California, once the red beacon of the Republican Party, has now become the blue ocean of the Democratic party. This didn’t happen overnight; this was a process that took decades to develop.
Republicans controlled major state positions up until the late 1990s when Democrats took control of the state legislature and also took control of both U.S. Senate seats and the governorship. The only true Republican victory in the state after the late 1990s was when Arnold Schwarzenegger won the open recall election in 2003 and served as governor until 2011.
Ever since 2011, it has been complete annihilation for Republicans in California. Gov. Jerry Brown beat his Republican opponents by vast margins in both of his most recent elections and the Republicans were shut out altogether in the 2016 U.S. Senate election, with a Republican not getting into the top two in the jungle primary.
This has not happened due to demographic changes, which is what many Republicans allude to in explaining these failures, but rather is due to the Republican platform in California not adapting to those changes. Since 1990, there has been a huge influx of Latinos in California. Latinos now comprise 32.3 percent of California’s population — a huge number. Due to Republican lack of outreach to Latinos, that group has been voting reliably blue, crushing Republican chances in the state.
The first step for California Republicans is to give Latinos in California the real Republican agenda, not the extremist one which is unfairly cited by the media. The real Republican agenda includes ideas like equality of opportunity, managing the budget, providing the poor with opportunities to get jobs and make their own money to get out of poverty, destruction of the welfare state, and so on.
These type of ideas will appeal to minority communities, especially immigrants, in which most are driven to work in America and to start a good life here. This is a stark difference in what the Democrats have created in California for immigrant communities and the poor, as demonstrated by their creation of a welfare state in which many people stay for life. This is not only a drain on California’s financial resources, but a waste of human potential. We need Republican politicians in California who fit a moderate and caring mold.
Second, Republicans have to start hammering more on Democrat failures such as the bullet train. The bullet train is a prime example of a terrible public works project due to the sheer cost of it all and the lack of progress towards its completion. When this bullet train was introduced in 2008, many Democrat politicians promised its completion by the mid 2020s, costing $35 billion. It is now 2018, the project doesn’t even have a solid foundation yet and it is projected to be completed by the late 2030s with a cost now of over $100 billion.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s response was this: “I like trains.” This is an example of government bureaucracy and weak leadership at its finest, the same bureaucracy that the Democrats blindly trusted with California taxpayer dollars and the same leaders whom Brown chose. This is also an issue that infuriates many Californians, regardless of party.
A new USC poll published by the Los Angeles Times showed that only 31 percent of Californians still support the bullet train project, which provides California Republicans leverage on an issue that close to three-quarters of Californians side with them on.
California Republicans should propose a different high speed rail initiative, one where the private sector builds the trains and the government bureaucracy stays out of it. Examples in past history will prove them right on this issue. For example, the transcontinental railroad connecting New York to San Francisco was built between 1863 to 1869, a time span of only seven years, and was completely built by private enterprise.
This fact will also put the politicians involved with the current train fiasco to shame, showing that a railroad can be built that stretches across the country with primitive mid-19th century technology in only seven years, while the bullet train project barely has a few tracks built since its enactment seven years ago and has wasted taxpayer dollars in the process.
Finally, Republicans must propose a solution to end the welfare state that exists in California. For decades, California Democrats have run poorer areas into the ground. Areas like Compton, Watts and Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles are prime examples of this. Welfare has been proven to not work, as people often stay in the same income bracket for the rest of their lives while never getting a decent job and moving out of the poor area that they are from.
The essence of welfare is to provide a jumpstart to a person’s life, not for the person to rely on it. California Republicans should provide a solution to have welfare be a forceful push to get a person back on their feet and for them to quickly get off the program, instead of welfare being a chain that robs human potential and promise as it is doing now. This will also help reduce the massive debt, which has now soared to over $1 trillion.
California may be blue for now, but that can change if Republicans can hammer these issues into the California populace. Instead of rejecting California, the Republican Party must embrace it for what it is, a diverse and urban place with moderate views on politics, unfit for hardline conservatives. Only then will California become the Republican red bastion that it was before, a prosperous state which can unlock the full potential of all Californians.