Arnold Schwarzenegger joined the “New Way California” initiative this week, in the hope of creating a competitive California Republican Party by triangulating toward Democrat priorities.
Former Assembly Leader Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) announced the formation of the “New Way California” community support group on Jan. 9. He told the Sacramento Bee that the initiative is aimed at broadening the attractiveness of the Republican brand and reversing the Republicans’ registration implosion, which has plunged to a quarter of the voters in the Golden State.
Schwarzenegger and several Republican representatives were identified by Mayes’s office as New Way California supporters that support “true Republican values,” including initiatives to defend the environment, fund education, and reduce poverty.
At a press conference, Mayes reportedly stated, “Republicans have failed to be able to reach out to average folks in California. They don’t think that we care about them, they don’t think that we are working for their benefit.”
Mayes was California Assembly Minority Leader when he shocked conservative Republicans by casting a deciding July 17 vote that gave Democrats the two-thirds majority they needed to reauthorize the Cap-and-Trade system. Mayes’s leadership provided cover for seven other Republican lawmakers to vote for renewal as well.
The legislation is considered anti-business, because it requires new or expanding businesses to bid in a competitive state-run market for the right to emit more carbon dioxide.
Critics also consider the system anti-consumer, because it is estimated to increase gas prices, potentially raising them by about 73 cents per gallon by 2031. That is in addition to the new “gas tax” that was barely approved by a two-thirds vote last April, thanks in part to support by lone Republican Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres).
Six weeks after the Cap-and-Trade vote, Mayes was forced to step down as Assembly Minority leader after pictures went viral on social media of an ecstatic Mayes high fiving Democratic leaders after the bill’s passage. He was replaced by Assemblyman Brian Dahle (R-Bieber)
Mayes and Schwarzenegger claim they want to reshape the Republican Party by supporting pragmatic conservative solutions to issues that most Californians already care about.