A rule of politics: The purpose of the political process is to persuade people to entrust you with power. In a republic such as ours, that means if the Republicans are actually going to obtain a majority, the voters need to be persuaded that the things Republicans want for the electorate will actually improve the lives of the individuals in the electorate. There are always two ways to win elections. Either (1) persuade people that what your opponents want to do is so bad for them that they dare not let them get control of the levers of government; or (2) what you want to do for them will make their lives better than they are now. The first method of obtaining power is effective in the short term, but once the party obtains power, they actually have to govern. As Republicans in Washington have found out, when people are dissatisfied with the governing party, they want an agenda of change, which means first, Republican must first have an agenda.
It is obvious to anyone who pays attention that Democrats are screwing up this state. The first piece of evidence of this is the fact that people are leaving the state in droves. Secondly, to anyone who is paying attention to the news, California recently ranked dead last in quality of life rankings. We have the worst housing prices, the worst freeways, the highest taxes, substandard schools, the highest taxes, and a government that is driving itself into bankruptcy. We are running out of water, we are running out of electricity, and we are running out of houses. If you are an illegal or a Hollywood star, you might be able to afford living here. If you are not, you are constantly stuck on a freeway on your way to work or home, paying exorbitant rents or mortgages, food and gas prices, and having to suffer through broken schools and broken government programs just to live. It is an environment ripe for a political revolution. Republicans just have to be able to crack through the cacophony of the left, to point out these problems with a coherent strategy to address them.
So what would that agenda look like. Republicans, in order to persuade the California electorate to entrust Republicans with power, must set out an agenda of liberty, small government, and trust in the private sector, that is, families to raise and educate children, private associations to address the issues of those in need, and free markets to address the economic needs of families and communities.
Why is an agenda of low taxes and small government important? First, a government that tries to do too much to “take care” of its “people” ends up doing everything badly. A small government, focused on keeping people safe, can usually keep people safe. If it tries to do more than that, if it tries to help everyone “have a better life,” it ends up with a bunch of bureaucrats who first define what a “better life” is, and then attempt to force people into that “better life” whether people like it or not. This leads to government bureaucrats planning everything, economic activity, housing needs, health needs, “good” jobs, the “right” way to travel, eat, and interact with each other. And, of course, they justify all of this interference with our lives by saying we “just don’t know how to care for ourselves,” which leads to crime, poverty and pollution. Tax money then gets diverted to this plethora of “good life” projects, and away from keeping people safe, which of course makes people less safe.
Republicans must announce and pursue a clear agenda of small government, liberty and a trust of private institutions that allows each one of us to plan for ourselves and our families.
People get this. The fact is most people would rather control their own lives, and be protected by government from bad people who try to take from them the fruits of their own activity. Government should remove thieves and murderers from our midst. I’d pay my taxes for that project. Beyond this they should leave us alone.
Republicans will win as long as they trust all people to live their own life. Put bad guys in jail, let people keep more of the money they earn, let them raise their children as they see fit. Let them take action to protect themselves by owning a gun if they want, and take action to feed their families, by not imposing regulations and taxes on their homes and businesses.
The choice for people is easy, if it is defined. Either take care of yourself or have the government take care of you. The latter may be enticing to some, but over time, people will get it. Republicans have to draw the distinction clearly and often, wherever they go, and constantly pursue the agenda of less government, less taxes and more liberty. If they do that, the voters of California will entrust Republicans with power. Once Republicans have that power, they have to implement the agenda.