Friday, July 29, 2016

What Defines Conservatism in the South Bay

The South Bay of Los Angeles County has a distinct political culture.

No doubt its changing, but the dynamics which define political behavior and identity in the district are still worth noting,

I am a member of the pro-immigration enforcement group "We the People Rising."

They have been committed Trump supporters from early on,

Yet in the Beach Cities Republicans, the love for Trump has not been that strong.

Earlier in the year, Gary Aminoff, the Los Angeles County chairman for the Cruz campaign, rallied support for the Texas Senator.

Most of the people in the room supported Cruz.

A handful of people supported Kasich.

The only people in the room who backed Trump were members of We the People Rising who had come as guests.

This outcome reminded me of the political make-up of the Republican Party and the conservative movement in general in the South Bay.

The region does not have the temperamental populist/nationalist disposition of Trump supporters.

Three issues propelled the New York Real Estate tycoon to the GOP Nomination:

1. Illegal immigration
2. Bad trade deals/one-sided globalism
3. National security/public safety

In the South Bay, illegal immigration is not as keenly felt. There are illegals, but they do not compete with South residents or jobs. Engineers, civil servants, and wealthy businessmen live in this area. A large population of kids who have inherited their homes from their parents.

Some wealthy socialites rely on illegal immigrant workers, no doubt! The aerospace industry features largely in the region, but does not feel the unjust, undue influence of illegal aliens competing for jobs.

Not a great deal of movement in the region, since the South Bay has great weather, a great atmosphere, and a welcoming stability.

Industrial challenges from the global market place do not hurt many parts of the area, either. Torrance, California prides itself as a balanced city, based on retail, commercial development, real estate, industry, as well as other business investments.

Granted, Toyota corporation is moving to Texas, but much of that is due to the skyrocketing cost of housing in the area. People will not sell their homes, the state will not allow contractors to build homes.

As for national security. Despite the disturbing crime rises throughout the state, the South Bay is a relatively insular region. Murders are non-existent in Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Torrance. There is serious gang activity in the Harbor Gateway, but even there, the crime rates are negligible compared to South Los Angeles.

For the most part, though, those who live in the South Bay can afford to live here, and they do not fear the cluttered challenges which face them.

So, what defines conservatism in the South Bay?

First, there are the fiscally conservative, socially liberal types.

Limousine liberals, or champagne socialists, live in the Beach Cities, I was talking to some Republican leaders who marveled at Senator Majority Mitch McConnell's leadership in the U.S. Senate. As a hard-core partisan, I have found him to be a spiteful get-along type.

Their biggest concern? He helped keep the tax rates as low as possible.

Trump's big issues are not big issues in the South Bay

A libertarian to liberal-leaning cultural outlook permeates this group. They want little conflict, they just want to see Washington DC get things done. Corporate welfare is a considerable feature, too, since aerospace industries have relied on the Ex-Im Bank to entice foreign investment to the region. Hence, the Kasich supporters. Most Democrats I have met in the South Bay will also describe themselves as "fiscally conservative, socially liberal", as well some well-placed Independents and Republicans.

One of the main leaders of "Fiscal Issues Only" conservatism lives in the area, too. This brand wants to avoid touchy conflicts, and try to accommodate differences rather than create conflict, which explains why a distinct number of Republicans were supporting Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Besides fiscal conservatives, there are the religious social conservatives. This group helps explain Cruz' wider-spread popularity in the region. There were plenty of more liberal-leaning Republicans who supported Ted Cruz, too, but either because he was a dedicated constitutionalist, or because he was the only Republican left who could win who was not named "Donald Trump."

Even Cruz had a veneer of elitism about himself, though. A white-collar conservative with pro-life and pro-family views seemed like the perfect fit to sway diffident Republican voters in the South Bay.

Then he dropped out of the race after Indiana.

So, the Republican Party straddles two very distinct, and not-so-harmonious elements of the conservative movement.

And Democrats have taken advantage of this divide for years.

The South Bay used to have a distinct surfer-dude "Live and Let Live" flair.

Now, high-powered liberals are moving in from Los Angeles, and edging out the limited government leave-me-be mentality for government interventionism, all under the guise of Environmentalism. The limousine liberalism, which means more money for the few through deepened political connections, is taking over the South Bay.

Since when did wealth become married to a progressive agenda?

With this political movement burgeoning in the region, reconciling religious conservatives with the more "fiscal only" types will become more challenging.

One has to wonder how all of this will bear out in November, with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket.

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