California dreamin’ of life without the GOP; are they really the problem?

THC ran across this sobering article about the role that the GOP plays in the governance of California.

As noted in the LA Times article below, lots of folks imagine that life would be better, and governance more effective, without the opposition involved. At a time when – particularly in California – hostility towards Republicans seems at an all time high, it’s easy to get caught up in wishing for their dissolution. (Which could be around the corner.)

But people disillusioned with the GOP, and people like THC who are disenfranchised with the dominance of the two-party system, should take heed of this opinion piece from Conor Friedersdorf in the LA Times:

Dreaming of life without the GOP? Welcome to California—where things are far from perfect

The article notes that, in addition to the many successes of California as a state, “We’re a case study in what a political community looks like when Republicans wield little or no power — and an ongoing refutation of the conceit that but for the GOP, the United States would be free of dysfunction.”

The article continues:

But California ranks in the lowest fifth of states in education. Housing costs are out of control. Our major cities face a crisis of homelessness. Our police officers kill citizens at rates comparable to the rest of the country. Our infrastructure is severely overstressed due to underinvestment. The bullet train project meant to connect L.A. to the Bay Area is a national joke. Our counties, cities and schools are being crushed by an unsustainable pension burden. Our taxes are already among the nation’s highest.

Food for thought, friends.

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15 Responses to California dreamin’ of life without the GOP; are they really the problem?

  1. Shak says:

    Without the opposition? LOL. There are only 5 reps out of the 53? districts that vote for liberty. Out of those 5, only 2 avg a score of over 70%. They are the scapegoats.


  2. “lots of folks imagine that life would be better, and governance more effective, without the opposition involved.”

    Really? Lots? Who exactly? Is there anyone you can name that would support this?

    …Lemme help…

    Life would be better with an opposition that has not divorced itself from a broader reality outside of a myopy that seems directed entirely to reducing public budgets with a side dish of deregulating and subsidizing private developers.

    The GOP is no longer a player in CA because of their own policies. They have been silent, or have moved to the Democratic Party to protect their interests and/or future as Republicans from the South, theocrats and plutocrats have ensconced themselves in what needs to be a party of the people.

    The lack of opposition in CA is not on mean Democrats that are working for one party rule. It’s Republicans and those who affiliate with the Republican creed to need to pull up their boot-straps and stand up for a government people can believe in.

    We get it. Pensions are going to collapse the budget. Well-funded fire departments are collapsing the budget. Housing would increase if we just OK more development where developers and property-owners would like to grow and be allowed to do it without burdensome fees. All of our governmental officials and staff either will not be mentioned (if liked) or are intellectually challenged when compared to the anonymous blogger and his anonymous commenters.

    But what about stuff those idiotic and sometimes sexy* environmentalists are talking about? What about sustainability? What about climate change? What about that stuff that that guy that garnered 70% of Democratic votes in Humboldt was talking about? Things like income inequality and joining the rest of the developed world and having health coverage for all?

    Maybe when Republicans, or even one of the last public conservative typers, in Humboldt start addressing broader issues that concern and benefit all of us instead of focusing their agenda on that which benefits either themselves or their constituents directly, in real time, THEY can manufacture a real and vital opposition party in California.

    Because, yes, one party rule does inherently lead to corruption (if not watched and addressed). But when the alternative supports a fundamental corruption or destruction of our public arenas, there really isn’t a choice for Californians who are paying attention.

    *If you don’t know what I’m referring to, you can review THC archives. It’s probably better not to even bring it up.


    • Thanks for checking in! One question. Just how well has your democratic monopoly worked out in California anyway? Rather than bashing why Republicans have lost elections could you tell us how democrats have succeeded in creating utopia with their total control of California? Is it evident in record homelessness? Housing (un)affordability? Jobs? Exactly how is the average taxpayer better off? You can twist it any way you want but the rest of know that we simply are not better off at all. On the other hand you personally, as a public employee have benefited quite a lot. Your pension costs are massive and breaking the backs of the rest of us, your unions are stronger than ever. Public employees are able to retire a decade sooner than the rest of us. Health care for working individuals is nonexistent and on and on.


      • Q: How are we doing? A: pretty good.

        Compare California under Democrats, to, say Kansas under Republicans.

        I am not a cheerleader for the status quo with Democrats. There are too many 10 percenters in the Democratic party to the 1 percenters in the Republicans. Nobody outside of Bernie Sanders is consistently fighting for the 90% in the world’s wealthiest country. (Read Listen Liberal by Thomas Frank for more.)

