Monday, March 31, 2014

California GOP: Ending The Suicide Pact

Interesting news out of California. The nearly-existinct Republican Party has decide to abandon its suicide pact. This is yet more proof that the fringe is being pushed aside. Indeed, California’s GOP invented the fringe and have clung to it for 20 plus years now. So this is rather big news.

For those who don’t know, the California GOP is as close to extinction as any major political party has been in our lifetimes. They score only 29% of registered voters and they aren’t competitive in any populated part of California. In fact, things have gotten so bad that the Democrats were able to change the law to let them run two Democrats against each other in some races because there is no viable Republican.

How did things get this way? Well, that’s pretty obvious unless you’re a reel ’merikan.™ What happened is that starting in the 1990s, the GOP went hard core on abortion, gays, the environment, and hating moderates. Sadly for the GOP, Californians pretty much support all those things. That cost them women, suburbanites and the young, leaving only an ever-shrinking number of conservative ghettos... kind of like the way the GOP slowly vanished from the Northeast, and then the North, and then the Midwest and now the West.

More importantly though, the California GOP really dove hardcore into race and immigration. Indeed, California became the center for things like the English only movement, the “deport them all” movement, and the center for grousing about the browning of America. The timing couldn’t have been worse because California’s demographics changed dramatically, from 78% non-Hispanic whites in the 1970’s to 43% today, with Mexicans being the single largest ethnicity at 25% of the population. You can do the math on what that means. And no amount of “we just need to get out the vote” crap is going to disguise this failure.

Anyway, in a special election last year, 48 year-old cherry farmer Andy Vidak did the impossible: he won as a Republican in an agricultural district south of Sacramento. He won despite the presence of a great many Mexicans in his district. How did he do it? Well, he ran on a platform that (1) avoided taking positions on social issues, (2) supported a path to citizenship for some undocumented aliens, and (3) supported granting drivers licenses to illegals. He also took more standard Republican positions like promising to address the lack of jobs and water, and he opposed the high-speed train from San Francisco to Sacramento.

Well, now state party Chairman Jim Brulte has decided that it’s time to save the party and he’s using Vidak’s victory as a template. He wants GOP candidates to reflect the views of their districts rather than follow the party’s ideological platform. And what he’s done is he’s allowing Republican candidates to tailor their campaigns to address local issues:
“The candidate that most looks like and sounds like and has the most shared values and shared experience of the majority of voters wins.”
Gee, ya think? Seriously, how twisted have things become that someone espousing “reflect the values of your district” would be considered a radical thinker and controversial. That really tells you how wrong the mindset has gotten and why the GOP is all but extinct in blue states and increasingly more red/purple states.

Anyways, this is a real surprise because the California GOP has been one of the most rigidly fringe for nearly 20 years now. They were happy to die rather than be the least bit palatable to the public. So it’s encouraging that a party chairman would have the nerve to allow this change – predictably, the response has been brutal about the betrayal and (ironically) the end of the GOP... uh, you were dead already folks. Anyway, this change is truly significant and represents a total repudiation of the talk radio strategy, and hopefully the national GOP will grasp what this means and will begin to follow this model in other lost states. Letting candidates reflect the values of the voters in their districts is the only way to be a national party and we are always better off getting 80% of what we agree upon than 0% of what we want.



Tennessee Jed said...

hey, it's a start. It seems to me California has enough problems that avoiding social issues and concentrating on economic issues would seem to be, if not an outright winner, at least not an outright loser.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The California GOP is basically extinct after years of being hardcore "anti." If this brings them back to any degree, then it will become the model the GOP should follow in other blue and purple states.

And with more and more "solid red" states becoming blue because the GOP has been taking untenable positions, this is the sort of change that could pay huge dividends for the party nationally.

Also, I see this as more evidence of a sea change already in place as the GOP separates themselves from the fringe. I'm seeing more and more evidence of that every day now.

Kit said...

Also, the Club for Growth, while its not necessarily completely behind the establishment, it ain't fringe either. In fact, its refused to endorse Matt Bevin (Mitch McConnell's primary opponent).


AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Everything changed once the GOP started to fight back. The fringe fell apart almost overnight. Now the ones who want to continue to be relevant are starting to come back to the establishment.

Others aren't. One guy who is famous for teaching conservatives to use direct mail just wrote a book in which he claims "the real enemy" is the GOP leadership and has been for 100 years (we should write a book attacking him as a RINO for supporting the leadership in the five years before that). FreedomWorks just bizarrely switched endorsements in Nebraska because the guy they had been giving love just received support from Mitch McConnell... very messed up. Realty TV Princess Palin is out there randomly endorsing and using the establishment as a fund raising punching bag. Of course, Senor Cruz is out there... somewhere.

But a lot of people and organizations are starting to come back to the real world. Club for Growth has gone full retard when it comes to primary challenges, so for them to step back is pretty big news. It also suggests they want to stay relevant and they see the writing on the wall.

EricP said...

Incredibly appreciated, especially with so many GOPers fleeing the state for Texas. Prime opportunities to additionally capitalize on the three Democrat state senators under suspension for behaving like, well, Democrats.

Still, this is the party which blew it with Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorino in the governor and US Senate races, so I will verify further before trusting the CA GOP. A thousand times bitten, twice that shy.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, Totally agree. This is just the first round, if even that. Before we can truly say that anything has changed, we need to see if this idea actually gets carried out, if the GOP candidates embrace the idea, and if it works. There is a long way to go.

Still, that a California GOP chairman would even suggest this is a significant change in California, where the party has kept moving further and further off the map into the land of crazy.

