(OPINION) – The California of Ronald Reagan, sadly, is no more. In its place is a state in decline thanks to one-party Democrat rule. On issue after issue, from crime to housing to taxes, Democrat policies have made California a worse place to live. The flip side of that is there is no shortage of issues for California Republicans to champion to become relevant again.
During the days of Governor Reagan and for years after, the term the Golden State was synonymous with California. Around the globe, California was the revered destination in the revered country of the United States. When I traveled internationally, if I said I was from California, eyes lit up.
While California remains blessed in many ways, long-time Californians know that the luster has come off the word Golden. Structural problems are now the norm and California lead the country in losing people to other states.
Along the way, California’s education system has suffered, taxes have risen, crime is on the rise and homelessness is proliferating. The state cannot deliver reliable energy or water to its citizens or its businesses and the state has pension and infrastructure deficits in the trillions.
Of course, that is the result of a one-party Democrat rule. The Sacramento Democrats have spent endlessly and recklessly and want to spend more. If socialism were on the ballot, they would have no problem supporting it.
So where are the California Republicans?
The answer is that they are not seizing the opportunities before them.
On issues from water, to homelessness, to electricity and now Corvid, dissatisfaction is palpably in the air. Voters not only want their freedom back; they want the basics of government services to work.
Until challenged, however, the Democrats in Sacramento will do precious little about that. So, the question is, how can Republicans challenge the Democrats?
The answer is by marrying strong principles with practical solutions and presenting them to voters.
Republicans should propose an alternative to the coming Democrat water restrictions. That Republican proposal should concentrate on increasing supply around the state in contrast to the Democrats plan to cut off demand. Voters of all stripes want that.
On energy, rather than a government takeover of PG & E, Republicans should press for market-based solutions that include a best practices commission from around the country to improve PG &E’s operations. All voters and businesses want reliable energy.
On spending, Republicans should use the mounting city, county and state deficits to propose out-sourcing non-essential services as an alternative to at least some of the higher tax demands to come.
On education, Republicans should push for school choice while parents are so very engaged in the day-to-day aspects of home-schooling their children.
Of course, on taxes, Republicans must hold the line on Prop 13.
Simply “being for those alternatives”, however, is not enough.
Voters are like consumers. If consumers do not know about your product, they are more than likely not going to buy it. The same holds true for political parties.
So, while Republicans are in the super-minority, they should spend that time out in the field talking to voters and offering them their alternatives. Good marketing can overcome just about anything while no marketing is a recipe for political irrelevance.
Ideas and voter contacts. It is that simple.
Given the times, voters hunger for solutions just as they did when Howard Jarvis came along. They want solutions presented to them much like Newt Gingrich did with the Contract for America.
The only question is, when on God’s green earth will California Republicans place these choices in the hands of voters and rely on the strategy of bold colors that Reagan used to become President and change the World?
By Thomas Del Beccaro
Tom Del Beccaro is the former Chairman of the California Republican Party, an author, speaker, Fox News, Fox Business, & Epoch Times opinion writer, and TV personality. Tom is author of the historical perspectives The Divided Era and The New Conservative Paradigm, 1st Ed. & 2Ed, and is publisher of PoliticalVanguard.com.