For those of us in California, election night 2008 was not at all pleasant. To be blunt, we had our clocks cleaned and I am the first to say that we more than deserved it.
So, what do we do from here?
First, I can only relate why there were problems from my little corner of California, the Western San Gabriel valley.
Today's Pasadena Star-News had an analysis of the presidential election and two controversial ballot initiatives. The first was Proposition Four that dealt with parental notification of a minor getting an abortion. The second was Proposition Eight that restored the traditional definition of marriage as one man and one woman.
Of the 11 cities that make up the Western San Gabriel Valley, start with the presidential election. President-elect Barack Obama got 59% of the vote compared to Republican Sen. John McCain's 39%. To be blunt, that is a very embarrassing number for Sen. McCain. But, by the same token, there were 10% more people voting this time around and many for the first time and no doubt for President-elect Obama.
On Proposition Four, the measure would have failed (as it did statewide, 48%-52%) by a 49%-51% margin. And it is the current ceiling as to where the West San Gabriel Valley and the state of California on the whole are on the matter of parental notification.
And where Proposition Eight is concerned, it passed slightly more than the statewide vote (which was 52%-48%) by a 53%-47% margin.
Now, I can write and moan that there was so much against us and the economy and an unpopular president. But, that is just making excuses. There is a glaring number that can not be denied.
That number is 1,916,745.
That is the number of less voters as reported by USA Today that voted in California in 2004 versus 2008.
And worse, is this number.
That is the number difference between President George W. Bush's vote total in 2004 and Sen. John McCain's in 2008.
Fewer voters, more voting for the other candidate and a lot of ticket splitting on not just propositions, but congressional races as well.
So, what can the state and local Republican party do to change it for the mid-term election in 2010?
First, the state party must make it imperative that when candidates are recruited, that they are serious candidates. If some one runs just to get their name on the ballot and has no interest in running a serious campaign, they should not be considered.
Second, make the message about the issues that matter to everyday Californians from a conservative perspective.
By that the state and county Republican party's must talk about the state budget and the mess that it is in. But offer concrete solutions. Talk about cutting duplicate programs, giving leeway to local governments to opt out and let the state have that money to apply to other areas of the budget. Cutting, not raising taxes in the middle of what is clearly a recession.
Education. The need for high standards, bars to reach, education choice whether it is in public schools and or private schools. Strengthening community colleges and trade schools. Not making it easier for anyone to go to a state college or university but challenging.
Those are two issues and there are so many more.
One other thing that I learned this past election.
Give a reason for a voter to vote for you rather than against the other candidate. That is what President-elect Obama did and that is a huge reason why he is the president-elect of the United States.
And, the California Republican party has to compete everywhere in this state. We can not write off whole parts of the state as we can not win election when we give up before we start. That means we have to find serious candidates to run in assembly and state senate districts in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Same for Los Angeles and Los Angeles County. Also, we have to be more aggressive than the Democrats in registering voters. An example is a local farmer's market in Monrovia. When Mrs. rightviewfromtheleftcoast and I have gone over the years, the Democrats are loaded with their propaganda and at least two young to middle-age volunteers. If the Republicans do have a table and or propaganda, it is all but barren and manned by a well-meaning volunteer. But, that volunteer is usually older than Methuselah. Sorry, but that is the case and while it is caving to image, it is important when trying to attract new voters.
There is a lot to do, but giving up is not one of them.
Republicans need new, forward looking leadership in California. It is there and we need to be willing to bring those new leaders to the fold. If not, we will end up like the Massachusetts Republican party. Yes, there is a Massachusetts GOP, but not much of one. California deserves better and if you are a Cali GOPer, please forward this to anyone else you know. We need to get working and right away because 2010 will be around the corner before you know it.