        Let’s take as an example Republican leadership on education. I did not know we ranked in the lowest fifth, that is unacceptable. (Humboldt is probably worse.) What do you think the Republican policy on education would be to improve this? Do you really think it’s goal would be to achieve higher standards, or would the goal be to defund a consistent opponent (teacher’s unions), and increase privatization to play to a) religious conservatives and b) free-market ideologues. Actual educational results are secondary to political objectives.

        What about housing? Isn’t it convenient that, as you so astutely put it, Republicans would generally subscribe to trickle down housing? Do you really believe for all the times you have written about affordable housing that this is your major concern and not the less-regulated expansion of development?

        Republicans in CA have the problem that the national Republicans have gone off the deep end. There is a racial animus that is so clear if you look at maps of elections from 1960 to 2000. The national Republican Party is largely about Confederate payback (along with other like-minded folks outside of the old Confederacy) to a federalized government – if you don’t believe me please Google “Lee Atwater quote” while skimming through Wikipedia’s summary maps of Presidential elections from 1960 to 2000. Did you see the Democratic South turn red? Did you know that that happened right after President Johnson, a Southern Democrat, signed the Civil Rights Act?

        The other obstacle that prevents Republicans from being a party of the people is folks like our own 0.1 percenter Rob Arkley is not going to let go of his power and influence. Good luck finding a voice of the people that can join with the wealthiest of the Republican donors. Humboldt Democrats work really hard to pay the rent, Republican’s receive rent in-kind from their land-lord Rob Arkley.

        California’s one party rule is not on the Democrats, we are doing are best to govern and Democrats and their platforms a clear choice for those paying attention. Republicans, on the other hand, are doing the best to ungovern, or to disassemble our common institutions and spaces at the behest of their highest donors using the sellable adage that they simply wish to allow more of us can make a small profit on the rest of us.


      • Now we understand. The reason behind all of California’s woes lies in mind control from Kansas Republicans and dead southern confederates. Oh yes, it’s also squarely on the backs of Rob Arkley and Lyndon Johnson.

        Thank you for the clarification. And here we thought we drank too much Mike’s Hard Lemonade.


      • Just Watchin says:

        Even when challenged to describe the calif. democrats successes, jonboy just can’t get away from bashing Republicans….


      • We knew better than to engage with a reasonable question but just couldn’t help ourselves. We do wonder if a myopic world view requires less grey matter than an open mind?


  3. I should have bought a Chevy says:

    Did you even read the article Jon? Here’s your clue that you can’t blame the GOP for:

    “Gov. Jerry Brown is defiant on environmental policy. Sheila Kuehl of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has encouraged people “to engage in any way they can to slow down anything that might come from the federal departments and Congress,” declaring that “you can’t just be dormant when fascism is growing.”

    When you decide to beat down any and all opposition in the name of “beating fascism” you have yourself become one.


    • Resistance to the corrupt and radical Trump administration is not “beating down any and all opposition”. I hope you can see the difference. Trump the candidate got his talking points from Michael Savage and Alex Jones. Even Rush Limbaugh couldn’t express full-throated support and Mark Levin was a vocal critic.

      Trump’s job is to destroy the administrative state. In other words to hamstring the very institutions he leads with the goal of privatizing a larger portion of the economy.

      Imagine for a second I suggested we hire a new CEO of a company you own to do her best to make the company fail. How does one not oppose or resist if one cares about governing and government.

      I’ll say it again. Not a single Democrat believes this…

      “lots of folks imagine that life would be better, and governance more effective, without the opposition involved.”

      If they do, and I do challenge you to find one that would agree with that statement, they are not a Democrat, but an autocrat.


      • I should have bought a Chevy says:

        Way to completely circumvent the question there, champ. There you go, back to the GOP bashing for no other reason than to be yet another keyboard warrior. Final time, what have the Dems done to create a utopia? We don’t need a NY newspaper to tell us. We can look right outside our windows in CA. I’m not seeing a whole lot other than massive taxation and regulation. But go ahead….keep defending that.


  4. “We can look right outside our windows in CA. I’m not seeing a whole lot other than massive taxation and regulation.”

    Question: What have the Dems done to create a utopia?”

