Is there Any Hope for CA Republicans?

John Seiler
John Seiler, an editorial writer with The Orange County Register for 19 years, is a reporter and analyst for CalWatchDog.com.

Last week I riffed on a column by Tony Quinn on Republicans, immigration and California, “Are Republicans Finally Learning to Count?” In turn, Quinn has responded to me:

“He argues that even if they do so Latinos will not vote for them, and to support immigration ‘amnesty’ will rile up the Republican base.

“He may be right; I have great doubts that the Republican Party can survive at all; we may be one election way from the total disappearance of the Republican Party and American politics becoming a contest between the Obama Democrats and the Clinton Democrats.”

Then Quinn has some great lines line:

To see this future, Mr. Seiler needs only look at his own county, Orange County, once the heartland of the Reagan Revolution, where Republicans are just fading away.  And if he wants to find the Republican base, he need only visit the nearest cemetery; that’s where his Republican base is; all that is left of the once mighty Reagan Revolution is elderly white voters nostalgic for a picket fence world of the 1950s that is never coming back.

Right. The people all the streets were named after mostly now are six-feet under. Or they already moved to other states. The 1990s saw a great exodus of hundreds of thousands of Republicans.

Quinn continues:

“For 15 years the Labour Party in Britain suffered defeat upon defeat because its base of old industrial workers was dying out.  In 1997, Tony Blair invented ‘New Labour’ to broaden the party beyond its industrial base, and Labour won the next three elections.”

There were some other factors that might not apply here. New Labour junked the party’s worst socialist policies, especially the nationalization of industries, something never much of a factor in America. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, socialism was completely discredited (except in U.S. and European university humanities departments).

So Blair, like Bill Clinton, could “triangulate” — that is, make deals with big business and keep taxes relatively low. There was no-return to the pre-Thatcher 98 percent top income tax rate; much as Clinton raised the top income tax rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, but not to the pre-Reagan 70 percent.

Another factor was that the British Conservative Party didn’t function well after they stupidly dumped Margaret Thatcher in 1990 in favor of the John Major, a “wet” Tory (British for RINO — Republican in Name Only).

Three parties

There’s a further lesson. Although the Tories took over the PM’s post under David Cameron in 2010, they won only 36 percent of the vote. Britain’s system encourages third parties; and Cameron had to form a coalition with Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democratic Party. By contrast, America’s electoral system for president marginalizes third parties because finishing third usually means zero votes in the Electoral College. Also, U.S. election laws make it difficult to register third parties in all 50 states.

In any case, except for slightly reducing taxes, Cameron has policies nearly identical to those of Blair and Gordon Brown, who succeeded Blair. Much as it was hard to discern any real differences between President Obama and Mitt Romney. If you doubt me, go back and watch their Third Debate (assuming you are a masochist).

Likewise in California, it’s hard to see a GOP candidate being offered up whose policies are much different from Jerry Brown’s, except favoring tax cuts. Meg Whitman was much like him. So was Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The big issue nationally, in California and locally will be the implosion of the welfare state because it just can’t be sustained. At the national level, the federal government now has run up $222 trillion in unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, military pensions, federal pensions, etc. That’s more than $700,000 per person; more than $2.4 million for a family of four. There’s no way that money will be paid. Tax increases would only make matters worse; and even at 100 percent of income, wouldn’t raise enough.

Meanwhile, China, India, Germany, Japan and other countries keep competing with us in the global marketplace. For us to keep up, taxes and regulations will have to be cut.

So government budgets will be cut massively at all levels over the next decade. It really doesn’t matter who does the cutting, whether Republicans or Democrats.

As the Beach Boys sang 50 years ago: “She’ll have fun, fun, fun, till her daddy takes the T-Bird away.”

Crossposted on CalWatchDog

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