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Ray Haynes

Working the Political Process to Create a Republican Majority

I began this series with the story of the tour of California by Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Kasich to “change” how the California Republican Party approaches voters. As I have said over and over again, the purpose of the political process is to persuade voters to entrust you with power. One thing I know, if the “choice” the voters have is a Kasich/Schwarzenegger Republican Party and a Brown/DeLeon/Newsom/Villaraigosa Democrat Party, voters will choose the Democrats, as they proved when given the choice between Brown and Meg Whitman, who ran as a Schwarzenegger clone. When Governor Brown pointed out that Whitman was saying the exact same things that Schwarzenegger had said in the recall, she lost her lead, and ultimately, the election to Brown. Voters want, in the words of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, a “choice” not an “echo.”

When I wrote my second installment of this piece, I set out what that choice should be. The Brown, etc. Democrat party is the party of welfare for illegals, out of control government unions, big pension and bonded indebtedness, taxes and hatred of the entrepreneurial and working classes. They are driving the state into a perpetual hell of crumbling infrastructure, collapsing schools, steep debt, and destructive policies that are more concerned with attacking Donald Trump than actually governing for a better California. It will work for a period of time, as it did in the Soviet Union, but ultimately, it will collapse. The challenge for Republicans is to be ready to govern when that collapse comes, as it inevitably will.

The Republicans “choice” for voters is the choice of smaller government, more individual liberty, and a trust in private organizations to handle society’s ills. Small business to drive the economy, churches and community organizations to lift up the poor, families to raise and educate children. These institutions strengthen and bind a society together, and the more Republicans work to strengthen these values, the better our state will be.

But the right policies only help if Republicans set up the political infrastructure to advance their political cause, and, right now, that Republican infrastructure is collapsing in California. Through a series of political blunders, including the state’s Redistricting Commission and the Top Two primary system, Republicans are slowly sinking into oblivion in California. How can they revive themselves to the time of Reagan, Deukmejian and Wilson.

First with the right values, then with the will to work. Another rule of California politics, Democrats will always have more money. They get all of the union money, and more than half of the business money. It’s not right, but it is so. In politics, Democrats married themselves to the unions, Republican married themselves to business. The Democrats’ spouse is faithful, our spouse cheats on us every election. Democrats will also have more skilled political operatives, better technology, more volunteers, because many of their “volunteers” are paid either by the party, or by the taxpayers as union “representatives.” It is not surprising, given these advantages, that Democrats win, it is surprising that they don’t win more. It is a testament to the strength of our ideas.

The only thing Republicans can do to win is work harder and smarter than the Democrats. How do they do that?

Some years ago, I came up with the “Adopt a District” plan. It is a simple plan, but it is not easy. It would require Republican officeholders to get out of their districts, and work neighboring districts with the goal to develop a Republican infrastructure in those neighboring, Democratically held districts. I promoted the plan to whomever would listen, no one did. I talked with leadership, but it would require members to leave their districts to create a majority, and the leaders didn’t think members would do it. I still have the plan, if you want to see it, send me an email at ray@flashreport.org. I will send it to you.

It is really simple, but it requires a lot of work. It would have members “adopting” a district near to them, going into that district, setting up Republican volunteer organizations, talking with Chambers of Commerce and other community organizations, setting up Republican donor lists, and finding a candidate to run in that district. We would start in districts with the highest Republican registration held by a Democrat. We would start the program long before an election, with the eye towards long term development of Republican organizations, donors, and community involvement. Right now, the Republican infrastructure in these Democrat districts is suffering from lack of nourishment, they are withering away, because no one pays attention to them. That has to change, or soon the entire state will look like the Bay area.

That’s how to combine the right principles with the right public relations. Our legislative and Congressional members have to get out of their comfort zone. They are getting paid full time to do just this kind of stuff, but they stay home, saying they have to “get re-elected.” Right now, they are in safe districts. Adopt a District will get them from a super minority to a majority, just as it did in states like Michigan.

If the purpose of the political process is to persuade people to entrust Republicans with power, Adopt a District will get about the process of persuading. We can turn the state around, if we work hard enough at it.