CA GOP Going to Elephant Graveyard?

JAN. 17, 2012

Many in the media say that Republicans are rapidly becoming irrelevant in California, and will become nothing more than an afterthought after the next election.

Even a Capitol press club, made up of declining “old media” newspaper, radio and television reporters, recently indicated a reluctance to invite Republicans to speak at the monthly luncheons. Will Republicans become extinct before the old media do?

In stories, reporters at the Capitol reluctantly and rarely cover Republican bills or floor speeches.

With that attitude, why would anyone care if the Democratic Party took over the Legislature with a solid two-thirds majority?

The Best Defense Is A Good Offense

With 25 Democrats and 15 Republicans in the Senate and 52 Democrats and 28 Republicans in Assembly, Republicans still have the power to block tax increases, and have successfully done so. California law requires a two-thirds majority in the Legislature to pass new taxes.

California Republicans are good goalies. They many not be able to practice good offense, but they are able to block attempts to score on bad bills.

Now, the newly drawn legislative districts provide Democrats the opportunity to capture the four Senate and Assembly seats needed in the Legislature to gain total control. With that, many in the state are leery that California is too close to slipping into one-party rule, and even totalitarianism.

California already is starting to resemble a totalitarian state. We already have a political system where the state doesn’t recognize any limits to its authority. We are regulated in nearly every aspect of our private and public lives.  And the Democrats manage to stay in power with the help of a sympathetic, supportive media. While the media are not state-controlled (yet), they doesn’t need to be.

What’s Ahead?

I asked four very different people, each involved in politics in very different ways, for a California forecast if Democrats were to take over two-thirds control of the Legislature. Surprisingly, the answers weren’t all that different.

Jon Coupal

“We will be mistreated and abused,” said Jon Coupal, taxpayer advocate and President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. “Democrats lied. Voters have no trust because of SB 202, the bill gutted and amended at the end of the 2011 legislative session, and rushed through for passage by Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg that monkeyed with state elections.”

Described by some Republicans as “a danger to democracy,” SB 202 was by Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley. It passed both the Assembly and Senate and was signed by the governor in warp-speed. It called for moving ballot initiative elections that would have been on the June primary ballot to November general elections, when there is a higher voter turnout. With the higher turnout, voters tend to be more liberal than during June primaries.

But many Republicans said this is just an attempt to steal elections and a ploy to stop two measures opposed by unions from being on the June 2012 ballot.

One measure, a paycheck protection measure, would prevent unions from using members’ dues for political donations. The other measure, filed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the California Deficit Prevention Act, is a spending-limit measure. Both potentially would greatly affect state unions.

SB 202 is so wrong on so many levels,” Coupal wrote in a recent op-ed for the Orange County Register. “First, it mandates that, from now on, all citizen initiative measures appear only on November ballots. Until now, initiatives that qualified in time were placed on the June primary election ballot.

“Secondly, SB202 moves the vote on a constitutional requirement for a better state-government ‘rainy day fund’ from June 2012 to November 2014. This budget reform was part of the infamous budget deal that left Californians with $16 billion in higher taxes. The only reform Republicans got out of this lousy deal was this fig leaf of a budget reform — but it was better than nothing,” Coupal added.

Steve Maviglio

Democratic strategist Steve Maviglio doesn’t think that Republicans will lose the four legislative seats or hand over two-thirds majority to the Democrats. He said, “The fear of a spending spree is tempered by the fact that not all Democrats in the Legislature are one ideology.”

Maviglio said that the Latino and Black Caucuses are not in lockstep with the far left wing of the Democratic Party. “We’ll see more moderate candidates.”

Stephen Frank

“The Democrats will eat themselves up,” said Stephen Frank, Republican campaign consultant and strategist and publisher of California Political News & Views. “A majority would force them to reconsider their budget.” However, Frank said that if Democrats achieve a majority, more moderates will be elected.

But Frank is more concerned about the bills Democrats will be able to pass without opposition. “Every bill that comes out of the Legislature that spends money will have a Project Labor Agreement on it,” Frank said. “And we will see a more stringent use of AB 32 and SB 375.” AB 32 is the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. And SB 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, is a draconian law that will force Californians out of their cars and homes and into mass transit and high-rise apartments.

Coupal agreed with both Mavigio and Frank that Californians will see more moderate Democrats elected in the future. And Coupal agreed with Maviglio that Republicans will probably not lose remaining seats or the ability to block tax increases.

Republicans are not an afterthought in California, nor will they be any time soon.

Karen England

On social issues, Karen England with Capitol Resource Institute predicted that Democratic social strategies and social spending will become a little more obvious to the public. “Democrats may get credit, or get blamed for how far left the state swings,” England said.

“The recent gender bathroom bill would not have been pulled with a two-thirds majority by Democrats,” England explained. AB 266, by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, would have allowed for self-selection of gender by students. Beginning as early as elementary school, boys would have had access to the girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms and would have been allowed to play and compete on girls’ sports teams, and girls could have done the same with the boys’ facilities and teams.

The bill stated, “A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs, activities, and facilities, including athletic teams and competitions, consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”

“Do we really want girls going to the bathroom next our boys, and a boy going in our girls’ bathroom, whether it’s high school or first grade?” England asked. “This is ridiculous, and it’s just one example of the far left social agenda, which will only speed up the decline of California.”

“With power, the Democrats have shown they don’t really care about California,” England added. But after significant outcry, the bill was pulled from the legislative calendar before it could be heard.

“Right now the lines of demarcation are very bright, and good for fiscal conservatives,” said Coupal. “Passing taxes in the Legislature strengthens Republicans.”

Katy Grimes

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