The California GOP Convention is set this weekend for Anaheim and I’m not sure where to send flowers for the wake. The party is clearly on life support. Governor Jerry Brown’s progressive agenda and the complete Democratic Control in the legislature have turned California’s gloomy outlook under a Republican governor and millions of dollars in the red into a rosy economic future. The State has gay marriage, driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, initiatives for high speed rail and a healthcare program in place that’s already more aggressive than Obamacare.
Add to this the diminishing number of voters who identify themselves as “Republican” and people like Jon Fleischman in a party leadership position who’s only goal is to push candidates further to the right, and the prospects look dim and grim.
Governor Brown and his legislative Democratic electeds were able to clean up the mess left behind by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the legislative minority Republicans who had the ability to block critical legislation. Remove those obstacles and things have certainly gotten better in the Golden State with no thanks to Republicans.
Marty Wisckoll does a nice job summing up the party’s dire straights in this paywall-free story on the Register (so is the Register promoting the convention in a way?). From Marty’s story:
Democrats hold every statewide office and have a two-thirds majority in both state legislative houses, allowing them to raise taxes without a single GOP vote. It’s been 17 years since Republicans held the majority in the Assembly and at least 43 years since they’ve controlled the state Senate. The ranks of minority voters, who lean heavily Democratic, are growing steadily.
The Republicans plan all sorts of roundtables to reach out to women, Latinos, Asian voters (but no LGBT outreach I’m afraid) to communicate their message to them. I seem to recall a line about these voters by supporting Republicans is akin to chickens supporting Col. Sanders.
More from Marty’s story:
Republican leaders generally have been opposed to immigration reform that would provide a pathway to citizenship for those in the country illegally. That’s helped keep the state’s burgeoning Latino electorate steadfastly on the blue side of the aisle and contributed to three-quarters of the state’s Asian voters backing President Barack Obama last November.
“There are Republicans in Congress who can talk about immigration better than I can,” Brulte said. “It’s time that the chairman of the California Republican Party focused on rebuilding the party. If the California Republican Party had millions in the banks and was operating as it should, I could be out there talking about policy. But that’s not the situation.”
However, Brulte is trying to address the party’s deficit among ethnic minorities in an organizational way: identifying all the local Republican elected officials so they can be encouraged to both help improve the Republican image in the all communities and to encourage those officials to seek higher office.
“There are demographic changes that Republicans need to recognize and respond to,” he said. “There are scores of Republican Hispanic officials already elected. We want to elevate them.”
Building the GOP farm team at the local level is one of Brulte’s three major goals for the party, along with helping Republicans hold the House majority by winning those competitive California congressional races and eliminating Democrats’ supermajority in the Legislature.
Orange County will play a key role in the statehouse goal. The race to replace termed-out Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, features GOP county Supervisor Janet Nguyen facing Democratic former Assemblyman Jose Solorio, and has been tagged by Republicans as their No. 1 targeted Senate seat statewide. And there are also hopes that GOP congressional aide Young Kim could unseat first-term Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, in a district where party registration is almost evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats..”
So there you have it; Nguyen versus Solorio is the California GOP’s number one priority. It going to be fun watching the Republicans and Democrats pour their resources into this race. But one thing is clear. The more party leaders like Jon Fleischman steer the party to the hard right the more people will jump this sinking ship. California’s resurgence is due to Progressive policies of cutting spending where necessary and increasing spending selectively. It worked. And it’s impossible to deny. It’s time for Republicans to be treated like the minority party they are.