California’s November 2010 election results were seen by national pundits as a “firewall” that stemmed the tide of Republican victories sweeping across the country. Actually, this was a Republican disaster long in the making.
The main cause of the GOP’s defeat was the large increase in the immigrant population in the last 30 years. Voting always at about 70-percent Democratic, they finally registered in large enough numbers to make Republican victories harder than ever before, although not yet impossible.
Then there was general voter disgust at the current Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold was enthusiastically backed by the sellout Republican establishment for his 2006 reelection, even after he had switched in 2005 and adopted the policies of his Kennedy Democrat wife.
After his reelection, Arnold proceeded to rack up budget deficits that, as he leaves office this month, total $25 billion. A governor who had first been elected in the 2003 recall election on promises to “cut up the credit cards” and to “end the crazy deficit spending” had gone on the biggest state spending bender in American history—even as the overall American economy was plunging into the greatest recession since the Great Depression.
In the 2010 election, Republicans nominated another rich, inexperienced, clueless Republican, billionairess Meg Whitman. Her message: I’m rich and you’re not, so vote for me. She blew $140 million of her own money on the most inept campaign I’ve ever seen.
Her positions on the major issues—immigration, the budget, the state’s absurd anti-global-warming law (Assembly Bill 32)—changed weekly. It was obvious she was just a former eBay CEO bored with retirement.
She lost by 12 percentage points to former Gov. Jerry Brown, who ran a lean, smart campaign that reflected the fact that this was his sixth statewide political run. And Jerry’s trademarked Governor Moonbeam goofiness was seen as authenticity against Whitman’s Ice Queen persona.
The Whitman debacle weighed down the whole GOP ticket, with Democrats grabbing the six other state offices and Sen. Barbara Boxer easily winning reelection by beating another wealthy ex-businesswoman, Carly Fiorina. The latter’s campaign centered on branding Boxer as a leftist who helped wreck the economy and on Carly pledging fealty to the neocons’ imperial ambitions.
When Carly met with the editorial board of the Orange County Register, I asked her if the empire’s cost—$1.2 trillion per year on “defense,” if you include everything—didn’t have something to do with America’s economic problems. “That’s not why we have financial liabilities,” Fiorina replied. “Federal spending has escalated from 20 percent to 26 percent” of GDP. “It’s not an issue of the wars.”
Also getting wiped out on Election Day was Proposition 23, which would have suspended the AB 32 requirement that greenhouse-gas emissions in the state must be reduced by 25 percent by 2020. AB 32 works in tandem with Senate Bill 375, whose actual title is Stalinist: “Redesigning Communities to Reduce Greenhouse Gases Act.” Schwarzenegger, who drives a gas-guzzling Bentley, flies in private jets, and frolics in a huge compound in Pacific Palisades, has made these two bills the heart of his legacy, as he embarks on a post-gubernatorial global career as a promoter of draconian environmentalism.
AB 32 and SB 375 will destroy middle-class jobs in “old” industries like cement, which will have to be trucked in from more sensible states, such as Arizona—creating more pollution than is saved. Bankrolling the campaign to defend AB 32 were a constellation of the state’s high-tech billionaires: Andy Grove and Gordon Moore of Intel, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt of Google, and Bill Gates of Microsoft (who owns property near San Diego, in addition to his $100 million pleasure palace up in Washington state).
The design is to turn California into a green paradise for the superrich, with the middle-class driven out and an impoverished servant class—replenished by immigrants, legal and illegal—voting the right way and catered to by welfare programs. About 200,000 residents, mostly “Anglo” middle-class Republicans, are leaving each year for other states. They have finally had enough of the state’s endemic deficits, lack of jobs, greedy crony capitalists, high taxes, and increasingly polarized racial politics.
That number will likely increase. It’s the reverse of the 1930’s Dust Bowl Okie trek to California. It’s the California Exodus.
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