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Opinion: The word

In the 2000 presidential race, candidate George Bush Jr, while campaigning in California, said the worst thing he had going for him in California was having the word ‘Republican’ next to his name on the ballot.  No truer words were ever spoken by Bush Jr.,  then or since. He lost California by 11.8 points, or 1.3 million votes.

While Pete Wilson led the charge for the Republicans in 1994 with the Latino-bashing Proposition 187, leading to short-term political gain for the Republicans, it started a long-term trend against the Republicans. Democrats won all the statewide elections in 2002, which was a first, and did the same this year.

As of January, Democrats will hold all 10 statewide offices in California. In fact, of the 42 statewide candidate elections held since 1994, Democrats have won 37 of them or 88.1 percent, including every presidential and U.S. Senate race since 1988. In the private sector, a product named ‘Republican’ would be pulled off the shelf. The last time a Republican was elected to the Controller’s office was 40 years ago, in 1970 (Houston Flourney), the same year a guy named Jerry Brown was elected as Secretary of State. I guess the voters prefer Democrats to watch the money. Bush Jr., and his allies in the business world have given us the Great Recession, so once again, Republicans have shown that they cannot manage money.

Nationally, the last Republican president to balance the nation’s budget was Eisenhower (once in 1956). In the last 40 years the nation has balanced the budget five times, all under Democratic presidents.

Let’s review the 2010 elections with Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina leading the Republican ticket.

Publicly, Republicans were claiming that these two Republicans were fresh faces, CEOs and that tens of millions of dollars of personal money would win. But the smart Republican operatives knew otherwise. And Brown and Boxer were great candidates.

Whitman was a failed candidate. She toured the state, never looking comfortable, basically telling the voters that she could be governor because she made a billion dollars as a CEO (i.e. overseeing garage sales over the Internet).

First, name the governor who has been elected in California that the voters did not know before the actual election – no one.

Second point, in the middle of the Great Recession only an idiot would campaign on “I want to run the government like a business.” I doubt if most voters thought that was a good resume (I think of Wall Street; AIG; Lehman Brothers; Enron, who stole billions from Californians, banks who made home loans to anyone, etc.).

Carly Fiorina was also a flawed candidate. Fiorina laid off 33,000 Americans at HP and sent many of the jobs overseas, and took huge bonuses, including a $21-million-dollar severance check when she was fired in 2005.

We didn’t even need to focus on the facts that HP, under CEO Fiorina, was involved in financial kickbacks in the U.S., $11 million in bribes paid in Russia for contracts and selling HP equipment to Iran – despite the U.S. ban to do so.

Fiorina would dismiss the sales to Iran as going to those opposed to Iran’s leadership. Everyone knows the Revolutionary Guards control what is being smuggled into Iran. The No. 1 issue  was  sending the jobs overseas, so we did not have to ask Fiorina to explain how that HP printer got on Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s desk.

Fiorina used to talk about Ireland as an example of what a country should do. She argued that with the lowest corporate tax rate in Europe (12.5 percent), Ireland attracted businesses from all over the world. First of all, for years after Ireland joined the EU, it received subsidies from the EU because its economy was below the EU average. But more importantly, Ireland economically has been on the mat for over two years.

And both Whitman and Fiorina used to point to China as a great economic model. The banks and the economy in China are controlled by the Communist Party. I thought, through the Cold War, that we were against the Communists and that we did not want a government controlling the private sector.

But the biggest plus for Democrats is the expanding number of minority voters.

In the 1994 election, Anglos were 81 percent of the electorate and Latinos were only 8 percent. This time, Anglo voters were only 62 percent of the electorate and Latinos were 22 percent. Brown and Boxer lost the Anglo vote. In fact, Brown lost to Whitman by 250,000 with the Anglo vote. Brown won the election by an overall margin of 1.3 million, meaning Brown won the minority vote by over 1.5 million votes.

In the 1994 general election, there were 693,000 Latino voters, but this time there were 2.2 million. Anglo voters dropped by 760,000 from 1994. Latino voters gave Brown a margin of 621,000 over Whitman. While African Americans were only 9 percent of the 2010 electorate, their 77 percent vote (vs. 64 percent by Latinos) for Brown gave him a margin of 491,000, and when you add the margins from Asian Americans and other minority groups, the vote is overwhelmingly Democratic. Gays also vote Democratic, and since most Republicans continue to oppose efforts to give equal rights to Gays, it will continue to cost the Republicans.

From Proposition 187 to the defeat of the Dream Act, by Republicans in Congress, the message is clear to Californians of who is on their side.

President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

That is why I am a Democrat and why most Californians vote Democratic.


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