CA GOP looks ahead to broaden base

CA GOP looks ahead to broaden base

California Republican Party buttonAnalysts expected it, but it hurt all the same. The gains in the California Legislature were welcome. But in state-level races, California Republicans did not enjoy the same tidal-wave election results as their fellow party faithful across the country.

For decades at the national level, moderate, centrist and liberal Republicans have urged the GOP to pivot leftward on social issues in order to broaden the size of the party’s base. But in California, that strategy has long been baked into the cake of the political establishment’s culture — and it hasn’t turned back the Democratic tide.

That’s why California Republicans have begun to look even more closely at social issues amid this year’s disappointing — but not crushing — elections. To begin with, the limits of liberalizing have become apparent even among Democrats.

Nationwide, Democrats were widely judged to have badly miscalculated that identity politics would suffice to drive voter enthusiasm and win close contests. Party elites and opinion-makers have begun to argue that Democrats must focus on an economic message over a culture one.

For California Republicans, two takeaways have emerged. First, a further turn to the left on social issues may not translate into more votes. Second, a tilt back to the right probably won’t do much either.

Importantly, while the substance of identity politics failed Democrats, the symbolism also foundered. Wendy Davis’s strongly gendered campaign for Texas governor was a painful flop even by the low standards of this year’s elections. She lost to Republican Greg Abbott, 59-39. That was even worse than Republican Neel Kashkari’s 59-41 loss to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown here in California.

A Washington Post post-mortem was headlined, “Wendy Davis’ campaign was even worse than you thought.” It reported on an internal campaign memo which warned way back in January of a “lurch to the left. … There is not a model where a candidate who appears this liberal and culturally out of touch gets elected statewide anywhere in the south — much less in Texas.”

Unsuccessful candidacies

In one notable instance, a California Republican whose identity implicated social issues lost — but not for that reason. After a high-profile and costly race, Carl DeMaio had to concede defeat to incumbent Rep. Scott Peters in their fight for the state’s 52 Congressional District.

As U-T San Diego reported, “DeMaio positioned himself as a ‘new generation Republican,’ potentially breaking new ground as a gay Republican in Congress. Peters ran on his bipartisan record and had substantial support from the business community.”

Two years ago, DeMaio, a former San Diego councilman who helped push pension reform, lost another close election for mayor to Democrat Bob Filner, who later was forced to resign due to personal scandals.

Although it has never been easy to unseat an incumbent in a state where the dominant party has a strong advantage, DeMaio’s experience paralleled that of a second gay Republican candidate. Richard Tisei, running for the 6th District in Massachusetts, lost out to Seth Moulton, a Marine veteran of the Iraq War who had defeated incumbent Democrat Rep. John Tierney during the district’s primary race.

In Tisei’s case as well as DeMaio’s, voters in a deep-blue state didn’t jump at the chance to vote for a credible, competent and openly gay Republican.

But in DeMaio’s case, importantly, the margin of defeat was very narrow, indicating that few Republican voters were deterred by the political implications of DeMaio’s sexual orientiation.

Although allegations of sexual misconduct by DeMaio toward staffers did cloud the campaign waters in the home stretch, Gregory Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, told the Atlantic magazine that he didn’t believe anti-gay attitudes caused DeMaio to fall short.

Pot issue

At the same time, at least one social issue — the legal status of marijuana — continued its movement toward the mainstream in a way that Republicans could capitalize on.

In recent remarks before members of the press, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said his view from the Golden State counseled a liberalized, and pro-liberty, attitude toward pot. For more than two decades representing coastal Orange County, one of America’s most conservative areas, he just won-reelection, 64-36.

“The members of the Republican Party just should become more practical if nothing else,” he said. “The American people are shifting on this issue.” He warned the change would “make a difference in the election of some very close races.”


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  1. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 14 November, 2014, 16:38

    The best way for a doomed Republican to broaden is regularily chowing on popcorn shrimp and
    Southern Redneck Comfort on the rocks at the Balboa Bay Club or the Ritz Carlton.

    Reply this comment
    • Kate
      Kate 15 November, 2014, 13:44

      Ulysses….are you referring to the Lefy’s that banned gay marriage in Cal, 2008? or Voted NO, to legalize marijuana in Cal? we live in a very complicated State….They don’t call us the land of fruits & nuts for nothing! it was quite disappointing,however not surprising, to find a field poll, showed, close to 40% of Cal voters had no idea there was a governors race-

      Reply this comment
  2. Donkey
    Donkey 14 November, 2014, 20:39

    The dumbing down of Americans is what has given rise to the Demonrats in California. It is not possible to increase the IQ of the current state residents, hence this state is doomed to regress to the LCD. Other states are in better positions to move ahead, and will stay Repukes.

