To my friends, it is very well known that my favorite professional sports teams are the San Francisco Giants and 49ers. Having grown up in The City with these clubs most likely means I will be a fan through eternity. There are other franchises I might follow for which my affiliation would be of the fair weather or band wagon variety. This means my support is dependent on if they are winning. Trying to convince voters to change their Democratic allegiances to become Republicans is almost as difficult as asking Niner fans to support the Silver and Black across the Bay. However, there is some middle ground that can be contested.
The political landscape of the Bay Area basically follows along the same lines as athletic entities. The vast majority of voters are Democrats to the exclusion of other parties. This accounts for them holding every Assembly and State Senate seat in the region.
So what does the Republican Party do with its tarnished image of catering to fat cats, hating the working man, opposing gay marriage, advocating stricter drug laws, and wanting to destroy the environment? Obviously, the answer is to rebuild the GOP as their losses in the 2012 election put them in an FOB Sidewalk position. With the Democratic landslide, liberals have gained a veto proof super majority in both houses of the legislature.
Faced with trying to offer a different alternative to the status quo, Republicans hope to improve their poor standing among voters and organizations who support their opponents. Faced with this seemingly hopeless task, the Party under the leadership Jim Brulte is trying to build up their organization from the bottom up.
This means starting a farm system modeled after baseball by supporting candidates for local positions such as school boards and city councils. When these individual win, it is hoped they can be groomed to carry on victorious campaigns against Democrats who are now virtually unopposed in general elections.
The poster child for the new GOP is Harry Sachs, who is running for the open City Council seat in San Ramon this November. He is highly qualified for the post having held positions on the Economic Development and Planning Commission since 2004. Sachs’ take on important issues facing San Ramon residents seem to be quite middle of the road and fit the non-partisan nature of the race.
His campaign literature states, “I am running for San Ramon City Council because I want to promote moderate growth policies, prioritize open space preservation and promote problem solving.” Sachs suppoorts fewer housing units because of growing impacts on traffic and schools. He is also concerned about “regional planning bureaucracies making demands on San Ramon which threaten our way of life.”
With this agenda it is difficult to peg Sachs as Democrat or Republican since his platform does not mention any of the hot button issues that characterize either of the political parties. While it would probably by more expedient for him to be an independent of or Democrat, Sachs is proudly wearing his GOP credentials in running for the city council seat.
“We are the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan. For me they represent the ideals of government that I think all Americans support,” he says.
Sachs wants to be the new face of Republicans “that needs to better understand the electorate. Most folks are concerned with space preservation and local control.” Republicans need to work with environmental groups, hear their concerns and expand their base locally. He also feels “voters are more libertarian on a variety of social issues than the general media gives them credit for.”
While the views of Sachs may challenge the current thinking of the Contra Costa GOP, it is a voice that needs to be heard if the party is to resurrect itself this decade. Such thinking is part of what Republican Chairman Brulte refers to “putting emphasis on winning elections as opposed to being on the right side of issues.”
Recent history has proven that referring to marijuana as a Gateway Drug, worrying about the moral decay of society, opposing all immigration reform, and scaring women about abortion, is not a winning formula for winning elections in Northern California.
Exploiting these types of emotional issues have allowed Democrats to successfully cover over their socialist agenda that includes:
1. Promoting the One Bay Area Plan, SB-1 and AB-1080 which the State takes away virtually all local control
in the urban planning process.
2. Passage of environmental regulations that neither make California greener or safer but rather act to stifle non service job creation in the State.
3. Paying for a bloated state work force along with its Cadillac pension plan where middle class and the more wealthy are being taxed to oblivion.
4. Destruction of what remains of the Sacramento Delta with a hair brained scheme to ship water to Southern California while at the same time disabling California’s farm economy.
5. Building a bullet train the State can not afford in the name of reducing green house gasses and climate change.
6. Allow the public school system to erode under the guidance of State and the Teacher’s Unions with no accountability for improving performance.
Given the above issues, it would appear that Harry Sachs and the leaders of the Republican Party have plenty of ammunition, (if you can still buy it) to confront the Democratic juggernaut in elections to come. The biggest challenge will be to educate voters whose views tend to be in the middle of the political spectrum, that Republicans are going to improve the quality of their lives more than their entitlement addicted opponents.
This task may prove to be a more difficult challenge than converting 49er fans into becoming devotees of the Oakland Raiders. The material (issues are there) for the GOP to pick itself off the mat and become relevant once again. Lets not forget the immortal words of John Madden “Victory is a deodorant that covers over most all faults.” Or as his former boss Al Davis constantly chirped, “Just Win baby!”