Advice for California Republicans: Audacity! Audacity! Always Audacity!

John Seiler
Former Editorial Writer at the Orange County Register

If Donald Trump’s victory has taught Republicans across the land anything, it’s to follow Danton’s cry to the Assembly (the French one, not the one in Sacramento): Audacity! Audacity! Always Audacity!

Shut out of any statewide office and with less than 1/3 in each house of the Legislature, what do they have to lose?

The Bush-Dole-Bush-McCain-Romney sellouts on so many issues, of blending with the Democrats’ socialism, is over. California’s version is the Pete Wilson-Arnold Schwarzenegger-Meg Whitman sellouts, which wimpified the party in this state. That’s why Republicans keep losing.

Wilson, actually, is the exception that proves the rule. After winning the governorship in 1990, he wimped out and joined Democrats in raising taxes a then-record $7 billion. More taxes came in 1993. Down and seemingly out for his re-election in 1994, he grasped the Proposition 187 limitation in immigration and beat Kathleen Brown.

But…but…but…didn’t 187 turn off Hispanics and destroy Republicans’ reputations among them? Only because they whimpered and moaned, where audacity would have saved them. None other than farm-worker activist Cesar Chavez, who has a state holiday named after him, actually opposed immigration because the farm bosses brought in what he called “strikebreakers” to keep down wages and hurt the Hispanic farm workers already here.

As columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. wrote, “I’ve studied and written about Chavez and the United Farm Workers (UFW) union the labor leader co-founded for more than 20 years…. the historical record shows that Chavez was a fierce opponent of illegal immigration, and so it’s unlikely that he’d have looked favorably on a plan to legalize millions of illegal immigrants….

“I support comprehensive immigration reform. But it is absurd for anyone to invoke the name of Cesar Chavez to pass immigration reform. As I said, were he alive today, it’s a safe bet that Chavez would be an opponent of any legislation that gave illegal immigrants even a chance at legal status….

“When he pulled workers out of the field during a strike, the last thing he wanted was a crew of illegal immigrant workers showing up to do those jobs and take away his leverage. So Chavez decided to do something about it. According to numerous historical accounts, Chavez ordered union members to call the Immigration and Naturalization Service and report illegal immigrants who were working in the fields so that they could be deported.”

So, what’s needed is not only Trump Republicans, but Cesar Chavez Republicans.

On immigration, California Republicans should join Trump in building the border wall and other immigration restrictions – and cite Chavez as a hero! Doing so would bring Hispanics to their party. After all, it’s the Hispanics already here whose wages are depressed, and whose housing costs are increased, by the new arrivals. Cesar Chavez was right.

Housing is another area Republicans could use to win Hispanic votes. The Democrats hate building new homes because it supposedly hurts the “environment.” To be fair, many Republicans also are NIMBYS, who oppose new construction because it slows home-price growth. But Republicans should embrace the old middle-class ideal of affordable housing – not through government subsidies, but through ending zoning restrictions.

Houston should be the model the model. Guess what? It’s 37% Hispanic, about the same as the California percentage. That should be the GOP message: Houston-style homes for Hispanics!

As a start, Republicans, should make total war against the Soviet-style California Coastal Commission.

The GOP also should join Trump on his other issues: Become Trump Republicans.

They should back ending the stupid foreign wars, cutting taxes massively, cutting bureaucracy and waste, redoing NAFTA and other trade deals, rebuilding the infrastructure (instead of wasting the road money on lavish public-employee pensions and a dumb choo-choo train, as in California), reforming welfare, ending pointless “environmental” restrictions, etc.

In particular, California Republicans should become the party of bringing good manufacturing jobs back to the state. That means reforming, and weakening CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act, repealing AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, ending cap-and-trade and burying the high-speed rail disaster in the desert.

Manufacturing jobs are high-paying, middle-class jobs Hispanics and other recent immigrants would love to have. Along with affordable housing, hy not make increasing manufacturing jobs the focus of Republican appeals to them?

Now is the time for an all-out Trump-style attack on Democrats in the 2018 elections. By then, Trump’s great economic program will be creating vast new jobs across the country, reviving our industries. It will be popular everywhere, including in California.

Even if Republicans follow this plan and lose, at least they will go down fighting. And it’ll be a lot more fun than trying to be slightly-lower-tax Democrats.

Audacity! Audacity! Always Audacity!

John Seiler was an editorial writer, columnist and editor at The Orange County Register for 29 years. His email: [email protected]

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