    Answer: a) Utopias are imaginary in that they don’t exist. b) (context) I am not a cheerleader for the Democrats. I am a proud Democrat. I am an active Democrat. I am proud active Democrat that can tell anyone more about what is wrong about the Democratic Party than that which is right. This is because day-to-day activists are trying to improve that which they can. I have no influence what-so-ever in trying to reach Republicans other than living a solid life and being a keyboard warrior. c) In a nut-shell then, without having a ready list of bullet points that a marketer or a cheerleader for the Democrats who have to sell you “Democratic Governance” here is the answer from my perspective…Democrats do what they can to include externalities in policy decisions.

    That means that while the economy does well, while we have a reasonable, if not my choice, of budget deficit and debt we lead the nation and the world on things like trying to react proactively to climate change. We aim to treat strangers as guests not criminals. We work to cover more people with our first-class health coverage, not fewer. In short, Democrats work to include that which can’t or won’t be included in any test or financial bottom line because Democrats understand that to create a better future (ie as close to a utopia as you can get) you have to look for and include externalities in policy decisions.

    So please take down the massive poster of your 1040 that you taped to your window and look again at your garden and the surrounding Humboldt hills in the distance. That’s what Democrats do.

    If you want to talk about massive taxation specifically, you should post that tax form and let’s talk about what the proper tax rate should be for a modern, sustainable society that would like to maintain that beautiful world outside Humboldt resident’s windows.


  5. So again, lets look at this contention

    lots of folks imagine that life would be better, and governance more effective, without the opposition involved. At a time when – particularly in California – hostility towards Republicans seems at an all time high, it’s easy to get caught up in wishing for their dissolution.

    So, THC, if you are disenfranchised with the two-party system, what are you going to do. Democrats have a workable platform they can run on that isn’t perfect but leads to a satisfactory if not good economy while we work on balancing the budget (and doing other stuff blowhards might call externalities). All this while winning elections.

    Are you and your readers and Republicans not a part of this equation? Are Democrats preventing you from being able to discuss your ideas while hiding your identity from your readers, because being able to defend and/or promote your ideas publically would be an important first step towards creating the one or three or no or variable party system that seems to be your ultimate goal.

    Government means governing and in order to govern you have to be able to have an infrastructure of like-minded people who can agree on the policies that will be passed. In a democratic republic that also means you have to win elections.

    Democrats are doing this and the results, while not perfect, are, I hope you can admit, at the very least decent. Above is the CA vs US GDP since 1997 which includes the increase in our work-force. The GDP is up 12% and the work-force 7%. Both compare favorably to the US. That’s not bad, right? Do we agree that by that metric a Democratic-blue California has been a good thing, or is that success outside of Democratic governance? (Also, please focus on the “jobs” because that was on your list of metrics of how we are doing.)

    It isn’t hostility towards Republicans, it’s that the Republicans are hostile to governing and this is evidenced by writers like you who cannot see value in the Republicans as an opposition party when history is clear that despite your dreams of a third party or independent utopia we have a TWO PARTY SYSTEM that is based, not on any rules (outside of the Constitution), but that that is the competitive answer to winning elections. Get over it and go fix the opposition because we do need one to serve, as you put it, “the average taxpayer”.

    (Bring Back the Party of Lincoln | New York Times | Heather Cox Richardson | Sept 3, 2014)

    From the article Republicans…
    …under Lincoln…
    “Even as the Civil War raged, Republicans made good on their promise: They gave farmers their own land, created public colleges, funded a transcontinental railroad, took control of the national currency away from rich bankers, and ended slavery. To pay for their initiatives, they invented national taxes, including the income tax. The middle class grew, and the North and West, regions covered by the new programs, boomed.”

    …under Teddy Roosevelt…
    “They cleaned up the cities, promoted public education, protected workers and regulated business. Their policies fed a strong and growing middle class; their vision resurrected the Republican Party.”


  6. Apologies up front. This is a long one.

    Now we understand. The reason behind all of California’s woes lies in mind control from Kansas Republicans and dead southern confederates. Oh yes, it’s also squarely on the backs of Rob Arkley and Lyndon Johnson.

    What about evidence? What about history? Would these count to help change your mind, or is your mind made up?

