In case you didn't notice... this is the Marin Republican website. Think about that for a minute... We are the Marin GOP. We are either the second or third most "liberal" county in California. And we are Republican. Still fighting the good fight in a county where we haven't even taken 25% of the vote since 2004. In the past sixteen years this county has slipped to less than 15% registered Republican. We're what is known as a "deep blue county." But we weren't always a deep blue county... we didn't always have heroin addicts shooting up behind the local library at 4 o'clock in the afternoon either... Stuff changes.
I'm a Millennial so I wasn't alive when this county was a toss-up county. But fifty years ago it trended conservative. Forty years ago it was a toss up county. During the Reagan years this was NOT a deep blue county. Things started to change in the 1990s. Now... well now we are a hot bed of the "resistance" (people have Resist! bumper stickers right next to the Bernie stickers on the back of the Lexus --yes, it is that sort of Liberal hotbed). Republicans are on the run in this county --or hiding, and I do mean hiding. And I have a persistent nightmare that people DON'T really understand how this happened. Because this isn't just about Marin County. We may be the county other Republicans have thrown away in a state "Conservative States" make jokes about... but once upon a time California was what you are now. Prosperous, safe... a golden state with a thriving middle class, free speech... a state where people respected their neighbor's freedom of religion and freedom of speech. A state where the Second Amendment had not become a joke. But that California no longer exists and hasn't for a long time.
I mainly grew up in California. But... I went to school in Texas. So I see some disturbing parallels between the Texas of today and the California of an earlier era... And so... if you are reading this please do me a favor, share this letter to Texas with your friends in Texas. And then share and share again.... Please?
As I write this I am sitting in a county that is synonymous with California trustfund hippie liberalism. Half the Republicans I know who live in this county --and there aren't many so I kind of know MOST of them-- keep their politics a deep dark secret. They don't have bumper stickers, they don't have flags --some do, the brave do-- they live in fear of being doxxed, outed, sued by a vindictive activist who wants to take a metaphorical Republican scalp in a made up case, socially ostracized or physically assaulted. In this county Republican women who want to set up tables to do voter registration go in pairs for fear of being physically assaulted. Think about that... a decent woman in a nice upper income suburb can NOT stand in front of a supermarket registering voters on behalf of the Republican Party without fear of being physically assaulted.
Marin Republicans congratulate themselves that they aren't San Francisco Republicans. (San Francisco Republicans are even more of a minority than we are.) But we're fooling ourselves by claiming we are better off than San Francisco. San Francisco is the next county over. Right on the other side of the bridge. The difference between San Francisco and Marin counties is like the difference between Dallas and Plano. If you have a heroin problem in Dallas it can spread right up into your suburban highschools in Plano. San Francisco is still pretty --from a distance-- but the signs of blight are truly horrifying in San Francisco now. If you don't believe me... watch this video. I was there a few weeks ago as we filmed it... and I saw things that were so heart wrenching we decided NOT to put it in the video because it seemed too cruel.
Right now you don't think this is your problem. If you are a conservative maybe you are one of those conservatives who makes jokes about California. We deserve it... This state has become a joke of bad policies, bad politicians --Kamala Harris anyone?-- and disaster after disaster. Currently we are dealing with a "Red Flag" warning for wildfires tonight. Oh... and the power company may proactively shut off electricity to thirty thousand households because of high winds. And our Governor wants to outlaw gasoline powered cars within the next 15 years. (I so miss last year when he was just outlawing plastic straws... strange he never seems to care that much about the open air drug dealing.)
But California didn't used to be like this. I'm not old enough to remember a Republican California. I'm a Millennial. I'm also an ex Democrat (watch the video). California used to be different. The Democratic Party used to be different. Both California and the Democratic Party have gone in a direction I don't think any sane person should be o.k. with. I left the Democratic Party. (Obviously... I'm blogging for the GOP. In Marin County signing on with the local GOP is a bit like signing on to be scullery maid of the Titanic. I'm not paid, and there is a good chance I'll go down with the ship. But at least I'll make sure the dishes are clean.)
The thing is a LOT of Californians --Republicans and Democrats alike-- sort of KNOW California is a sinking ship... So they are moving. Ex-California Democrats are now turning Nevada Blue. Ex-California Republicans are --I hope-- keeping Arizona Red. (If you want a ray of hope in this letter in a glass bottle, this is what I have to offer you... California Republicans are fleeing Progressive California and they have the same commitment to conservative politics as the refugees from other failed states do... Ex California Republicans are a bit like Cuban refugees in Florida, they'll crawl naked over broken glass to vote against a Socialist.)
I grew up in California. Unlike a lot of my peers I've spent quality time out of state though. I went to college in Texas, one of my best friends lives in the heart of the midwest. Another good friend lives in North Texas. I see a lot of similarities between Texas and California. Texas is bigger than life, so is California. You have a regional identity, so does California. You are a western state and a bi-lingual state. You have rodeos, so do we.... (California has some fabulous rodeos.) Texas grows rice, so does California. Texas grows cotton, so does California. Texas has oil. (California has oil too...) Oh... and country and western music? Remember the Bakersfield sound? Merle Haggard and Buck Owens both called Bakersfield home. Bakersfield is in California. Oil and oranges and cattle. The heart of California isn't that different than the heart of Texas.
But you see... things changed. California used to have a thriving middle class, we now have an evaporating middle class. Now we are a state of the rich and the poor and in between a whole bunch of angry low end tech workers with too much student loan debt and not enough courage to place the blame where it should be placed. California's golden dream has been tarnished for most of my life. We were the state of the future for half the twentieth century. This is where people moved to raise their kids and make a life and get ahead.... Sound familiar? Texas this is you today.... Texas, today, is the state of the future. Young couples can buy houses on regular salaries. There are jobs whether you have a college degree or not... hey, you even have electricity! (Unlike many of my fellow Californians tonight.)
But that could change. Texas could become California. Not the California of golden promise, but instead the California of tarnished dreams and broken promises. It could happen sooner than you think. Back in 2018 Ted Cruz got re-elected. He beat Beto O'Rourke by less than 3%. Think about that.... it was the closest U.S. Senate race in Texas since 1978. Beto O'Rourke, the guy who eats dirt and doesn't believe ordinary Texans should own guns or have jobs working for oil companies, was within spitting distance of becoming a Texas Senator. So... Texas take warning... you could become California. If you don't deliver every vote and then some in November to keep Kamala Harris from becoming Vice President of the United States you will help to turn the United States into California.
Texas take warning. You don't want Dallas to be San Francisco. Trust me on this.
Your Republican Friends in California