More significantly, this fits with all the other evidence we're seeing that the party has decided to become a majority party again rather than pandering impossible dreams to an angry few. That's good news for the country and for the long-forgotten cause of conservatism.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, Some of you may get a kick out of this: LINK

This is a fringe writer who has decided that it's time to fire Boehner and McConnell... as if this was something new which the fringe hasn't been trying for a couple years now. The list of crimes he mentions are the usual fake charges of the GOP wanting to be accepted in clubs the Democrats frequent and McConnell's supposed failure to fight/beat Obama. Of course, he provides no clue as to how that was supposed to happen except that they needed to try harder.

tryanmax said...

The Nebraska thing is truly bizarre. Politically, I'd say Sasse and Osborn are six of one, half a dozen of the other. But FreedomWork's flip is impossible to figure out.
Osborn clearly has the better "outsider" credentials; his only role in politics has been as State Treasurer. Plus, he's a Navy veteran. Though some in this state consider him a "traitor" over the Hainan Island incident. Don't ask me to explain.

Meanwhile Sasse has ties to at least half-a-dozen federal agencies and credentials from Harvard and Yale. As recently as February, FW attacked Sasse as supporting and helping write Obamacare. Furthermore, Sasse talks like one who "gets it," which is to say he speaks at odds to what FreedomWorks espouses. For example, Sasse has been attacked for criticizing the GOP over not offing a meaningful alternative to Obamacare and calling House repeal efforts "symbolic."

By all measures, Osborn should be FW's guy. Their bailing on him and citing ties to McConnell strikes me as coving a different reason. For one, according to the Osborn campaign, they've had no contact with McConnell. FW devines a McConnell endorsement through a UHC lobbyist who hosted a fundraiser for Osborn. Though UHC has not donated to Osborn or Sass, they have donated to McConnell. (Interestingly, insurance companies like UHC are now the devil when before they were innocents who just needed the liberty to compete across state lines.)

Flopping over an imagined McConnell endorsement is high stupidity, though I'm not holding FW against Sass. In all of FW's press releases, they trumpet how this puts them in line with other conservative groups. I think they're just joining a bandwagon and are trying to save face.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think what is going on is that FreedomWorks picked their guy and ran with him. Then other conservative groups picked the other guy and ran with him. FreedomWorks probably decided to switch teams to avoid appearing out-of-sync with the other groups. That's my guess. I wonder which one Palin endorsed and when?

AndrewPrice said...

As for the Hainan Island incident, that was a tragedy all around. I'm still not sure what possessed Nebraska to think that an invasion was warranted. And who knew the islanders would be a match for all those tanks built out of tractors. Sad. So much spilt beef. :(

BevfromNYC said...

I think FreedomWorks is finally realizing that they've lost the very large group of middle-ground fiscal TP'ers when they started pushing their very social conservative agenda. And they have especially lost them in the area of "moneyed donors". I personally can't scream at them enough to shutting up and sitting down because they have lost sight of the big picture goal for 2014 - take the leadership of the Senate out of the hands of Harry Reid and the Demcrats. The whole "dumping all incumbents" is a lovely slogan, but really stupid.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, At this point, I think FreedomWorks and some of the others are just about exploiting people for money. They don't have goal anymore except to keep their supporters agitated at the GOP so they can fund raise off of that.

In terms of their agenda, it's not just that it's become a so-con agenda, it's more that it's become a conspiratorial, flaky agenda. They've become the voice of the crazy fringe.

BevfromNYC said...

OBAMACARE COUNTDOWN GAMESHOWAnd the survey says....! How many people have signed up for Obamacare?

Just in case you haven't been paying attention - On Friday, the WH said there were maybe, kinda' sorta' (we're not quite sure" 4.5 million people who had signed up. But 3 days later and on the last day of official enrollment period (before the extension kicks in) it has been announced that now miraculously there are 9.5 million people as of today!!! It is a true miracle. Obama is the messiah! He has save us...oh, wait, oops, that's not right. Actually, according to "surveys and reports" 9.5million people previously uninsured people are now insured.So this must be the truth, right? Uh, and yet when Congress asked Sec't Sebelius says she does not know and will have to get back them...sometime...later. Who are these people doing the "surveys" and writing the "reports"? Maybe they should talk to Sebelius.

BevfromNYC said...

"They don't have goal anymore except to keep their supporters agitated at the GOP so they can fund raise off of that."

Exactly. They have tasted power and want to keep it at all cost and irrelevance is their enemy. So they have to keep up the irrational agitation to keep themselves "relevant" in their own minds.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, It's shocking isn't it? I mean, obviously, five million people didn't sign up in the last three days. What I think they are doing is simply playing sleight of hand. The 4.5 million is the number of people who signed up for (but haven't all paid) for private insurance on the exchange. The 9.5 million is those 4.5 million plus everyone who signed up for Medicaid... whether they had Medicaid before or not. And don't be surprised if it miraculously turns into 15 million people by next week. They are going to lie until their noses break off to save their little monster.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Exactly. Plus, it's a lot easier to infight than it is to fight the Democrats. This way they can cherry pick their battles and they can use fake "he didn't do enough" scenarios to attack their opponents... something they couldn't do if they were fighting the Democrats. Plus, by limiting their audience to those people who are gullible enough to fall for this, they don't actually need to promote anything more than "ve haf been betrayed!"

This whole group has basically become a conspiracy theory industry who are making money by telling people who aren't bright enough to see the truth that they are on the verge of some historic victory if only they would keep sending in their money and never trust anyone who might tell them the truth.

Kit said...

Apparently a FreedomWorks VP has quit during the aftermath of the Nebraska endorsement switch.

AndrewPrice said...

Stranger and stranger Kit.

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