I know how difficult it is for California Republican Legislators in these dark days. They are in the minority, a difficult position in any circumstance, and they are close to falling below holding one-third of the legislative seats, a threshold that would make them irrelevant to all decisions in the Legislature. They have just been through their first year with a new Democrat Governor, one who paid little attention to them, and redistricting is a seeming disaster ready to sink them into irrelevancy for the next ten years. I have seen this situation, I understand their feelings, I know what is going through their minds.
The first instinct is to whine. That was our first instinct in 1999. “Democrats don’t treat us fair, they don’t pass our bills, they break the rules to pass their own bills.” Guess what? They’re the majority. The majority rules. Time to stop whining.
The next instinct is to capitulate. “The only way to get a seat at the table is to give them what they want and to eat the crumbs.” Well, they are going to get the best, because they are the majority, and if our Republican Legislators take a seat at the table, they will legitimize the Democrats theft of freedom and property that will occur over the next two years.
AND, it is important not to do that. Here is the good news. The Democrats will screw up this state. They can’t help it. It is in their DNA. Something bad is going to happen, probably more than one thing. We won’t know what it is until the bomb goes off. The Democrats have already laid those land mines, and they will go off. In 1999 and 2000, they planted the electricity bomb and the budget bomb, and when those bombs started going off, the Democrats were in the blast radius. They tried to pull the Republicans in, but that didn’t work. Republicans were actually ready to lead, and proved that readiness by standing against raising the car tax, and fighting Gray Davis. We were not completely ready, to be sure, but because we did not capitulate, we had options.
Bad things will happen, and they will be caused by Democrats. I don’t know what the big thing that will lead to their downfall will be at this moment, but the seeds of their destruction have already been planted, and Republicans must be ready to say why they should be given the right to lead. The Legislative Republicans did a pretty good job of fighting in this last legislative go round, but now it is the time for real work. Their agenda of freedom, free enterprise, property rights, less taxes, and small government is the key to victory. Every Legislator needs to get out of their district and promote this agenda.
Trust me on this, the Democrats do it every time. They will squander their majority, and a principled opposition will be poised to take over. That opposition, however, has to be based in principle. It cannot be “put us in power because we are not Democrats.” It must be “put us in power because our ideas will make your life better.” That of course requires they have ideas, and that they are not afraid of talking about those ideas. Be public and powerful in the presentation of those ideas, but more than anything else, work, work harder, and when things look their bleakest, work some more. That is the key to victory.