Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What the New England GOP is Doing (and what California Should and Should Not Do ...)

Foxes and Hounds offers some telling intel, and sound analysis on politics in California and in reference to events across the country.

Their take on what California Republicans can do to ensure a Republican governor gets elected in 2018 should give us some pause. Yes, anything is possible. In spite of this abortive Prop 14 which has shut down Republican chances in otherwise competitive seats.

Repeal Prop 14--that is a must.

Model for CA GOP Gov. May Be Found in New England

The California gubernatorial election is 22 months away but already the media is filled with stories about the coming campaign. Given the superiority in Democratic voter registration in this state it is assumed that a Democrat will succeed Jerry Brown in the corner office. Yet, for Republicans there may be hope when witnessing the success of GOP governors in another blue section of the country, New England.

For the record, I was chomping at the bit over the 2016 US Senate race as early as January 2015, and even a little sooner than that. After all, Barbara Boxer wasn't raising lots of money in 2014, and her campaign accounts were really low for a re-election bid in the most populous state in the union with expensive media markets.

I reached out to staffers in the CA GOP to see if Condoleeza Rice would run (she didn't; she didn't want to), and then a whole slew of candidates jumped into the race. One candidate connected with me two months before the primary, as well. I could not believe how disorganized the whole process had become. Democrats can put force competing candidates into a run and dwindle the numbers down to one.

Why can't Republicans do the same?

Of the six New England states, Republicans head four, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. By voter registration, four New England states are ranked in the top ten as the most Democratic states in the Union as of early last year with Massachusetts number one and Vermont number five. California was number six on the list.

There is hope. New England has been notoriously hostile to Republican politics for the last ten to twenty years. Yet today, four states have Republican governors. New Hampshire is a GOP trifecta right now, in fact, even though the state has a Democratic tinge in its federal representation.

Connecticut's state senate is split 50-50, and Maine's state senate is under GOP control, too.

The GOP model needs more attention than just who is sitting in the governor's mansion. Charlie Baker is a complete disappoint, a RINO who is more interested in placating rather than confronting liberal Democrats. The Massachusetts variety are particularly vicious and destructive to life and liberty on every level.

In a Washington Post column last month, James Hohmann attempted to discover how Republican governors captured these Democratic strongholds.

The Washington Post is not friendly to conservatives, and whether Republicans in the Northeast or California or any other Democratic stronghold like it or not, the Republican Party is the pro-life, pro-liberty, and pro-family party. Pro-individual success, too.

I am a little loath to follow any WaPo journalist's take on what would make the Republican Party successful anywhere in the country. Notice how savagely Hohmann denigrated Paul LePage, the Governor of Maine:

-- Paul LePage, the Republican governor of Maine, is in a league of his own. He was catapulted into office amidst the tea party wave of 2010 and got reelected in 2014 with a plurality because an independent siphoned away Democratic votes. He’s polarizing and profoundly ideological. He’s also term limited and will be gone in two years.

The writer neglects to mention his respect for the Second Amendment, the expansion of concealed carry, comprehensive welfare reforms which have gotten tens of thousands off of welfare and back to work. His policies have given a reddish hue to an otherwise blue state. For the first time in two decades, a Republican has been elected to Congress for two terms.

LePage has shaped the culture to be more conservative, and his model should be the guiding light for Republicans in blue states. Of course, it is worth noting that LePage become governor in a five-way race in an off-year election.

Still, his win has been Maine's win, and will pave the way for future conservative victories in the Pine Tree State.

The Post’s Editorial Board, calling on him to resign and “seek help” this fall, outlined some of the more memorable illustrations of his “unhinged racism” and “wild-eyed ramblings.” Among other things, LePage declared in October that a Trump presidency is necessary because he will exercise “authoritarian power” to pull us back from “slipping into anarchy.”

The Washington Post editorial board is an elitist fraud. Once again, we should take WaPo Hate with a grain of salt.

Still, what can we learn from the four New England Republican governors ascent for California Republican interests?

Are there lessons for California?

Phil Scott

Vermont elected Phil Scott who told Hohmann he got involved in politics because the state was an unfriendly place to do business. That’s a theme that could resonate in California. Scott is a fiscal conservative. “But not unlike most Republicans in the Northeast, I’m probably more on the left of center from a social standpoint.”

Like Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (another success story which the Washington Post chose to ignore), Republicans in blue states need to focus on the basic issues which resonate with everyone. Most working people ... are not working right now. That has to stop. This perversion of statewide economies must be overturned, and only a Republican will take steps to do that in California.


California Republicans have been battling internally for years on where to draw the line on social issues.

Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker enjoys a 70-percent-approval rating. Hohmann writes: “He’s viewed as a pragmatist and admired for his effective managerial abilities, even though many of his priorities have been blocked by liberals in the legislature.”

Charlie Baker, Republican Faker

Baker has gone along with much of the Democratic program, including transgenderism as a civil right instead of a mental disorder (which it is.) This legislation is anti-free market, too, since it invites more lawsuits, regulations, and fees.

The argument about fiscal v. social is a dead on arrival distraction from the regressive left. Why do we care how they view the world anyway?

Besides ...

With Democrats overwhelmingly controlling the Massachusetts State House, Baker is seen as a check on overreach. Baker said, “The fiscal discipline issue is for real, and so is the ability to be part of the constructive friction that people like to see.” Politics benefits from competition the same way everything else does. Most people think competition is a good thing and creates an urgency and a tension that works for the so-called consumer, which in this case is the taxpayer or the person who relies on government.”

Massachusetts and Vermont have overwhelming Democratic legislatures. Instead of accommodating the culture, though, Republicans need to shape the culture and make it more in line with constitutional principles and sound governance.

The last thing that California needs is another governor who will continue the leftward lurching of the state of California. We need someone who will stop this madness and  make California great again. 

There has been talk that San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer fits the mold associated with the successful GOP governors in heavily Democratic states. Whether he runs or not is a question.

Kevin Faulconer has gotten mixed reviews from partisans. I am not sure that he will command the open respect from all segments of the state which a candidate for Govenror will need. Can he resonate with the Central Valley as well as with Los Angeles and Orange Counties? Will he be the team player that we need?


There are some things that California Republicans can learn from the four New England governors.

1. Message that appeals to all voters in the state.
2. Focus on ethics and quality of life issues
3. Make school choice, privacy, fiscal discipline key platforms in the campaign

It's also important to look at the legislatures which will be facing these four governors.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has the best chances to reshape the culture in his state. Let's hope that the legislature takes a lead on many issues, particularly right-to-work and other economy an liberty enhancing issues.

Whoever throws the hat into the ring for Governor, they would best following the Larry Hogan model, with a staunch fiscal, pro-economic growth message, without touching on divisive cultural issues, but also without alienating the Republican base.

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