3 things for the GOP to consider in California

1.) Learn to choose better battles.

Every cycle, the National Republican Congressional Committee tells us that Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, is among the nation’s most vulnerable House Democrats; every cycle, he proves otherwise. In 2008, with a 1-point voter registration disadvantage, he won by 10 percentage points; in 2010, with a .32-point voter-registration disadvantage, he won by 1.1 percentage points; and this year, with a 12-point voter-registration edge, he won by 8 percentage points. Instead of pouring resources into the campaign of a 25-year-old with no job experience, perhaps the GOP should’ve looked for greener pastures.

2.) Your navel-gazing is near-sighted.

California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro’s statement last night indicates he believes Romney and Republicans failed to “make the case, at every level, for tax reform and to successfully articulate that a welfare state can’t succeed and the true engine of growth is a vigorous free enterprise system.” I’m sure some Democrats will disagree with the philosophical underpinnings of that argument, and that’s not a debate I’ll get into here. But what Del Beccaro failed to address was that the GOP clearly lost big among Latinos, Asian-Americans, African-Americans and young voters – that is, most of this nation’s future electorate. If his party can’t find platform that appeals to these blocs, and an effective way of explaining it to them, it’ll continue to wane even further. Already I see some GOPers sniffing that Obama won without a mandate, but the fact is, he won the popular vote by at least about 2.7 million and – if Florida were to stop counting votes now (and where have I heard THAT before?) – he’d win there too, meaning he carried every battleground state except North Carolina.

3.) Who has the mandate?

Gov. Jerry Brown has the mandate. He won it in 2010 when he beat out the candidate who spent a record $142 million of her money to no avail. He won it again last night with a resounding 8-point victory for Prop. 30, his tax hike for K-12 and higher education. And it seems voters are tired enough of gridlock in Sacramento that they may have handed Democrats two-thirds majorities in both houses of the Legislature – another mandate, of sorts, for Brown’s agenda. The moral of this story: Don’t mess with Jerry.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Rasta Republican


  • John W

    McNerney is more of a workhorse than a show horse. People like that often are underestimated.

    Has Del Beccaro ever had a real job, even in the public or nonprofit sector?

    You would think that California would be fertile ground for a robust traditional GOP (what the wingnuts like to call RINOs). We would be better for it.

  • Elwood

    @ 2

    Wikipedia says he is “an American author and lawyer”.

  • John W

    Out of curiosity, I looked up California’s presidential voting history and past governorships. The history is not very consistent with California’s blue state image.

    1972-88, California voted for the GOP candidate. 1992-present for the Democrat.

    Since the 1917 (end of Hiram Johnson’s time in office), California has had 15 governors — 11 Republicans and 4 Democrats, including two Browns. During that 95-year history (1917-2012), Republicans held the governorship for 69 years. Dems for 26 years.

    Since the end of Jerry Brown’s first 8 years in office, the state had 3 Republican governors for 23 years and 2 Democrats for 6 years. The only non-Brown to serve as governor since 1943 was Gray Davis.

  • DanvilleDemocrat

    Also worth noting that if you count up every state that’s voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in every election since 1992, you get about 240 electoral votes. That’s a much more solid foundation that would point to, at best, narrow GOP wins in the future that would require the conservative candidate to have some crossover appeal.

    To say that’s unlikely probably represents a huge understatement. Regardless of who the nominees are in 2016, the GOP starts at an electoral college disadvantage.