    Here is Trump’s cabinet. (From wiki)

    Cabinet Members:
    Jeff Sessions R-GA
    Sonny Perdue GA (D up to 1998, R since)
    Alex Acosta R-FL
    Ben Carson R-FL (originally from MI)
    Rick Perry R-FL
    Rex Tillerson R-TX
    James Mattis Retired General WA
    Ryan Zinke R-MT
    Wilbur Ross R-FL
    Tom Price R-GA
    Eliane Chao R-KY
    Betsy Devos R-MI
    John Kelly (Retired General) VA

    Cabinet-level officials:
    Reince Priebus R-WI
    Dan Coats R-IN
    Mick Mulvaney SC
    Scott Pruitt R-OK
    Robe Lighthizer FL
    Nikki Haley R-SC
    Mike Pompeo R-KS
    Linda McMahon R-CT

    By my quick count this is 15 of 21 members from Southern states. Indiana has become as red as any Southern state and big $$ is crushing unions in WI and MI and has been trying to add these states to their guaranteed electoral college votes.

    Did you or any of your readers scroll through the wiki elections? The Republicans in the post-war era have taken it upon themselves to destroy the governing philosophy that helped create the creates middle-class the world had ever known (and to acknowledge a right-wing talking point, yes of course WWII helped to turn around the great depression as well). Therefore a good place to start is FDR’s last election 1944.,_1944

    Once in wiki, just click the next election year hyperlink in the upper-right hand corner of the infographic.
    (1944) FDR: Democratic landslide (FDR). Dewey wins some Mountain West and Midwest states.

    (1948) Strom Thurmond (once Democrat, ended up as Republican) as a Dixiecrat takes some Southern states from an otherwise convincing Democratic victory in the first post-FDR election. This is the first time we can see the separation of the Dixiecrats or Southern Democrats from the party we now know as Democrats.

    (1952) Dwight Eisenhower trounces Adlai Stevenson. Can you believe that most of the South voted for Stevenson, in today’s terminology a leftist, intellectual elite? Also, Eisenhower did not change the 90% TOP MARGINAL TAX RATE. He would later call out the MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX. I am not anti-Republican I am not anti-opposition, I wish for a day when Republicans can again govern for all of us. Eisenhower was one of these Republicans.

    (1956) Same candidates, same(ish) results.

    (1960) This is the first modern election with politics we can recognize today. It’s not a coincidence that this is the first election with a notable television debate. imho.
    South is still voting for Kennedy at this point, California Nixon.

    And to find out what happened going forward, I could not more highly recommend Rick Perlstein’s “Nixonland” which will take you to about 1972 if memory serves. The next book about Reagan calle “The Invisible Bridge:The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan” is also helpful. We still see third party influence in the South. With electoral votes for a ticket of Harry Byrd and Strom Thurmond.

    (1964) Ironically, the slaying of President Kennedy may have allowed a conservative Southern Democrat to first become President in a landslide then to sign federal reforms to the Jim Crow South. This wouldn’t have happened without the peaceful protesters led by MLK and others. This election sealed our destiny and even 2016 is a direct descendent of the politics of 1964. Republicans will do anything to ignore this. (I refer you to Dinesh D’souza’s telling of the right-wing alternate history to the one I’m outlining here, he called it Hillary’s America.)

    (1968) Nixon trounced Humphrey. Wallace runs as American Independent. (BTW, if any of you think you are registered as “Independent” you may be an “American Independent” which is different from “decline to state” or “no party preference”.

    (1972) Nixon trounces McGovern. BTW. McGovern was a left-leaning Democrat from whom later Democrats like Carter then Bill (and I’d argue Hillary) Clinton did their best to distance themselves. “We’re going to get those Republican votes by moving to the center baby”. Social liberalism, but we’ll let the wealthy and Republicans continue to decimate the middle class. Why not?

    (1976) Carter beats Ford in the wake of Watergate. This is not a Democratic win, but a Republican loss. This also affects modern politics greatly. Politicians realize they don’t need to only win, they can just make the other gal lose. Blue dresses, Benghazi, etc. The South, for the last time, is solidly Democratic. Jimmy Carter was a Southerner but not a Dixiecrat.

    (1980) The Southern Strategy. This has locked us into the depressing politics whose latest incarnation is Donald Trump who now says “Muslim, Muslim, Muslim and Mexican, Mexican, Mexican” (I mean at least until we have to bomb them, now he has to change his tune)

    “You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”” – Lee Atwater Reagan political adviser, 1981.

    Reagan wins all but Carter’s Georgia.

    Take note of the third party success of Independent John Anderson. There was none.

    (1984) All but Mondale’s Minnesota voted for Reagan. “sigh”. For what it’s worth, some great new-wave music came from this year. I guess kids like me should have been paying less attention to music and more to politics. Please learn from our mistakes kids and young voting adults!

    (1988) Bush in Reagan’s wake. Willie Horton and tanks helped. Solid Republican South.

