A lot of people have asked a really salient question, where were the Republicans through all the change and disruption caused by the left in Sacramento? I would like to relate that my party stood up for what was right, sadly, it did not. The Republican political leadership was as responsible for California’s travails as the Democrats.
For a long time, between the Ronald Reagan governorship and the second Jerry Brown governorship, the Republicans were fighters, fighting the Democrats, first with initiatives, including tax and spending reform, through Proposition 13 and Proposition 4, criminal justice reform, with the enactment of 3 strikes and the death penalty, and finally with Proposition 187, a banning of illegal immigrants from receiving state benefits. But beginning with the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger, a new Republican grew up, one convinced California just didn’t agree with Republicans. It then became only a matter of time until the party collapsed. A number of large donors began advocating a “go along to get along” philosophy in the party, and the political leadership followed their lead.
At the instance of these donors, Republican leaders in the latter part of the 2010s decade actually didn’t want to raise the voice of a loyal opposition. They forgot the first rule of politics “The purpose of the opposition is to oppose.” They simply didn’t oppose the things that the Democrats were doing to destroy California. The business community, ever the sell out to the left in California, simply folded its tent. The ensuing tax and spending increases chased them out of the state. Republicans were bereft of money, ideology, allies, and support in the state. Most voters couldn’t see the value in voting Republican. Who are they, and what are they going to do for me? most voters said. I had once coined the proposition that “The purpose of the political process is to persuade people to entrust you with power.” When it was all said and done, Republicans just stopped the persuasion process.
Examples? Two big ones occurred in 2017. First, Republicans joined with Democrats to raise the gas tax. Lots of good excuses, like “it helped my district” but by refusing to oppose, those Republicans sacrificed the party for a purely personal benefit. Then, several Rs joined with the Ds to enact an extension of the now discredited cap and trade program. Climate change, now scientifically proven to be a hoax to expand socialist control over the economy, was the excuse, and the Rs completely abandoned the people of the state of California, once again for purely personal political gain. Those who supported extensive governmental intervention in the name of climate change are now regarded for what they were, fascists by another name. Then, however, the loss of freedom these Republicans authorized nearly destroyed the party. It certainly subjected the party to a permanent minority status.
What happened next was both horrible and predictable. First, the Democrats started prosecuting their political opposition. First a nice senior citizen woman whose only sin was to sit down on a couch near a polling place to ask a friend if the friend had voted was prosecuted for illegally campaigning near a polling place. Next, they prosecuted a political activist who recorded a conversation about the left’s illegal activity. Never mind that the recording wasn’t illegal, their goal was to silence their opposition. The corrupt prosecutorial and judicial systems ignored the law, and went after everyone.
The FPPC, the entity supposedly designed to protect the integrity of elections, went after Republicans in office like the old Soviet KGB. The worst was when they went after the Chair of the California Republican Party for bookkeeping errors, charging him with felonies for signing the campaign disclosure forms. No one wanted to be the party chair, and office holders were cowed into silence. Political activists were charged throughout the state with bogus criminal charges simply because they spoke up against the oppression. Finally, the Republican Party was outlawed in the state as a terrorist organization, because it “espoused hatred, bigotry, and classism” (classism being the defense of the free market economy, because paying people based on their productivity resulted in some people being better off than others). The beliefs of the Republicans, the Democrats said, fostered anger, violence, and hatred, and of course, led the so-called “Antifas” to have to attack those who espoused those beliefs in order to protect society.
People outside the state were shocked and mortified. California had long been the protector of free speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association. Those values were quickly undermined by defining some speech as “hate speech,” those who practice freedom of religion as “homophobic and anti-feminist” purveyors of discrimination, and anyone who associated with them as guilty of their crimes.
Nothing stood between the Democrats in California and their perfect socialist state except reality. With the collapse of their anti-emigration laws, and the resulting flight of businesses and productive citizens, the economy sunk into a morass of regulation and lack of production. Cities collapsed as they were taken over by criminals and thugs. People stayed home to avoid the thuggery of the so-called Antifas. Republicans just stood by and watched, out of fear or desire for personal gain. Opposition collapsed, just as it had in the socialist regimes of the early 20th century.
Politicians in California realized their mistake in leaving the US. They petitioned to return. What they faced next surprised all of the political leadership of California.
Part V – Should We Let California Back In?