No Party for Young Men: Fletcher Flees Fleischman’s Phlegm.

The relationship between the face of the Cal GOP's future and the self-appointed enforcer of its ossified orthodoxy was bitter and untenable. - Ed.

It seems that the Republican Party in California has completed its transformation into an irrelevant political institution. I have written previous articles on how to transform the party to relevance in a divergent population as California. However California Republican establishment figures such as Jon Fleischman and Mike Spence would rather throw raw meat from the balcony than work to solve the problems our state faces, as San Diego mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher stated yesterday in his speech about his re-registration to “decline to state”:

The Republican revolution of 2010 avoided our state because we are a different people here.  We avoid attacks on different groups, and we cherish such post-materialistic values as clean air, water, and quality public education.  The Republican Party hierarchy expects us to behave like our Republican cousins in Oklahoma and Utah; but we’re not like the people there. We California Republican voters want job creation for all Americans, not just those who work for traditional-values advocacy firms or nativist groups like the Minutemen.

My party has been vicious to those who go against the grain. Look at former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson who left the party due to being blackballed from debates even though he had more executive experience than Romney.  Congressman Ron Paul is one of the four frontrunners, yet the state political party executives in Missouri and Washington State have tried to rig state party conventions to make sure Paul’s followers have no say and arrest those who challenge the party corruption. Now one of the last moderates in our State Assembly has decided to split the “big tent,” and the hard-liners will have dominance until the Proposition 14 moderates jump in.

I can understand why Assemblyman Fletcher felt estranged from his former party’s caucus. All Republicans want to do is to say NO, and not have to any constructive solutions in exchange. Due to the 1/3rds veto the Republican Party has, they have no incentive to seek the majority in either chamber of the state legislature.  So, due to redistricting and the Fletcher’s estrangement with the Party, he decided to run for mayor of San Diego instead of running for his last term in the State Assembly.

Local elections are officially non-partisan, but no elections are non-partisan in nature any longer. Political parties use non-partisan elections as a farm team for state legislative, congress and statewide offices.  The Republican Party in San Diego County had a highly contested endorsement for the office of mayor; three of the four major candidates are Republicans. It used to be cool to be a pragmatic centrist like Pete Wilson – which led him to become mayor, US Senator and then Governor of our state, but the party establishment chose city councilman Carl DeMaio because of his Scott Walker-like labor-bashing credentials.

Nathan and his wife both left the party they called their own since they had first registered to vote. Nathan believes that the consensus-building approach he learned in the Marines would be beneficial as the mayor of San Diego. As a Marine he worked to develop bonds with people in exotic places such as Iraq and Somalia.  While assemblyman, Nathan developed bonds with the Democratic Speaker and the local police union in San Diego. Even though there may be some disagreements he tries to find consensus so we can have solutions for the problems we face in California and his home town of San Diego, California.

Sadly, due to the loss of Assemblyman Fletcher, the Republican Party will lack a viable bench that would be appealing to voters in our state. In 2012, we have no exceptional candidate for US Senate, we have many non name-brand candidates.  (The leading front runner is notorious birther Orly Tatiz.) If we weren’t chasing away the moderates away from our party we’d have had a pragmatic bench that would attract voters to support our candidates. If we want California to be a better state to live and do business in, California needs a viable opposition party. If we make ourselves too toxic for people to support us, then how are we going to make California golden again? Democrats are causing our tax base to flee to Texas while thinking the only solution is to raise taxes. Maybe if we did not bash the brown people, gays and women we would make some progress to broaden the tax base so we can lower taxes for all of us.

Sadly, the Republican Party is becoming irrelevant for young supporters.  If we want to prevent California from being a one-party dictatorship we need to see change in the state party leadership. If we do not give demographic groups that typically vote for the Democratic Party a convincing reason to vote for Republicans, then we will not gain any ground as our supporters die off day by day.

About Matt Munson