Step aside, naysayers: TRAVIS ALLEN is gonna TAKE BACK CALIFORNIA!


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I could barely handle the suspense last Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday morning, could you?  Oh.  Maybe you don’t know what I’m talking about.  Let me back up a ways…

“Well, he may be a fool but he’s OUR fool…”

—Randy Newman on Lester Maddox in Rednecks.

Huntington Beach Assemblyman Travis Allen really distinguished himself in his six years in Sacramento – by having the worst attendance and voting record of the legislature.  Maybe if he’d known these six years were going to be the high point of his career he wouldn’t have spent so much time bullshitting on FOX News, travelling the world on taxpayer/lobbyist dime, and miscellaneous tomfoolery.  But probably not.  I mean, probably he still woulda.

Forever smelling glory for himself, and safely surrounded by sycophants, he threw away his safe assembly seat for a quixotic, doomed run at California Governor.  After all, in today’s California, any Republican gubernatorial candidate who is not a movie star action hero is gonna be a sacrificial lamb, let alone a bitter divisive one who patterns himself after President Trump. Back when he first announced last year (a story we broke here) fellow Republicans told me it was just a “prank to get more attention and money, he’s going to back off and stay in the assembly.”   But I’m a good observer of these sort of people, and I knew that Travis had the vanity, and the sufficient insulation and encouragement of yes-men and women, to believe that he could really pull it off.

And Travis placed his faith in demagoguery and the power of outrageous repeated lies, in the manner of his orange-haired hero.  Heavy on the Kate Steinle-baiting, the most-Mexicans-are-murderers-rapists-and-drug-dealers tales, the kissing AIPAC’s butt and lies about Democrats like we “voted to legalize child prostitution,” and early-on inviting the Trump administration to sue his own state over “sanctuary,” Travis managed to engage and energize literally thousands of Californians – probably enough to fill a large stadium, but not enough to get more than 9.2% of the vote – one-third the showing of his anodyne Republican rival John Cox.

One thing that musta really hurt was – after a whole year of loyally being a younger and more-charismatic incarnation of Donald Trump himself – when The Actual Donald chose to endorse his boring moderate rival Cox instead.  Oooh, burn!  Trump, with his solipsistic pinball-machine brain, probably never even heard of Travis, and some adviser told him that the most likely Republican to win in California was Cox.  You could almost feel sympathy for Travis, except that’s impossible after some of the things he’s done and said.  You could MAYBE feel sympathy for him if he got dragged by a truck and then fed to ferrets.  And then, only MAYBE.

The egomaniac’s 4th place finish, however, was certainly a personal crisis – what to do next with all his boundless malevolent energy?  Having ironically worked as a financial planner before his assembly stint and gubernatorial salmon swim, he now finds himself in debt to the tune of over $300,000.  Well, the wounds-licking apparently took a month, then on Sunday July 1 us Californians were advised with great fanfare – Travis would have an EXCITING, HISTORIC ANNOUNCEMENT on the following Tuesday!  And then again on Monday:  Travis Allen will have a MAJOR, MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT AT 10 AM TOMORROW!  

Ten AM thousands of us (including yours truly) waited at our laptops and still nothing!  Well, the announcement was a few hours late but it was worth it:  Travis is gonna TAKE BACK CALIFORNIA with his TAKE BACK CALIFORNIA PAC!

“Take it back” from WHOM is unclear.  His related literature includes a call to “repeal the (very worthy) Props 47 and 57.”  But those were approved by a vast majority of us Californians, not by some “liberal elites from San Francisco.”  Even those Democratic politicians he demonizes (who are not all from “San Francisco”) are voted in by vast majorities of us Californians because we agree with them.  It sounds like Travis is hoping and promising to “take back California” from most Californians.

But this move does make good sense, for a politician at the end of his rope, deep in debt but bursting with vanity and destructive energy.  As a Republican consultant who opposed him tells me, with this PAC, he can continue to take in endless contributions from poor and aggrieved Californians, pay himself a hefty salary, rake up speaking fees (he does love to talk!) and feel relevant.  And, my interlocutor adds, knowing Travis as well as we all do in Surf City, “get laid a lot.”

Yeah, that too.


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.