state in the precarious place its in now by allowing public unions to have collective bargaining. And the media overwhelmingly voted for the status quo when they chose the tired socialist, tax and spend, feminist Barbara Boxer over the innovative and entrepreneurial Carly Fiorina, also a former CEO of HP, for US Senate.
2) Labor Unions. 35 years ago, then Gov Brown gave public employees the right to collective bargaining. And that was the beginning of the end. Unions bought and paid for the democratic state legislature ever since. And they certainly have gotten their money’s worth in return with outrageous labor agreements and pensions. We now owe public unions $884 billion dollars that we don’t have and are not accounted for in our budget. Moreover, labor unions are the state’s biggest donors. The California Teachers’ Association that oversees one of the most costly and worst performing school systems in the country is the largest untion contributor. They spent $118 million in the past 5 elections. Other big labor unions: California State Council of Service Employees, American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees, CAlifornia Correctional Peace Officers Association and the SEIU round out some of the top labor contributors. Businesses, in contrast, split their donations to both parties, but give more heavily to the incumbent party, democrats. So the GOP has no advantage from business. The reality is that special interests (unfortunately, including business) gave Democrats three times as much in contributions as to the GOP.
Now the GOP is sponsoring Prop. 32. This a game changer. This measure would ban automatic deductions by corporations, unions, and government of employees’ wages to be used for politics. This is the primary source of union power. When the forced donations stopped recently in Wisconsin, union donations dropped dramatically. After Wisconsin prohibited forced collection of union dues “Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — the state’s second-largest public-sector union after the National Education Association, which represents teachers — fell to 28,745 in February from 62,818 in March 2011,”
Former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.”
3) Demographics. Californians are increasingly dependent on government for social services and over half pay no or nearly no income taxes whatsoever. In 1996 nearly 40 percent of Californians didn’t pay any state income taxes and millions more pay next to nothing. Indeed, the majority of folks earning under $50,000 per year paid no state income taxes. In California, the so- called “progressive” tax, which is anything but, forces the wealthiest ten percent to pay 75% of the entire income tax to the state. The non-income taxpayers together with the almost no-income tax payers (3.7 million collect food stamps) represent a structural support of approximately 50% in the Democratic camp right out of the starting gate.
The GOP has to fight for votes from the remaining 50% of the taxpaying public. And they must do so while enduring a hostile media and a well funded union with a super advantage in contributions to the Democrats. Additionally, labor unions offer its sophisticated and powerful get out the vote machinery. These structural deficits, taken together, are blowing as a headwind with gale forces. That’s why California GOP Tom Del Becarro calls Prop. 32 the most important ballot initiative on this November’s ballot. And apparently the Teachers Union agrees as they just dropped $7.5 million of their members dues in the campaign to defeat the measure. Ironically, many of those members probably support the measure.
Becarro says “game on” and urges everyone to go to the campaign’s website and support it as generously as they can. This may be California’s last and only hope.