Democratic

Part 1: The “Please, Don’t Hit Me” Party

After spending a few days in Washington, D.C. interacting with party leaders and activists from across the country, listening to their stories and asking questions about their organizational structure and how they communicate to the public; It became clear that the battle ground members and those leading the massive marches in DC and yesterday in Berkeley, are fighters, willing to push back and take on the challenge, while many, California Republicans, have adopted the, “Please, Don’t Hit Me” strategy.

California Democrats deserve credit, for taking almost any issue and converting it into a crisis. They use this approach to mobilize thousands of people through email, social media and community organizations; with a unified voice, they blame it all on Republicans.

A few weeks ago they began spending $25,000 a month of taxpayer money to hire former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, nearly a month before Donald J. Trump took the oath of office, because of Trump’s campaign speeches.

Trump was sworn in office just ten days ago and when Holder was hired, no one knew what policies or changes he would actually suggest to congress, or who will fill all of the Secretary posts, or what executive orders he will undo. This single move, of hiring Eric Holder blanketed the airways, newspapers, social media, and was used to mobilize communities around the notion that: Donald Trump is dangerous to California and we need protection.

California Democrats charged that Trump would attack California on climate change, immigration, Obamacare, and stated, “‘[Holder] will be our lead litigator, and he will have a legal team of expert lawyers on the issues of climate change, women and civil rights, the environment, immigration, voting rights — to name just a few,’ Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said in an interview.”

The best part of this Democratic strategy is the claim that it is being done in the name of bipartisanship, when the actions taken have been strictly partisan.

As an example, the California Democratic leadership has said, they fear Donald Trump will begin with massive deportations, yet Trump’s last comments dealt with deporting only undocumented immigrants that are criminals and finding a solution for the rest. Where was that anger and fear, when President Obama was deporting three million immigrants? Why wasn’t Eric Holder hired then? The reason is that the Democrats’ strategy is to blame Republicans, as Republicans sit idle and accept the blame.

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While some Republicans are comfortable with their crumbs, others are afraid of reprisal and some just lack a spine.

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The Democratic Party has controlled both houses of the state legislature for the better part of 20 years. Yet opposition research, policy challenges, and contrasts usually happen during the election season, when it should be occurring 24-hours, 365 days out of the year.

There should be other opinions and challenges inserted into the conversation and that requires a new strategy of a willingness to “push back,” rather than the tendency to not act and simply say, “Please, Don’t Hit Me.”

A Lesson for California – Mexico in Peril over Increased Gas Prices

As Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government increased gas prices by 30 cents a gallon on New Year’s Day, the Mexican people took to the streets in protest, blocking roads, burning debris, blocking gasoline service stations and waving banners asking for Peña Neito to resign.

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The gasolinazo – the gasoline price hike – prompted taxi cab drivers, truckers, agricultural workers and other irate citizens to block the main highways into Mexico City this past week.

“Outside one gas station in the centre of the captial, Manuel López, a mechanic, stood defiantly in front of the pumps. Ironically, López does not own a car – he sold it because of Mexico’s ongoing economic downturn – but he said the size and shock of the gasolinazo had sent him into the streets.

‘It’s an economic issue,’ said López, 24. ‘Salaries are not very good. If gasoline goes up, it provokes an inflation in the cost of the items we consume daily,’ he added, reciting a list of common complaints among Mexicans. ‘The first thing that gets hit are people’s pocketbooks.’”

As the gazolinazo takes center stage in Mexico, in their northern neighbor of California, several Democrat legislators have introduced their own gas tax proposal that could drive the current gasoline tax of 58.83 cents to 70.83 cents per gallon.

Like clockwork, Democrats introduce a handful of gas tax measures like Senate Bill 350 and oil severance, while the California Air Resources Board (a government agency appointed by Governor Jerry Brown) is looking at its own set of gas-hike proposals.

Since the Great Recession, California’s economy has been growing. Unemployment is down, more than two million have been created in a six-year span, but this recovery hasn’t been shared equally by all. As Dan Walters of The Sacramento Bee recently noted, “The technology-heavy San Francisco Bay Area has almost single-handedly lifted California’s economy and while other regions are better off than they were during the depths of the recession, their recoveries have been more sluggish. The question hanging over the state, therefore, is whether technology can continue to buoy its economy, or whether another recession is just waiting to happen.”

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A 2015 report by United Ways of California, Struggling to Get By, noted, “One in three California households (31%) do not have sufficient income to meet their basic costs of living. This is three times the proportion officially considered poor in California, according to the Federal Poverty Level that averages low cost-of-living states with those that have higher cost-of-living, such as California.

Households led by people of color are disproportionately likely to have incomes too low to make up the difference. State statistics show 51% of Latino households and 40% of African-American households have incomes below the Real Cost Measure. They are followed by Asian-American households (28%) and Caucasian households (20%).”

Even with the two million new jobs — with the largest gains made in low-paying restaurant, hotel and retail industries — and a slowly rebounding economy, will California Democrats follow the lead of Mexican President Enrique Peña Neito and create our own regressive gasolinazo to unfairly punish the poor?