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Ray Haynes

Toward a Dominant Republican Party in California

Is California a lost cause for Republicans? It is so big, and these days so liberal, it is hard to imagine a time when Republicans can take over the state government. The good news is that Democrats are doing everything in their power to destroy the state, and people are moving out in droves. If you doubt me, go to U-Haul and try to rent a truck. You will find they are very expensive, much more expensive than in neighboring states. The U-Haul price issue, driven by the fact that more people are moving out than moving in, is the proverbial “canary in the coal mine,” California, blessed with the best weather and most abundant land in the country, is literally chasing people out of the state, and deterring people from moving in.

Enter former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Governor John Kasich, announcing in the last few days that they want to redirect the Republican Party. Make no mistake, Schwarzenegger has tried this before, and his policies were so unpopular that he did more to destroy the California Republican Party than any other single politician. Governor Kasich should just go back to Ohio, we don’t need his help here.

Charles Munger, in an attempt to moderate the Republican Party, blessed us with a redistricting commission that, after the last redistricting in this state, allowed the Democrats to gain an almost impossible to defeat super majority in both houses of the Legislature, and, with the top two primary (which had been a moderate Republican dream for years) has made sure that there have been no statewide Republican candidates for any significant office in years. Schwarzenegger, to compound the problem, destroyed our brand. When he ran for Governor in the midst of the recall, he promised the state he was going to “clean up California.” The pictures of him with a broom were seared in the minds of Californians. I can say, to get my endorsement for Governor, I asked Schwarzenegger, in the Mission Inn in Riverside in August of 2003, where he stood on guns, babies, and taxes. He promised me three things: (1) he would sign no bills increasing regulations on guns; (2) he would appoint ONLY strict constructionist judges (to prevent further extension of abortion rights); and (3) He would never, EVER, do anything to raise taxes. Before he left office, he had broken all three promises. Schwarzenegger was so roundly disliked that when Mike Murphy, who was the consultant for both Schwarzenegger and Meg Whitman, ran commercials for Whitman that mimicked things that Schwarzenegger said when he was running in 2003, her popularity plummeted. She lost, after spending over $100 million, because voters hated Schwarzenegger, and she sounded like Schwarzenegger.

Now, after destroying us, Schwarzenegger wants to save us. Please, Governor, with friends like you, who needs enemies? And Governor Kasich, you were a great Congressional budget chair, you should have stayed there.

So what is the secret to Republican domination in California? A return to first principles…Liberty, small government, and trust in the private sector, that is, families to raise and educate children, private associations to care for the poor, and free markets to build the economy. We don’t need someone who flies jets around the country to push the government to control our carbon footprint, we don’t need the rich and powerful telling us to pay more taxes, we don’t need people who won’t put bad guys in prison to tell us we have to trust the government to keep us safe. And we certainly don’t need some guy who destroyed our brand because he capitulated to the “girly men” in the Legislature telling us how what we have to do to restore our party in this state.

The purpose of the political process is to persuade people to entrust you with power. Principle drives the persuasion, work drives the process. Our principles have been muddled, and work nonexistent, especially among our office holders. Changing our principles will only drive the most dedicated Republicans, the only ones who remain in the party, further away.

California has the third largest Republican Party in the Country. 4 years ago, we were number two. We are losing Republicans faster than we can count, and it is not because the party has been “too conservative.” We need the restore the brand that we care about working people because we want to get government off their back. That will take work, not press conferences and weak, “little leftist” policies. In the next article, I will expand on the principle side of the project to establish a Republican Dominated California, and then, I will expand on the work side.

The goal is achievable, but not by doing what we have been doing, and not undermining core principles. The siren song of those who have already crashed our party on the island will not save us. We need to keep our eyes focused on the prize, and work to achieve it. It can be done.