Say what you want about the 2020 presidential race, it's not what they used to call a "managerial election." It's not a contest to determine which branch of the establishment gets a turn of the wheel. This isn't a Clinton-Dole '96 kind of race where you're pretty sure that no matter who wins, things aren't really going to change very much.

This year, the one thing you can be certain of is that things could be very different when it's over. The issues at stake are bigger than just the economy or even our foreign policy commitments. 2020 is about the broadest possible questions. What kind of country should we have? Who should live here? What will America look like 50 years from now?

There are a lot of possible answers to those questions, but leading Democrats appear to have settled on their position. America, they're telling us should be a lot more like California.


Listen to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg explain his vision for the country he is hoping to lead.

Michael Bloomberg, Democratic presidential candidate: I think that California can serve as a great example for the rest of this country. You have led the way on climate change, on fighting gun violence and on criminal justice, and you have as importantly, opened immigrants with open arms.

California is part of this country that is something the rest of the country looks up to.

Michael Bloomberg graduated from high school, almost 60 years ago. And at that time, a lot of what he just said was true. The rest of the country really did look up to California. Millions of Americans moved to California in search of a better life. It had the nation's best public schools, you know, and world-class universities that essentially were free.

Graduates from those universities created Silicon Valley, among other things, the birthplace of the Digital Age. Compared to the rest of America, poverty in California then was low and opportunity was virtually unlimited.

The middle-class utopia of old has evaporated. The state is in crisis. Now, that's obvious to everyone who lives here, certainly, but not to the people who run California.

The people who moved here in 1960 when Bloomberg graduated high school found their American dream.

But things have changed. Now, the children and grandchildren of those people are fleeing California.

We spent the last week here in Los Angeles for this show, and in some ways, it's still a very beautiful place. The western parts of the city are some of the richest neighborhoods in the world. You'd want to live there. They're immaculate, nice people.

But huge swaths of modern Los Angeles shock the conscience of anyone who drives by. Filth and disorder and clusters of homeless addicts. Tent cities continue for block after block. We have footage from one of our producers, Charlie Cougar, shot yesterday.

California has 12 percent of America's population, but it has a quarter of this country's homeless. Adjusted for the cost of living, California has the highest poverty rate of any state in America. Nearly a quarter of its people are poor. Why?

Well, there are a lot of reasons, but here are some. The state has the most expensive housing in the continental United States. It has the most expensive gasoline, thanks to the taxes. The free world-class universities, those are long gone.


The University of California system has some of the highest in-state tuition rates in the country. As we chronicled last week in our series, "American Dystopia," no city more accurately represents the implosion of California than San Francisco.

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It's messed up, really messed up. That's right. And so finally normal people are leaving California. For decades, the state led the nation in attracting migrants from other states. Now, the flow has reversed.

Every year, the number of people leaving California for other places exceeds the number of people moving in by more than a hundred thousand. If it weren't for the constant stream of immigrants from abroad, California's population would be falling and fast.

The middle-class utopia of old has evaporated. The state is in crisis. Now, that's obvious to everyone who lives here, certainly, but not to the people who run California.

Instead of fixing the problems that are forcing people to flee, politicians here have spent the last few years on policies that are frivolous and counterproductive: Banning plastic straws, requiring background checks to buy shotgun shells, legalizing the intentional transmission of HIV.


Governor Gavin Newsom's most recent budget proposes $80 million in additional funding to provide free health care for illegal immigrant seniors. Who wants that?

This is the state the Democrats are calling the model for America. The state they want your state to be more like, at least you know what the election is about.

Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on January 17, 2020.