Has the California backlash against liberal craziness finally begun?

In a state consumed by conservation and environmental issues, one highly endangered species has long gone unnoticed and unprotected – the California Conservative.  Is it still possible to rescue them from the brink of extinction?  Can their numbers be revived?  And can they thrive here once again?  

While the nation continues to view California as a homogeneous voting block of individuals in lock step with an increasingly progressive liberal agenda, for Common Sense Californians up and down the left coast state, there’s a sense that a different tide is rising.

The ripple began in Los Alamitos where the city council voted to opt out of California’s sanctuary law.  And it was followed by Orange County who voted to join the U.S. Department of Justice in challenging the state’s sanctuary city laws.  This decision was echoed by the city of Escondido and later this month San Diego County will also vote to join their ranks in this federal lawsuit.  Other municipalities are lining up to consider doing the same.

California has always been the tip of the spear.  Often the genesis of art, influence, ideas, style and entertainment, we also take the lead in ways that are less admirable with high state tax, high gas tax, high costs of living and housing, an out of control homeless problem in our urban areas, declining test scores in schools, increasingly inaccessible and cost-prohibitive health care, and many of our major cities often appear on lists of the least-livable cities in the U.S. 

A supermajority of Democrats at the state level has presided over a tragic decline in virtually every statistic and has championed expensive and detrimental ideas such as the multi-state tax, a failing high speed rail project and of course the most recent sanctuary state status.  These consequential endeavors are concocted in the cocoon of Sacramento, isolated and unconnected to the effect those decisions have on everyone else who lives in the state. They spend money as if it’s theirs.  It’s not.  It’s mine and every other taxpayer’s in California.  Yet we have no voice and many of our representatives no longer represent us, if they ever did.

Those who predict a blue wave across the nation and count on California forever being blue from San Diego to Crescent City might want to take notice of the red ripple which has begun in the Golden State.

For those of us who don’t make the policies, but must live under them, we feel Sacramento’s presence in our daily lives in ways - and in places - we shouldn’t.  In our grocery stores if you want to take your purchases home in a bag, there’s a per bag fee.  (As my own personal protest, I don’t pay for bags and just throw all the items back in my cart and loose into the back of my car.)  And in the most ridiculous and egregious example of overreach, the state legislature says it will arrest any waiter who gives a customer a plastic straw if they don’t ask for one.  With all the problems in our state, I don’t think that jailing unsolicited straw distributors in restaurants should be a top priority.   

But common sense has not prevailed here for a long time.  Nor has democracy.  With a jungle primary system in our elections, the top two candidates in the primary go on to the general election – regardless of party.  So what this meant in the 2016 election is that nearly 800,000 Californians only had one Republican on their entire ballot to vote for – Donald Trump.  Is the left so afraid of democracy that they must tip the scales in their own favor to prevent a different view point or ideology?  And how surprised would people across the nation be to see what the 2016 electoral map of California looked like when broken down by county, not just painted with one big coat of blue from top to bottom?

Surprising, but true, there actually are conservatives in California, but we have been silenced and powerless far too long and now are finding an unlikely alliance with common sense Democrats who feel abandoned by their party and realize it no longer represents them.

It appears those in power here who have championed policies that continue to steer California further and further left may now have overplayed their hand.  And the backlash has begun, with no end in sight.  In fact, common sense Californians from both sides of the political aisle are coming together in solidarity to challenge policies and governing that has left them to endure the consequences of the decisions of their lawmakers, which has made life more expensive, more challenging, more dangerous, and in some instances even putting them into potential legal jeopardy.

For example, business owners now face the quandary of being in compliance with the feds or being in compliance with the state with their employees and their immigration status.  This is not a partisan issue.  This is the very type of issue that continues to make California a difficult place to do business and disincentivizes businesses to come here – and continues to drive successful businesses and taxpayers out of the state.

When over 1 million Californians who are here illegally now have California driver’s licenses, and when Californians have paid into the state’s higher education system and have a difficult time accessing it, and then when they do, they pay fees that illegals don’t pay, it’s no wonder why Common Sense Californians are outraged.

Ronald Reagan was a Democrat for many years before switching to the Republican Party.  When asked why he changed parties, he said, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party - the Democratic Party left me.”  That seems to be a sentiment being echoed by Common Sense Californians up and down the state as many blue blood Democrats and Reagan Democrats feel like their party no longer reflects their values or priorities.  Though it’s unlikely that a singular candidate or issue will fully unite the state, California would be smart to put forth common sense candidates who are talking to – and listening to – common sense Californians from both sides of the political aisle.  Those who predict a blue wave across the nation and count on California forever being blue from San Diego to Crescent City might want to take notice of the red ripple which has begun in the Golden State – not in Sacramento – but in cities and counties where common sense Californians still reside.

Peggy Grande is author of "The President Will See You Now", a keynote speaker and a specialty project consultant. She was the executive assistant to president Ronald Reagan from 1989 – 1999.