The Republican Party is hurting; in California we have not had a winning year since 1994 while the national party has had two major losses in 2006 and 2008. I hear the message that the party should not change, eventually people will come back home to the Republican Party. Unfortunately demographics are changing and we have to come home to reality.
There is no silver bullet towards victory for us as a party. Supporting initiatives such as Proposition 4 and Proposition 8 (waiting period for abortion and limiting marriage to straight Californians) may bring our base to the polls, but even with our base alone we do not have the voters to succeed on other issues. Latino and African American voters voted for Proposition 8, but they also voted for President Obama. Demographics are changing, although voters in the Latino and African American communities may hold social conservative views, they are not traditionally conservative on economics and will not easily flock to our party.
We cannot wait for a golden moment for us to succeed as a party, Sacramento is burning and we must bring forth a new collation so we can take back California. Many of us thought Governor Schwarzenegger was our key to returning back to prominence in fixing our broken state. However our governor unfortunately made our state more broken and governs more like a Democrat and makes us wish for the days of Gray Davis.
Even if we used the same technology as President Obama to use in our next campaign cycle, it will do little in the long run because voters did not exactly like our message. We must be the party of the future, our voters are dying off and the Democratic Party has taken away the youth. We need to be fiscally responsible and socially inclusive. If we cannot do both then we will fail as a political party.
Counties in California are showing the results of a dogmatic political party where in the Bay Area we are basically irrelevant as the third choice in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, and Decline to State is even popular in San Bernardino and Riverside counties with over seventeen percent of the people declining to state their affiliation. The two issues aside from our inconsistent economic policy that is driving people away, is our relationship with the Latinos and the gays.
Our fixation with illegal immigration may be justified because of the implicit costs with dealing with their utilization of public services, but we have to explain to the people of our great state that we are not here to single out a population. We are here to make sure that all of us who wanted to immigrate to our nation do it the right way no matter if you are British, Mexican or Iraqi. We are known as the political party for being for what we are against, but we should advocate for what we support. The campaign for Proposition 187 was our response to our frustration in 1994 about illegal immigration, but it was interpreted as an attempt towards a Southern Strategy which distanced us from the Latino communities. Making collations with minority communities is indeed helpful, where leading activists say we should connect with these individuals because of their social conservative values. However it is proven that these individuals will walk away from us because of economic concerns because it is perceived that the Democratic Party stands for the working man, even if the Democratic legislator we are challenging is liberal on social issues.
The Republican Party needs to have an open door towards the gay and lesbian communities. Due to the social conservative takeover in the 1980s the answer in the party was to treat the thousands in that community as a menace since the threat of communism was over, preachers wanted a bogyman to make money with. Unfortunately many Californians have seen through the fallacies and realize that these people are just like the rest of us. Young adults are growing increasingly comfortable with their gay and lesbian friends and are even supporting of marriage equality. I see the irrelevance when I see the legislators in our party voting against bills to protect students from bullying and harassment, employment non discrimination and the expansion of public accommodation laws.
I can understand the reluctance of Republican legislators to oppose marriage equality. However the opposition on the non-marriage civil rights bills, shows that the argument that the party could care less about these individuals. A majority believes that marriage should be left alone, but it is perceived that our party would like to see the police raids, the dismissals of employment, the right to refuse service in business and the right for Jimmy to steer the queer at the school yard.
Our party cannot afford to be seen as anti-gay, I bet Gary Jeardon in Palm Springs is probably wondering why he is not State Assemblyman in his failed campaign for the 80th State Assembly District. Gary Jeardon ran in one of the Assembly Districts with a high propensity of gay voters and turned against them during his failed campaign. Unfortunately for many of the Assembly Districts simply running as the candidate against gay and lesbian Californians will not gain dividends like it used to. Over time people are evolving to the position that same sex couples deserve recognition, and gay and lesbian people are equal and will become the majority view.
Voters are not for or against us because of social issues, it’s the economics stupid. People are not mad at Arnold for his social liberal views, people are mad at our governor for not holding the line on spending, increasing taxes and going against his word during his 2003 and 2006 campaigns doing what he ridiculed former State Treasurer Phil Angelides for advocating tax increases.
When our political party lets the social conservatives dominate the party or go against our economic principles we will face defeat. If we want to reach out to the young voters, suburbanites and independents we must think outside the box. We must become the party of the future after our political party is going through a period of identity. There is room for religious conservatives and social moderates in our Republican Party, where we can coexist to succeed. When only 31 percent of the nation is behind our party, there is only the need to expand our base to be the party of inclusion.