California Needs a Campaign Manager

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

California has more than enough candidates in the presidential race—Kamala Harris, Tom Steyer, Marianne Williamson. But the state lacks a campaign for itself.

And it will need it. President Trump and the Republicans often seem to be campaigning less against any Democratic presidential contender than against the state itself. Yes, most Trumpian attacks on the state are outright lies, but if the lies aren’t countered, they could stick.

California needs a rapid-response team—to defend itself and its people.

Yes, Gov. Newsom and his staff answer some of Trump’s blasts, but they have an actual state to run, so they can’t do it full-time. Attorney General Xavier Becerra provides legal defense, but he has other duties.

I’d love to see a bipartisan campaign team come together and make California, and its reputation, its only client. They’d set up a war room, answer every attack on the state, and take national media to task for repeating falsehoods about the Golden State.

Finding money to fund this wouldn’t be impossible – it feels like an IE. And it could be a way for new political consultants to raise their profile, or old warhorses to stay in the game.

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