    (1992) Clinton triangulates, winning, but dooming Democratic politics until Barack Obama could regain a liberal foothold in national Democratic politics. Clinton won his home state of Arkansas, 9 years later, Al Gore could no longer do the same because the South by that time was solidly Republican.

    Third party aficionados, how did Independent Ross Perot do? 18% of the vote, an amazing total, ZERO electoral votes. Good luck with that y’all.

    (1996) Ditto.

    (2000) Bush Jr moves from the Northeast to Texas. Good career move. Al Gore cannot win his home state of Tennessee which would have turned the election.

    (2004) Iraq war momentum

    (2008) Hope for change! It’s happening! A northern Democrat won.

    (2012) More hope for change.

    (2016) Muslim Muslim Muslim, Mexican Mexican Mexican. Hillary Clinton cannot win her former home state of Arkansas.


    There was a political revolution THC. No one talks about it in polite society because it is not considered polite.

    How does this affect California or Humboldt politics? It’s one of the reasons Republicans can’t win here. They cannot acknowledge it’s happening AND they are silent as other conservatives out-right lie about our history (Dinesh D’souza is but one example). It’s why conservatives in CA either contend that partisan politics or policies somehow end exactly at local elections or that they know former Democrats (John Fullerton 2016) or that they are Democrats (Supervisor Bass 2010, 2014, 2018).

    You wrote this
    “lots of folks imagine that life would be better, and governance more effective, without the opposition involved. At a time when – particularly in California – hostility towards Republicans seems at an all time high, it’s easy to get caught up in wishing for their dissolution.”

    I’ve produced my evidence that people aren’t hostile to Republicans, Republicans are hostile to governing a society of, for, and by ALL US, not just the wealthy, not just those with whom we either consciously or unconsciously identify. This is the society that derived from the Southern Democratic-run states before there was federal reform (big government) to fix this.

    I’ve answered your questions, I’ve outlined what I think and why, now can you produce one Democrat that wishes for one-party Democratic rule?

    “We do wonder if a myopic world view requires less grey matter than an open mind?”

    Myopic means a restricted field of view – think of a horse with blinders. It seems to me that to ignore where we’ve been is evidence of myopy. Yes, my mind is currently closed to a Republican at this point. It isn’t because my mind is closed, it is because it’s open AND I’ve done the research by paying attention. I understand the platforms of the two parties, I understand in our system there is and always will be two parties until the rules are changed, if things change, I’m paying attention and I look forward to evaluating those changes as they happen.

    Until then, we are ruled by the political philosophy of the descendants of Southern Democrats. This is clear both in the patterns of voting in our Presidential elections and in Trumps cabinet. A federal government led by 15 Southern Republicans and 0 Californians isn’t going to be very popular with Californians outside of dye-in-the-wool Republicans.

    The problem with California isn’t Democrats. California’s economy is doing alright and we can do better. The problem with California is our Republican friends and neighbors who have not been able to stand against the destructive political philosophy that most Californians, thank God, can see straight through.



  7. Just Watchin says:

    Just saw on the news that the Calif. legislature pushed through a 5.2 billion dollar gas and vehicle tax. Grab your wallets….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here is a perfect example of liberal governance vs conservative ungovernance (not a real word, but I think it should be one).

      As the rhetoric goes, JW you’d be fighting for a) your own lower excessive taxes or the b) the excessive lower taxes of those struggling middle (or even lower) economic class.

      But a) you live in Florida, right? so you don’t care about taxes for your own sake. b) how much are those taxes quantitatively going to affect the lower or middle classes? We need to know that to make these decisions. Who is it exactly you are talking about and what would their annual increase in taxes paid? Additionally for this argument you’d have to explain where else you would get the funds to fix a broken transportation infrastructure.

      Did you remember President Eisenhower? He was a Republican, he also spent money to create the amazing interstate highway system we have today. I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that at the time the top marginal tax rate was 90%. NINETY PERCENT! Today you are considered a socialist if you propose a top marginal tax rate of 38%.

      That’s your argument. The taxes are to damn high. There is nothing else and our roads are a perfect analogy for other externalities generally.

      How are we going to pay for our crumbling infrastructure? It’s a very conservative notion to conserve what we have, especially something as basic roads.

      Sadly it’s only Democrats who will step up to the plate and admit this. I a perfect world, both parties would be able to admit that we have a problem that needs fixing and we have to pay to fix these ourselves rather than waiting for someone else to fix our problems (like the federal government).


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