California GOP Denies Itself an Opportunity to be Relevant

On April 24 the California State Republican Party endorsed Brian Dahle as their candidate for governor. Dahle currently represents California’s 1st Senate District. His wife, Megan Dahle, currently represents California’s 1st Assembly District, and on April 22, Megan Dahle’s Assembly committee transferred $40,500 to the state party.

The timing of this transfer gave rise to allegations that Megan Dahle purchased the party’s endorsement for her husband, but this is just one of many controversies in a state party that has never been more divided or more impotent. As of April 8, 2022, the electorate’s share of Republicans voters in California, at 23.9 percent of registered voters, has never been lower. The decline has been unrelenting; from 34.9 percent in 2002 to 34.6 percent in 2006, to 30.1 percent in 2010, to 28.6 percent in 2014, to 25.3 percent in 2018.

The evidence for the impotence of California’s Republican party is reflected in every metric that matters. Their representation in California’s congressional delegation is 10 out of 53, which at 19 percent does not even reflect their voter registration. Similar underachievement plagues their showing in the state legislature: 19 out of 80 seats in the assembly, 9 out of 40 seats in the state senate. Of the eight higher state offices – Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Controller, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Insurance Commissioner – not one is held by a Republican. Every one of these office holders are Democrats.

The endorsement of […] Read More

Recall Gavin Effort Booms Despite Media Blackout

When the history of the 2020 election in California is written, the prevailing question will be why didn’t the California Republican Party take advantage of one of the biggest populist movements in modern history, the ongoing campaign to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. The period this recall effort has been allocated for signature gathering overlaps neatly with the peak political season, hence there is a tremendous opportunity for CAGOP to capitalize on its momentum.

It’s easy enough to understand why, despite gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures, and being on track to gather more signed petitions than any volunteer effort, ever, there is virtually zero media coverage. California’s establishment radio, press, and television networks are determined to ignore the Recall Gavin 2020 campaign for the same reasons the CAGOP ought to embrace – it is a rebellion that has attracted millions of disillusioned Californian voters and it has the potential to fundamentally transform the political landscape of the state.

For California’s media, this blackout is merely malpractice. Their partisan bias – expressed in how they frame issues, what issues they choose to cover, what facts they choose to emphasize over others, and their many sins of omission – is well established and comes as no surprise. In the case of CAGOP, their lack of support is, to be charitable, due to an excess of caution.

To appreciate the weight of the populist uprising sweeping California, the media, and CAGOP, might choose to attend the next large event organized by the […] Read More

A Bold Idea for California’s GOP

After attempting to energize the grassroots back in January with mass emails declaring “President Trump Needs Your Help!,” and “President Donald Trump vs. 45 CA Democrats,” and “Trump wants to fix California’s homeless problem,” and “Will the Impeachment Sham Ever End?,” this month the California State Republican Party’s emails have a new focus. Instead of defending President Trump, they are attacking Governor Newsom.

Unfortunately, in both cases, this appeal to the grassroots rings hollow. Despite 4.7 million Californians voting for Trump in 2016, and despite the president retaining overwhelming popularity among California’s registered Republicans, the CAGOP establishment knows better than to spread a pro-Trump message to California’s wider electorate. They launched a targeted endorsement of Trump to their base that was designed more to raise money than to convey any sort of sincere appreciation for Trump. It was a hollow gesture, and the base knew it was a hollow gesture.

What the CAGOP leadership did, acting like they support Trump while being terrified of saying so to a broader audience of Californians, might be forgiven as simply an acknowledgement of political reality. That’s debatable, of course, if you believe, as the GOP base obviously does, that Trump’s policies matter more than his personality, and that on policy, Trump has been right again and again. Why not proclaim that, if that’s true? Why not own it? But in any case, Newsom is a completely different story. The CAGOP attacks on Newsom don’t have to ring hollow.

What Gavin Newsom increasingly represents […] Read More

A Vision for California’s Visionless Republican Party

About a month ago, the California Republican Party apparently harvested my email address, because since then I’ve been the lucky recipient of an email avalanche from “CAGOP.” Now, almost daily, their messages turn up in my in-box with subject lines such as “Are you as tired of Gavin Newsom as we are?,” “Are YOU watching this impeachment sham, Edward?,” “Nancy Pelosi continues to drag on the impeachment SHAM,” “Will the impeachment sham ever end?,” and “Nancy Pelosi is Obstructing the Senate.”

A few weeks ago they sent a “Sustaining Membership Statement” in the mail, complete with a “Member ID” and “Member Code,” and a “2020 Election Year Sustaining Membership Renewal, Requested Contribution” of, get this, either $290, $435, $580, or “other.” Check a box. Enclose a check. Huh? I’ve never been a “sustaining member” of the CAGOP. And what’s with the odd amounts of money? Did a focus group indicate that putting weird amounts into a letter would get our attention?

The letter, like the emails, was filled with short, single sentence paragraphs, liberally sprinkled with words written in all capital letters, or underlined, or in bold fonts. Written in a style that would not challenge the average third grader, all of them were designed to throw red meat at knee jerk paleo conservatives, but offered nothing in the way of a policy agenda. We push buttons. You give money. Me Tarzan.

This is condescending, hypocritical garbage, coming from party leadership that is ran by consulting firms whose mission is […] Read More