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California to GOP: Drop dead

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The Republican Party is dead in California, thank goodness. Prior to last November’s election, Republicans had only 14 Congressional representatives in the state, out of a total of 53. Now, after the election, they hold only seven.

So loathed are Republicans in California that elected GOP officials are changing their party affiliation to Democrat. In the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, which stretches from Wine Country in the north to Silicon Valley, and from the shoreline inland to the suburbs, there isn’t a single Republican remaining in office. That’s 7,000,000 people who have decided that the Republican Party is anathema.

Yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle had a front-page story on one Republican politician who was fired by her constituents in November, despite the fact that she’s pro-choice, pro-same sex marriage, pro-DACA, pro-gun control and pro-climate change research and legislation. Catharine Baker represented a bedroom community just east of Oakland and Berkeley. She sat in the State Assembly (where Democrats now enjoy a “giga-majority,” meaning they have more than a two-thirds supermajority). In the Chronicle article, Baker was honest about her party’s status in the nation’s most populous state. Supporting Trump “is a path to death for the Republican Party,” she declared; if Republicans can’t figure out a way to deal with Trump, “we are done for in California.”

But, of course, the Republican Party cannot figure out a way to deal with Trump; they are “done for in California,” at least for the foreseeable future. And as America becomes increasingly non-white, non-Christian, non-rural and younger, the Republican Party may well be “done for” throughout the country.

Republicans seem not to understand the dire peril they’re in. You have an extreme rightwinger like Travis Allen, who represented a conservative Orange County district in the Assembly until he dropped out in order to run for Governor last year. Allen, who never had a chance although he thought he did, finished a dismal fourth (Lieutenant-Governor Gavin Newsom won), exemplifies everything Californians hate about Republicans. He’s anti-same sex marriage, anti-choice, believes climate change is “absolute nonsense,” anti-immigrant, and is a “Second Amendment” nationalist. Like most Republicans, he’s a paranoid: He opposes full-day kindergarten,” the Chronicle reported last year, “in part to keep children from being ‘indoctrinated’ by liberal curricula.”

He has the backing of the Tea Party (or what’s left of it) and is a fierce defender of Donald Trump. His Twitter feed, last time I checked, was filled with the usual white nationalist rants against Democrats; I’d cite some here, except that I’m blocked. His current goal is to become Chairman of the California Republican Party under a “Take Back California” banner —a seemingly impossible task, if by “take back” he means to swing California into a red state.

What the Travis Allens of California and the rest of the country don’t understand is how out-of-step they are with America. He may well win his campaign to become Chairman Allen, but only because so many Californians have deserted the Republican Party that the only people still in it are as white nationalist-extremist as Allen.

People hate the Republican Party not because we’re Democrats, or liberals, much less “socialists.” It’s because we look at Republicans such as Travis Allen and see pure, unadulterated evil. Oh, I know it’s not fashionable to talk about “evil.” Nobody except religious fanatics believes in the Devil, or Hell; I certainly don’t. Those concepts are theological inventions, designed long ago to frighten people into submitting to the dictates of priests.

But “evil” certainly exists in the hearts of some people. You see “evil” when white males assault a gay man like Jussie Smollett. You see evil when the arch-propagandist, Laura Ingraham, her “lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification,” cynically declares that people wearing MAGA hats show “true tolerance, kindness and inclusiveness.” This is a deliberate lie. ABC News “identified at least 17 criminal cases where Trump’s name was invoked in direct connection with violent acts, threats of violence or allegations of assault,” with the perpetrators “mostly white men.”

Does Ingraham really believe the crap she peddles? It doesn’t really matter, because the low-education people she preaches to at Fox “News” believe it, whether she does or not. She’s an authority figure; she has Trump’s ear, and so when she assures them that if they wear their MAGA hats and then go out and call a gay person a “fag,” or call a Black person a “nigger,” or tell a person with a foreign accent to “go back to your country,” they’re actually expressing “tolerance, kindness and inclusiveness.” If you point out to them that insulting people with racial, ethnic or homophobic slurs is hateful rather than loving, you get accused of spreading “fake news” and being a “snowflake.”

I’ll tell you where the battle line is now being drawn: white men under the age of 30. They’re going to have to choose which side to be on: the side of their fathers and uncles, who support Trump, or the side of fairness, decency, inclusion and diversity. It’s not easy supporting diversity. It means you have to live side-by-side with humans who don’t look like you, or embrace your beliefs, or whose cultural practices seem strange. Tolerance is a big word, but being tolerant is even bigger: it’s a live-and-let-live philosophy that allows every non-violent American the right to live, marry and associate with whomever he or she chooses.

This is what the modern Republican Party cannot endure. It’s what most Americans yearn for: their better angels implore them forward. And this is why California is the bluest state in the country: because we’re on the side of the angels.

  1. Bob Rossi says:

    ” His current goal is to become Chairman of the California Republican Party”
    Probably not a lot of competition for that position.

  2. Who would want it? Ha ha

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