It’s official, the Republican Party has been wiped out of California. Decimated isn’t even the right word, with its origins in the Roman military punishment by “removal of a tenth,” as that implies there might be a Republican still standing somewhere on the Left Coast.
And this is only the slightest of hyperbole. Even Orange County, fire-engine red birthplace of Richard Nixon and aerospace weapons of mass destruction, is now represented in Congress exclusively by Democrats — for the first time since the 1930s, when up was down and Dems were the more racist of the two parties.
This might leave you wondering, like the apoplectic centrist pundit class: Now What? But please save your wondering-powers for the truly unknowable of life’s mysteries, like why a benevolent creator allows suffering to exist or where exactly in the dryer that lone missing sock goes.
Because we know what happens, we’ve seen it time and time again. Republicans in blue districts seemingly inject themselves with rabies so as better to froth at the mouth, while Democrats in red districts vote like Joe Manchin and Democrats in the safest of blue districts are Nancy “Bipartisan Marketplace of Ideas” Pelosi or Chuck “$1.6 Billion For the Wall and Not a Penny More” Schumer.
We saw what Democrat governance looks like with SB 562, when a super majority in the State Senate passed a single-payer healthcare bill, only for it to die in committee in the Democrat-controlled State Assembly, saving our Democrat governor the embarrassment of vetoing it. Despite the fact that, nationally, 85% of registered Dems and 53% or registered Republicans support a single-payer, Medicare For All system.
And we saw it on election night, long before the Blue Wave™ crested, when the presumptive Speaker of the House said: “We will strive for bipartisanship, with fairness on all sides.” Pelosi hadn’t yet even won back the house majority for certain at the time she said this, promising “to find our common ground where we can” with a death cult run by racist xenophobes hellbent on exterminating the only known life in all of creation. And that’s not even to mention way back in June when she promised to bring back the goddamned “pay-go” rule.
With leadership like this, who needs enemies.
Because we’ve also seen what happens under one-party government. Nazis on the fascist-right, Stalin’s gulags on the authoritarian-left, and more recently Google’s evil-as-fuck Dragonfly project in coordination with China’s state-capitalism. Of course this is all conflating state, national, and international politics on a sweeping historical scale, but the point remains.
You could say, and I would agree with you, that our two-party system is really already one corporate party, ruling solely in the interests of the donor class. In fact, Princeton University agrees with you, and “researchers concluded [in a 2014 study] that the U.S. is dominated by its economic elite.” But you didn’t need fancy-pants Ivy Leaguers to tell you what’s so blindingly obvious: either the other side is a mass of unhinged lunatics or they’re not. Either elections have consequences or they don’t, and any system in which the peaceful transition of power hands the nuclear authorization codes to Donald J. Trump — our duly- and constitutionally-elected President — that system could not conceivably function if elections had fundamental policy consequences.
Republicans fight like the governing party matters. Witness the blatant, legislative coup attempts in North Carolina in 2016, and those currently attempted in Wisconsin and Michigan through lame-duck sessions of the state legislatures aimed at limiting the power of incoming Democrats.
Democrats fight for the chance to compromise.
That said, California is on fire. Again. Each year brings the worst, most destructive, and deadliest wildfire in our state’s history, each year breaking the previous year’s record. We face a truly existential threat in environmental collapse, and yet make no mistake about it: California is now an actual one-party state and the Democrats are about to rest their smug asses on what they consider laurels (i.e. money).
The #Resistance pundits want you — expect you — to sit down and shut up. Go back to brunch because we won, they tell us, the big Ds are back in office. Just lie back and enjoy the Russiagate Impeachment Show while CNN and MSNBC collectively orgasm over their ad-revenue, and forget that California added tens of thousands to the ranks of the already staggering number of houseless residents in the past month — and these far from the first climate refugees to be internally displaced in the U.S. Forget that Democrats for a brief moment pledged not to take donations from the fossil fuel industry, until Tom Perez, in one of his first acts as DNC Chair, turned the tap back on to get that sweet, sweet oil money flowing again to the Dems.
Meanwhile the party continues leaping to the right, claiming fear of alienating some mythical California Republican who obviously doesn’t fucking exist since the entire Republican party was laid waste across the field in the midterm. We want a leftist, progressive government. That’s why we overwhelmingly elected what passes for Left in our country, and that’s why we are going to have to stand up and mobilize harder now than ever.
And for an idea of what’s in store for us, consider the political and media establisment’s reaction to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, being tsk-tsk’d hither and yon for daring to join mass protests outside Nancy Pelosi’s office.
If there’s a place to build a true workers’ party, it’s here in California where in our “jungle primary” system we regularly have two Democrats facing off in the general election. But either way, new third party or no, we simply must push the political spectrum in California to the left by any means necessary.