    Ahaul is spouting off more RAGWUS dementia. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  3. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 14 November, 2014, 23:24

    I am asking you good people not to get sucked in and fall into the trap of dividing the Republicans and Democrats into teams of ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’. Numerous examples show that we live under a one-party system that has successfully divided and conquered you. They played you and fooled you into believe that one party is good and one is bad. Nothing is farther from the truth. Both suck! Both parties have successfully finagled a way (mostly through financing)to eliminate any chance of a third party politician gaining access to a legislative chair in Sacramento. You see, if third party candidates were elected to office the secret society between the dems and the pubs would crumble. That is essentially why you have NEVER seen a third party candidate succeed. The system has been rigged to make their success an impossibility!!! So smarten up. Don’t fight among yourselves! By doing so you are perpetuating corruption and a rigged political system. All of you should FAVOR an open and transparent system that allows REGULAR CALIFORNIA AND AMERICANS who don’t have to sell their souls to the Republican or Democrat parties to govern our State!!! I remind you of 2009 when the REPUBLICAN PARTY LEADERS selected SIX fallguy Republican legislators to take the fall by voting for higher taxes with the dems. Those SIX votes were ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to pass those higher taxes. And former Republican Assemblyman Anthony Adams was one of those fallguys who explained how the system worked on national radio (NPR). He was selected to vote ‘YES’ on the new taxes. Then he was given a high-paying commission job in Sacramento. He was one of the participants and let the cat out of the bag!!! THEY ALL WORK TOGETHER TO SCREW YOU!!! So stop being fools by playing into their rigged games!!! THEY LAUGH AT YOU!!!! 😉

    Reply this comment
  4. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 15 November, 2014, 00:16

    Perfect. The doomer twins with conspiracies galore….alarming distortions and negativity.

    Thread readers: Be careful of what you read. This is a community service warning.

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 15 November, 2014, 00:39

      No conspiracy, fool. FACTS! Refer to my reference of the 2009 tax hike, you brainstem!!! A perfect example of complicit collusion among the ruling class parties!!! HAH! Obviously, you’re a status quo guy who likes to bend over and take it like a good obedient taxpayer!!! HAH!!! 😀

      Reply this comment
  5. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 15 November, 2014, 08:42

    Teddy…he is unraveling. Bursting his little white coat. Be patient with him he know no what he doo doo!

    Reply this comment
  6. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 15 November, 2014, 09:52

    See, folks. All they have are insults. Nothing of substance. They can’t refute my claims because all of them are TRUE! And then they call for the ones who tell the truth to be censored and banned!!! HAH! All brainstems!!! HAH! Those who make it a habit to insult other poster and add nothing of value to our news discussions are the ones who should be banned from CWD. Not the ones who actually add information of value!!! 😀

    Reply this comment
  7. Liz
    Liz 15 November, 2014, 13:09

    Until we can validate voters we are doomed. We need to do a recount on the last election illegals voted in Brown and Pelosi. Brown didn’t even campaign he was sure he was going to win. The question is, if he is allowed to get away with it what laws do we have in place to protect the citizens vote? At this time there is none. LEGAL citizens didn’t vote for Brown or Pelosi the recount would cost upwards of $200,000 I would think that would be the best investment the republicans could make.

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 16 November, 2014, 00:02

      Liz, as long as we have a one-party political system it really doesn’t matter who votes. As long as 3rd party candidates are eliminated from any chance of winning an elected seat the electoral system is a farce. The democrats and the republicans play on the same team and only wear different colored jerseys to fool you. The examples proving this are widespread and numerous. Let’s all wise up. Our role is to pay taxes. Calling our congressmen or voting is pretty much a waste of time the way the system is currently operated. They run roughshod over us. Remember this, Liz…’s not those who vote that have the power. No. It’s the ones who COUNT the votes that really matter. If they can listen to your phone calls and read your emails without your knowledge (w/o a warrant or you consent) you don’t think they can manipulate the vote counts? Come on. 😉

      Reply this comment
  8. Gregory Brittain
    Gregory Brittain 15 November, 2014, 17:19

    Nationally, > 50% of the Rep votes came from conservative Christians.

    Do the Reps really want to walk away from shun > 1/2 of their voters?

    Reply this comment
  9. Ulusses Uhaul
    Ulusses Uhaul 17 November, 2014, 09:59

    Liz…his little white coat is too tight……ignore him…..insane.

    Reply this comment

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Carl DeMaioDana RohrabachermarijuanaJames Poulos

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