The twin facts of the month: that the recall against Governor Brylcreem has qualified to go to a vote, and that California—for the first time in the state’s history—will lose a congressional seat cannot, in my mind, be unrelated.
California has lost a seat in the House of Representatives, based on new numbers from the 2020 Census. So did Illinois and New York and several other states. Texas picked up two. Several other states picked up one representative. What do California, New York and Illinois have in common? Complete domination by one political party. People are leaving those states, voting with their feet or— given that California is the land where cars are king—with their tire rubber.
The once-Golden State has been on a track toward disaster for a long time. Today California is more gilded than golden. Do I think Republicans are the answer to all of California’s ills? No. What I DO think is that a state where the two parties grapple, wrestle and strain for control, where no party can impose its crazy ideas down from above without some necessity to negotiate, is a better formula for good government than a state where one party dominates. Where every kooky idea, no matter how crazy, has at least a chance of being voted in as law.
Idiotic laws like the attempt by Lorena Gonzales, wife of the current Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher, to destroy the gig economy by greatly hamstringing freelancers and consultants.
During COVID, the governor has run the state like a tyrant under emergency powers and his actions pretty much brought the recall upon himself. Whether it will end up finishing his political career is another thing.
In California, Republicans are a bit more than a minority of one, but not by much. The recall is not likely to change that reality, but it does provide an opportunity for the GOP to prevent a rational alternative to government by know-it-all elites who think they know what is best for everyone, down to the smallest detail of our lives.
This recall is a wonderful sales opportunity to spread the word that Republicans are not in favor of reparations, that they don’t think police should be defunded, that we need sources of energy in addition to windmills and solar panels so that we can avoid power shutdowns, that the middle class shouldn’t be taxed to death, that enterprise and success should not be punished. We need to exert mastery over the public employee unions. We need to encourage a society that is not so sunken into self-hatred of our heritage and traditions.
But for Republicans to succeed at this message, they should please, please wrestle anyone to the ground and muzzle them who starts to say, “The election was stolen!”
It’s possible for Republican governors to be elected in super liberal states. Charlie Baker is a very popular governor in Massachusetts. Although California is certainly liberal, its voters are not completely woke and progressive and they know when someone is trying to sell them a bill of goods.
As was demonstrated last November when the voters turned thumbs down on messing with Proposition 13’s property tax guarantees. They also voted against ending the state’s ban against affirmative action. They also said no to rent control. And defeated Lorena Gonzales’s efforts to destroy the gig economy, i.e. to liquidate Uber and Lyft. They also handily defeated an attempt to ban cash bail.
But they also showed their softer liberal side by voting to allow convicted felons to vote after they finish serving their time. So, although California residents lean liberal, they ain’t crazy. If the Republicans present a non-crazy alternative to Gavin Newsom, the child of privilege of the super liberal Bay Area, they might have a chance to remove this arrogant elitist who tells the rest of us how to live our lives while ignoring those dictates in his own life.