Before we can assess a way back from where Republicans are in this state, we have to assess our assets, and how best to utilize them. The best asset available to Republicans in this state are elected Republicans. The question is: Do these elected Republicans care about bringing our party back?
They should. If the last 10 years have been any lesson to Republicans in this state, it is that most elected Republicans have cared about themselves, and not about us. The cause of freedom is the cause of the people, and conservative Republican values promote freedom, that is, smaller government, less taxes, stronger families, private property rights, and individual freedom. When the Republican leadership (folks like Arnold Schwarzenegger) “negotiate” with the Democrats in this state to raise our taxes or increase regulations on our businesses or our families or on our communities, they negotiate our freedom away.
I have heard good excuses as to why taxes and regulations must be increased. My favorite is “climate change.” It is the best one for the Democrats. No proof that climate change is occurring, or that it is man-made, or that any tax or regulation enacted is actually going to do anything to stop it is necessary. All they say is that a bunch of scientists say its happening (just like all the scientists used to say the world is flat), and, if we disagree, well, we want our children to die. Of course, Democrat power players get to keep on acting as if there is no climate change, or, in some cases, like that of Tom Steyer, they use their influence over politicians to have millions of your tax dollars given to them. They get their planes and their big cars and their big paychecks, and you pay for it. And they have a great excuse for it…they are saving us from ourselves and the disaster of climate change. That disaster was 20 years away in 1990, and it is still 20 years away today. A perfect excuse for politicians to increase their power.
It is not the only one. Political power brokers take your money to teach your kids, do it badly, all so they can force people to pay a portion of their income to their political buddies (in this case, the unions), and then say their bad job is your fault because you are not giving them more money. They take more and more, and give less and less.
Unfortunately, too many elected Republicans choose not to fight this agenda. Too often, to someone like me, they seem to have given up.
There is a way back, and the key to finding that way back is first in our elected Republicans. They must be willing to fight. It won’t be on the floor of the Assembly or Senate. It will be in the neighborhoods and communities throughout the state. Our elected Republicans have to first see that if they are not leaving their districts, and trying to expand Republican influence in neighboring districts, making Democrats afraid of losing their districts, then those Republicans will be the victims of the next statewide wipe-out. The last three election cycles have proven what happens when the electeds withdraw like ostriches into their holes. They lose.
20 years ago, after the devastating losses in the Dan Lungren Governor’s election, I proposed the adopt-a-district plan. It required Republican legislators to leave their district, work the districts next door, and expand the Republican base in those districts, by explaining why Republican values are best for them. Back then we only needed 8 seats in the Assembly and 7 in the Senate to get a majority. Now we need twice that. In four years, we will need to get 30 seats to get a majority, if our electeds don’t start working now.
The purpose of the political process is to persuade people to entrust you with power. That doesn’t occur if you stand for nothing, or if people don’t know what you stand for. It also doesn’t occur if you just talk to your neighbors. You need to venture out, take a chance, actually work for the paycheck the taxpayers send you, and persuade people that you deserve the power you seek. The media won’t help, and Republicans shouldn’t expect them to be fair. They are not.
Republicans will have to go to strange places, talk to people they don’t know, use their title to obtain an audience in nontraditional venues, in order to advance the agenda they believe in. As important, we should expect that of our Republican elected leaders, or find someone who will do what is necessary to win. I don’t want to leave this state. I think it is worth fighting for.