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Ray Haynes

Work, Not Registration, Is Destiny

Did you know that, in 1980, Democrats has 80% higher registration in California, 6.04 million Democrats to 3.94 million Republicans. Today, that registration advantage is 60%, 8.7 million Democrats to 5.04 million Republicans. In 1980, Ronald Reagan received 4.52 million votes, 500,000 more than Republican registration. In 2016, Donald Trump received 4.4 million votes, 550,000 fewer than registration. In 1980, Republicans had an active campaign for President. In 2016, they did not.

In 1984, Republicans pulled 800,000 more than registration, and the number of registered Republicans increased by 800,000. Not only were Republicans winning elections on work and principle, they were winning over the voters, increasing registration at historically greater numbers.

Of course, in 1980, there were only 1.4 million voters other than Democrats or Republicans, today, there are 5.64 million (600,000 more than registered Republicans), but why is that?

Before 1990, Republicans typically outperformed registration. No one can contend that Reagan outperformed registration because he was a moderate. He has defined conservatism for a generation. He also defined what it was to be a Republican for a nation, and he won. Reagan came up with the “11th Commandment”: “Thou shalt not attack a fellow Republican.” In his day, while not followed perfectly, Republican on Republican “crime” (for lack of a better term) was punished. Today, we relish it. My conservative friends think there is a level of purity in attacking fellow Republicans. My moderate friends think the way to win is to attack and abandon conservatives. Both are wrong. We win through the intelligent application of principle, not by pushing conservatives and their principles out of the party, also NOT by attacking moderates as “not true Republicans.”

More important than all of that, however, is work. When we get distracted by internal strife, a sort of constant state of affairs in the California Republican Party today, we lose, it is just that simple. We are in better shape registration wise today than we were in 1980, yet we lose. As the dynamics of politics has changed in California, we have been so busy fighting with each other that we have forgotten the real “enemy” (again for lack of a better term). We know that principles of the left and their constituencies are harmful to the citizens of the state of California, yet instead of fighting those principles and their advocates, we fight each other, in the name of fighting the left.

Of course, it is easier to fight each other, that way we can blame the other side of the party for the loss in the last election, and, by doing so, continue to lose. We then look at the election returns and say “Well, Republicans will never win, so I can continue to fight the [conservative, moderate] wing of the party to set up a future win at some unknown future time.” That justifies us NOT working to persuade the voters of California that the Republicans agenda is what is best for the state, their families, and their life.

The purpose of the political process is to persuade people to entrust you with power, NOT to fight with your natural allies under the guise of pretending to want to win. We each need to identify and engage our natural political allies, and persuade them to join in the fight, not work to chase them out of the party.

Once again, as Reagan once said, someone who agrees with you 80% of the time is your friend. Moderates are not served well by attempting to chase social conservatives and small government conservatives out of the party. Conservatives are not well served by branding moderates “RINOs” because they only agree with 80% of the conservative agenda. We can fight with each other when we are in majority, until then, let’s fight the real “enemy,” that is, those who would undermine our freedom, our families, and our economic well being by pushing a big government agenda.

The numbers are important, they show we can win. I will address them again in future posts, because first, we need to be encouraged, but as important, we need to recognize how we, as a party here in California, got to the point where even though Republicans have 1.2 million more voters than the party had here in California in Reagan’s time, Republican candidates are receiving 500,000 votes fewer than Reagan did. I believe it is a combination of the abandonment of principle and the lack of work. that is what needs to be fixed, and we should not be discouraged in the project.