The midterm elections were a rather tiresome affair in California. The Democratic Party maintained its dominance in the state, holding majorities in the Legislature, securing the governor’s mansion yet again, and sending another mass of winning candidates to Washington.
As news goes, there’s not much to see here.
Conventional wisdom held that this election was about Trump, especially in California, home to the “Resistance.” But the Trump effect had little if any impact in California. Can anyone name a single race in this state that turned on Trump?
No, the real story is the tightening of the political left’s powerful grip over the state.
Start with the governor’s race. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom took 60 percent of the vote. What can we expect from him? Eight more years of Jerry Brown-ism? Well, some of that — and much more. Expect Newsom to steer California to a deeper shade of blue.
KABC radio host John Phillips has said Newsom will turn the rest of California into San Francisco, the city over which he once presided over from the mayor’s office. That’s not an inspiring future. San Francisco has a homeless problem (which voters decided to worsen by approving Proposition C, a tax hike on businesses to fund government homeless services) like no other city in America. Encampments block sidewalks. Human feces and urine fester in public spaces. Petty crime has marred the quality of life.
Not surprisingly, nearly half of San Francisco residents say they want to leave in the next few years. Only a quarter say the city is moving in the right direction. Among residents’ many frustrations is the cost of living, particularly steep housing costs, which make the city simply too expensive for many.
As any devoted follower of the political left’s playbook should, “The City” has adopted a government health care system for the poor, Healthy San Francisco. The program places a financial burden on the small businesses that collect fees to fund it, and their customers who are taxed with passed-on costs. Now imagine such a program operating statewide. Costs would be enormous.
There’s no coincidence that the program was signed into law by Newsom, an unapologetic proponent of a single-payer health care system modeled after Healthy San Francisco that would surely break the state if implemented. Despite his Blue State disposition, at least Gov. Brown was realistic about the perils of statewide government-run health care. Newsom much less so.
At one time, before a succession of portside mayors and council members fundamentally transformed it, San Francisco was one of the world’s great cities. Sadly, it’s become a playground for the out-of-touch wealthy, a sanctuary for those who live off others, and a dystopia for the middle class.
The status quo was further firmed up by the defeat of Proposition 6, which would have repealed the $52 billion motor fuel take hike passed last year. It was sold as the only way to fix the state’s rotten roads. Instead, it’s an effort by lawmakers to avoid being held to account for decades of lavishly funding “progressive” government programs while neglecting infrastructure.
With the tax hike now safe, they have even more dollars to funnel to public transit, bicycle paths, and other social engineering programs intended to force Californians out of their cars. Morris Brown, founder of DERAIL, a group that opposes Brown’s bullet train, says that as much as 40 percent of the revenue raised from the tax hike will go to projects unrelated to roads.
Voters broke trend by rejecting Proposition 10. It would have loosed cities and counties to enact rent-control laws across the state and worsened the already miserable housing crisis. At least on this issue, and at least for now, renters and homeowners. It’s likely to be only a short respite, though.
The midterm elections did nothing but harden “California values.” Many are overjoyed with the results and the prospect of turning the state into an inky dark indigo. But those who’ve been forgotten by the California’s dominant party, as well as many a puzzled observer outside the state, are wondering why maximizing government and minimizing liberty is an outcome to be celebrated.