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Memo to California Republicans: Drop dead

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Our local media in The Bay Area has been doing a great job keeping an eye on California Republicans, who really should be registered with the Endangered Species Act because they’re on the verge of extinction.

A few days ago, state Republicans, in a tightly-contested race, chose their new chairperson: a Latina woman. They also chose an Asian-American to be co-chair and a gay man to be treasurer. I doubt that very many Latinos, women, Asians or gays will be reassured by these symbolic, cynical gestures; after all, it will take the Republican Party a generation to escape the historically-correct view that they’re the party of straight, bigoted white men, and have taken particularly vicious aim at Latino/Hispanic people, women in general and the LGBTQ community.

Well, Republicans had to do something, so they came up with this Hail Mary. At some point, we’ll look into the backgrounds of these new Republican officials and tell the truth of what they stand for; but for now, I want to talk about their next move, which is to go by the Trump propaganda playbook and accuse Democrats of being “socialists proposing extreme solutions” to California’s problems. Trump got the ball rolling recently by throwing the s-word at Democrats like Elizabeth Warren and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. It’s important to have a little perspective on this charge. Ever since FDR’s time, Republicans have accused Democrats of being “soclalists” if not outright Communists. Whenever Democrats tried to enact legislation to make Americans’ lives better, Republicans attacked it as socialism: Social Security, unemployment insurance, worker protections, minimum wage, Medicare, Medicaid, voting rights, gay rights, the Affordable Care Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act—Republicans have opposed each and every one of these progressive advancements.

They never claim that the problems which these laws seek to redress don’t exist, because they obviously do. Instead, Republicans say we should rely on “market forces” for solutions. (The religious extremists actually have the nerve to suggest that “God” will solve everybody’s problems!) That “market forces” are not solutions, and in most cases actually make the problems worse, is never acknowledged by them. Instead of wanting to solve problems, Republicans want only to attack Government—which, translated, means: “Let’s let the richest and most powerful interests, whose dark money fuels our PACS, determine our policies. We should trust them because their success proves they’re trustworthy.”

Yes, we all know how trustworthy the Koch Brothers, the Mercers and Robert Kraft are!

I always like asking these small-government types if they’re willing to voluntarily give up all government assistance in their lives. If they hate socialism, here’s what they can do to put their money where their mouths are:

Don’t accept Social Security

Don’t accept Medicare

Don’t file for unemployment if they get laid off

Be willing to work for peanuts

Let their employers force them to work unpaid overtime, in sweatshops

Let employers hire children to work on assembly lines

Accept unconstitutional restrictions on their right to vote

But wait, there’s more! If they hate government so much that they want to completely eliminate it from their lives, then they should:

Be willing to have their water and food poisoned and contaminated

Allow the air they breathe to be filthy and polluted

Drive cars that explode, crumble on impact, and kill passengers in minor collisions

Drive on roads rotted with potholes

Have no public parks, including national parks

Let Big Energy spill oil into our oceans, seas and groundwater

Allow countless animal species to go extinct

Do away with all standards of public education

Allow Big Pharma to peddle drugs that make people sick

Well, I could go on and on about how government improves our lives and prevents awful things from happening, but you get the idea. Now, here comes the “new” California Republican Party railing against making college and housing affordable, against women’s rights over their own bodies, against letting Gay Americans have the same civil rights as straight Americans, against letting workers unionize, against raising taxes on billionaires, against holding huge corporations to minimum standards of decency.

Good luck with that, Republicans. This is why you keep getting crushed in elections.

Their epithet for all they’re against is “socialism.” It’s laughable, really, how they have to contort themselves into pretzels to make their point. Here’s what their losing candidate for Governor, the rightwing nationalist John Cox, said about California’s most pressing problem, the high cost of housing. “Voters need to know why their rent is so high.” Why? Because “liberal Democratic policies…have contributed to the high cost of housing in California.”

Even the dumbest Republican (and there are a lot of dumb Republicans) knows that claim is absurd. Housing prices are high because everybody wants to live in California; market forces of supply-and-demand make homes expensive, not “liberal Democratic policies.”

Let the Republicans cast slurs on Democrats. It won’t matter in the least. What Democrats will respond with is the truth: to show Californians the horrible racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, plutocratic tendencies, religious extremism and anti-science ignorance of the Republican Party, which can dress up in sheep’s clothing all it wants, but remains underneath a ravenous, indecent wolf—the same as their Leader, Donald J. Trump.

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