Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced his campaign for the Democratic Party nomination for president this past week. One of his top priorities is to convert the United States to the metric system. Doing so, presumably, will make us more “international.”
That sounds silly–yet here in California, the most recent Democratic Party Platform officially backs ideas that are just as bad. It can do so, because the opposition is so weak.
Here, in non-metric style, are the top 17 worst ideas.
1. State-owned bank. North Dakota has one of these, founded a century ago during the progressive-socialist era. Today, it makes money from the oil shale boom. But the California Democrats don’t want to use a bank to develop fossil fuels (see below). Rather, they want to provide business and consumer loans the private sector won’t. The idea that a state with one of the worst credit ratings in America is going to be a responsible lender is laughable. But Democrats believe it. Officially.
2. Card check. This is the idea that unions can canvass for votes by going door-to-door instead of by secret ballot. It is a recipe for intimidation and thuggery, brought to you by the same people who argue voter ID is a crime against humanity.
3. High-speed rail. The Bay-to-L.A. boondoggle is the most unpopular project in the state, one that even Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom rejects. It is spending $70 billion the state doesn’t have for an amusement ride that few want, and no one needs.
4. Universal health care. Undaunted by the failures of Obamacare, and the struggles of Covered California (which has a dismal one-star rating on Yelp), Democrats still think the state should provide health care–not just insurance–to all.
5. Pay defense contractors to switch to peaceful projects. As the platform puts it: “Provide low interest start up loans to National Defense contractors to convert their products and/or services to meet the needs of a Sustainable Peacetime Economy.” Surely when beating swords into ploughshares becomes profitable, business will do fine on its own?
6. GMO labeling. An idea California voters rejected in 2012–one with definite economic costs, but no scientific basis.
7. “Linguistically relevant” education. This is a euphemism for bilingual education, which voters banned in 2014. It is a proposal that panders to identity politics and ignores the fact that Latino children do far better when learning in English.
8. Left-wing indoctrination at school. The platform calls for “inclusion in Pre-K to Higher Education curriculum of age-appropriate, factual information about social movements, current events and the contributions of both men and women, people of all races and ethnicities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with disabilities, and other historically underrepresented groups, and discard materials that perpetuate stereotypes or reflect adversely on persons or groups based solely on their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion or other characteristics.” In short, kids must learn the left’s revisionist history, so that they may one day be Democratic voters.
9. Ban fracking. Thankfully, Gov. Jerry Brown–of all people–opposes a fracking ban. And for good reason: the state is sitting on trillions of dollars in fossil fuels, much of which has already been placed off limits by environmental regulation.
10. Cut public funds to faith-based initiatives. Or, as the Democrats’ platform says: “Affirm that the right to accept or reject any religious belief, to bind oneself to any religious creed, or to hold no religious creed whatsoever, is a private matter, and should always remain a matter of individual conscience. Therefore, we oppose any government funding to organizations that fail or refuse to respect these rights.” It is doubtful whether Democrats believe this principle should apply equally to gay marriage advocates who attack the beliefs of business owners who support traditional marriage.
10. Promote “gender neutral language.” If there’s one thing holding wimmin back, it’s the third-person pronoun.
11. Prevent landlords from asking about immigration status. This has already been law in California for more than seven years. Normally, it would seem reasonable to find out whether a tenant might be deported before the end of a lease. (Of course, no one expects to be deported anymore, so perhaps this idea is not as crazy as it might otherwise seem.)
12. A “living wage.” No one should be allowed to pay less than what a single breadwinner needs to earn to support a family–unless, of course, employers agree to unionize. Then unions will allow them to pay workers much lower wages.
13. Cut the federal defense budget 25-30%. Because we have won the war on terror. Because Obama said so.
14. Hold talks to create a “Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone” in the Middle East. Iran crisis solved! Well, maybe not, but perhaps Israel can be convinced to disarm unilaterally, which is the real purpose of such talks.
15. Change the First Amendment in response to Citizens United. This crazy idea has gone beyond California. Hillary Clinton is now running on it–conveniently, since the Citizens United case concerned a ban on a film about her.
16. “Culturally sensitive” abortion. It is not clear what “culturally sensitive” means, but it accompanies a demand for a “full range” of abortion options, presumably including partial-birth abortion, and even abortions by non-physicians.
17. Global population control. Granted, not a traditional function of state government, but California is a big place.
Not everything in the Democrats’ platform is quite so absurd. Even some conservatives agree with Democrats on legalizing marijuana, for example, and there is room for debate about criminal justice reform.
But what stands out is that there is not much in the Democrats’ platform about water storage, or road maintenance, or any of the state’s more basic needs. There is much attention to utopian nonsense and little to the real world.
A shift to metric looks reasonable by comparison.