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Thursday, September 5, 2013
Remaking the GOP: California Republicans Try to Reenergize the Party
By Selected News Articles @ 9:27 PM :: 4429 Views :: Republican Party

Remaking the GOP: California Republicans Try to Reenergize the Party

The California Republican Party’s willingness to embrace unconventional leadership may provide insights into what the GOP will need to do to win elections nationally in the coming era of the white minority.

by John Buntin, Governing Magazine, September, 2013

Harmeet Dhillon was reluctant to run for office.

For one thing, the attorney from San Francisco is a Sikh, a member of a distinctive ethnic group from the Indian subcontinent. She worried that voters wouldn’t be receptive to a candidate from such an unfamiliar background. She was also concerned that some voters might object to her service on the board of the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Not voters in San Francisco, of course. Being a non-Christian, Indian-American who strongly supports the ACLU, after all, is hardly an electoral handicap there. But Dhillon wasn’t running for elected office in San Francisco; she was running for the vice chairmanship of the California state Republican Party.

For the GOP today, California serves as the boogeyman. Conservative thinkers such as Joel Kotkin see the state’s chronic deficits, towering unfunded pension liabilities and bankrupt municipalities as the embodiment of a Democratic Party run amok. They see California as a cautionary tale of what happens when the Democrats take power.

It wasn’t always so. California is the place the conservative movement was born, the state where conservatism was transformed from an ideology devoted, in the late William Buckley’s words, to “standing athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!,’” into the ideology of Sunbelt prosperity. If last November’s election results offer a guide to the future, it may also be the place the GOP goes to die.

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