California is morphing into a warmer Detroit with beaches and pneumatic blondes, but it doesn't have to be this way. Only liberalism could've taken the most beautiful, most hard-working, most entrepreneurial state in the union and turned it into a shabby province composed of deadbeat Oliver Twists holding up their bowls demanding more. Now that might be changing.
It might be changing because the GOP, believe it or not, may be learning to win again. It used to know how. I remember when California produced leaders like Ronald Reagan. Today, conservative Californians breathed a sigh of relief that they were only faced with Jerry Brown. If our next governor isn't wearing a Che T-shirt and a red star on his Mao cap, we’ll feel we got off lucky.
California’s GOP got fat, lazy and dumb, and for the last two decades has managed to fail at its most basic task, that of earning votes. And no, Schwarzenegger doesn’t count.
As a result, there's a Democrat supermajority in the legislature, but this cycle that's at risk. It's at risk primarily through the entrepreneurial efforts of a few Republicans who stopped waiting for others to make things happen and started making it happen themselves. One of them is David Hadley, who is running for the Assembly in the 66th District, which encompasses my own area of the South Bay of Los Angeles. Full disclosure: David is a friend and I’ve assisted his campaign.
I've also given him money. That's the thing. Lots of people have given him money. People, not unions, not PACs, not Soros-funded Astroturf front groups. People. Living, breathing human beings sick of seeing their great state run solely to enable welfare dependency and pursue bizarre leftist fetishes about gender-neutral bathrooms for kindergarteners.
David – by going out and talking to (as opposed to at) the people of his District – managed to raise more money than probably the rest of California’s Republican Assembly challengers in California combined. He broke the mold of the perennial GOP nominee who put his head on the chopping block every two years to win the usual 40% of the vote in a District that should by all rights be ours. And unlike our current assemblyman, a typical Democrat Party functionary in bed with the public employee unions, he's done by appealing to regular people.
Oh, and in the primary, where all candidates from all parties run to be one of the two candidates on the general election ballot, David beat the Democrat incumbent. That doesn’t happen in California – or so the experts said. And if David wins in November, the Democrat supermajority dies.
David is showing the way for the recovery of the Republican Party in California, but he also provides important lessons for conservatives throughout the country. For one thing, he isn’t a career politician. He's an entrepreneur, and I'm guessing he’ll be taking a dramatic pay cut for the privilege of trading glorious Manhattan Beach for sweaty Sacramento and the opportunity to mingle with the coterie of leftists, aspiring felons, and borderline sociopaths who make up the Legislature.
David is also a family man, and you can tell his character because his son is currently a cadet at West Point. Living in an affluent suburb, his son had the choice of what to do and where to go. He chose to serve his country. That speaks volumes.
Here’s the lesson, GOP – let’s get candidates who are the kind of people you want as a neighbors. Let’s choose candidates without creepy baggage. And let’s pick nominees who can string a sentence together and don’t feel compelled to opine on stuff they don’t understand, like – to take a totally wacky example that could never, ever happen – female biology.
This is exactly what I talk about in my new book Conservative Insurgency. We need to find sane and smart candidates in our communities and develop them as future leaders targeted at each individual district. Beyond the basis of common sense and character, what works in one place will be different than what works in another.
California isn’t Utah. A winning candidate here like David isn’t running on gay marriage; he’s running as a sure vote against repealing Proposition 13, which protects homeowners from having their homes sold out from under them because they can't pay staggering property taxes designed to fund the Democrat political pay-off machine.
His time-serving opponent has no answers for what ails California. He sat impotently as 5,000 good jobs at the South Bay’s Toyota headquarters moved to Texas. He talks about attracting green jobs, but Tesla choose Nevada because Elon Musk is liberal, not insane. There used to be a day when anyone on the cutting edge was on the edge of the Pacific. Now, the only thing California makes lots of is expatriates.
It breaks the heart of this 40+ year Californian to see what happened to his beloved state. Yeah, I joke about California, but this is my home and I'm not about to give up on it. Guys like David Hadley are providing the GOP some much-needed lessons in how to take back the initiative and how to win again, here in the Golden State and around the country. All we have to do is support those in the fight.