Yes, California Can Be Saved. Here's How.

Whenever some new horror story about what's happening in California appears, the standard (non-Californian) conservative commentary goes something like this:

Well, who cares? It's stupid California. They get what they deserve. They keep voting for those liberals, they vote to keep tax increases and ban plastic bags. Let the state fail - or better yet, kick them out of the country. Who needs 'em?

There are so many problems with that thought process. Leaving out the problems with the underlying assumptions, why would we simply cede an entire state to a group of people who seemingly want to destroy our way of life? We're in another Cold War, this time with socialists in our own country. Giving up this territory is a massive win for the wrong team.

So, let's deal with the assumptions that California is liberal and its residents are idiots who keep voting for failure and bad candidates.

Is California really that liberal? Looking at a county-by-county map of the 2016 presidential election, the state is hardly a sea of blue.

Looking at a precinct-by-precinct breakdown of those election results, even more red is visible.

Clearly there are a lot of conservatives in California, but some of them are latent (more on that later). Why do Californians elect so many Democrats? It's important to understand that with the state's top-two primary system there are a number of races in which the ONLY choices are Democrats. In the 2018 election, in four statewide offices the only options were Democrats:

  • US Senate
  • Lt. Governor
  • Insurance Commissioner
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction

And ballot initiatives, such as the failed gas tax repeal and the failed plastic bag ban repeal, are worded in such a way that yes means no and no means yes. Seriously.

Issues with ballot harvesting and voter fraud must be dealt with. RedState's Miranda Morales covered an extremely shady ballot harvesting practice in a congressional district that flipped from red to blue in 2018. Multiple GOP congressional candidates have shared information with RedState (which is still being investigated) about voters whose vote-by-mail ballots were stolen and voted, and who were not then allowed to cast even a provisional vote. Lastly, the state's Republican party has essentially been demolished from the inside. Blogger Aaron Park properly named its rulers the "Oligarchy of Controlled Failure" detailing the inside job on his website, and RedState has covered massive fundraising issues with the Los Angeles County Republican Party. The bottom line question, and one for which there's not a great answer, is, "Why do Californians put up with such a crappy government?"

Writing at Fox News, Jim Breslo used the failure of a legendary beachfront restaurant as an analogy for what's happened in California and why its residents haven't revolted, and he's spot-on.

A few blocks from my home is the iconic Gladstone’s restaurant. It sits on the sand where the famed Sunset Boulevard meets the ocean in Los Angeles.

The restaurant’s setting could not be more ideal. Its huge patio sits almost on top of the Pacific Ocean, providing unparalleled views from Catalina Island to Point Dume up the Malibu coast. In the 1980s, it became famous for its sunsets, peanut shells on the floor, and enormous portions that required guests to have the leftovers wrapped with tinfoil shaped into whales or swans. The food was expensive and not great, but it did not need to be because of the location. It grew to become the highest-grossing restaurant in the state despite its shortcomings.

As patrons continued to flock to the restaurant for its beautiful views, the quality of food and service slipped over time while prices remained high. Eventually, people took notice, and business diminished. Now, after 40 years in business, the restaurant is expected to close soon, and L.A. County is seeking new management for the famed location.

Gladstone's is a microcosm of the state of California. The location of the state could not be better. Ocean, beaches, mountains, desert, and beautiful weather. But its great location has masked major mismanagement. The sunsets are still beautiful at Gladstone's. But I hope for new management. Not only because I want better food, but because it will show the state’s residents that you can have a great location and great service if you are just willing to make a change.

The man has a point. If California's weather was closer to that of New York or Ohio (not casting any shade at those lovely states; just sayin'), the residents would have revolted by now. But, how can that new management possibly come about?

First, the problem of corruption must be addressed. It's no secret that public unions rule the legislative process in this state. They're even funding the redecorating of the Lieutenant Governor's office, using money confiscated from the state's lowest-paid workers. De-funding the unions through an "Uncheck the Box" campaign aimed informing union workers that they can opt out of union dues (opt-outs made possible by the Janus decision) should be a top priority for activist groups in the state. De-funding the unions will have a positive domino effect on everything in California.

Corruption in the regulatory process at the state and local levels is rampant and an open secret. Lately the Los Angeles Times has done a great job of investigating the problems with homelessness and trash piles, but their investigations stop short of fully placing blame where it belongs. People who are truly fed up with the condition of our state need to put their money where their mouth is and fund true investigative reporting (because you know Silicon Valley won't be capitalizing any non-socialist journalistic startups).

Next, laws which prioritize criminals, homeless bums (as opposed to those who are homeless because of mental illness), and illegal immigrants over the state's children and families must be revised or abolished. Did you know that a homeless bum's shopping cart (which they stole from some business somewhere) is considered their "home" or "property" and cannot be taken away from them? Homeless people with true mental illness should be treated with the dignity they deserve (as Kurt Schlichter said on KABC today), and not left on the streets to fend for themselves.

The true causes of the third-world conditions in Los Angeles and San Francisco must be addressed. Some well-meaning laws or programs relating to homelessness are causing negative unintended consequences. In Los Angeles, some of the blame for the massive trash piles can be placed directly on City Hall - their RecycLA program resulted in massive increases in sanitation costs for businesses and missed pickups.

The state's ballot harvesting law must be amended. Currently anyone - without ID or training - can pick up a ballot from any voter and turn it in to elections officials. The harvester has to sign their name to the outside of the ballot, but there is no process for elections officials to verify that the person turning in the ballot is the person who signed the outside, or that the name they used is actually their real name. The process is ripe for fraud.

In the absence of the law's amendment (which is a bit of a stretch given that Democrats control the entire state government), activists must be prepared to combat fraud in the 2020 elections by volunteering at polling places and informing voters about the potential for fraud.

People throughout the state must be informed about the true causes of the increased crime and cost of living in the state, so they can hold leaders accountable.

Conservatives have to reach out to minority populations to emphasize the topics on which they agree - no one wants their child tripping over hypodermic needles and running from rats on the way to school. None of us want to pay ever-increasing regressive taxes (like the gas tax), and we all want criminals to be where they belong - behind bars.

A massive get-out-the-vote and ballot harvesting campaign needs to be funded in the state in 2020 to turn out the latent conservative-leaning vote referenced above. An in-depth look at the voting habits of Republican and No Party Preference voters in the state published in a confidential white paper in 2018 revealed that had just a portion of the state's conservative "sometime" voters (those who vote in 2 or 3 of every 5 general elections) turned out in 2014, seven of the Congressional districts that went Democrat would have gone Republican. Those voters aren't traditionally courted - which is a huge mistake, because those are the voters who turn out when they feel needed or feel a connection to a candidate.

Lastly, we need normal Californians to run for office at all levels - school board, city council, county supervisor in addition to Assembly, Senate, and Congress. Did you know that there are some congressional districts in which the Democrat doesn't have an opponent? Every seat should be challenged and the entrenched interests kicked out. Unfortunately, there is no grassroots activist infrastructure left in the state on the conservative side; that will have to be rebuilt so it can effectively help new candidates.

It will be a long, tough road, but by standing up and standing together we can Save California. I hope you'll stand with me and donate today.

Jennifer Van Laar is Deputy Managing Editor of RedState and Executive Director of Save California PAC. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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