By Rick Oltman, June 20, 2019
Gavin Newsom, governor of the “People’s Democratic Republic of California,” in a propaganda rant to Politico, declared that, “America in 2019 is California in the 1990s … The xenophobia, the nativism, the fear of ‘the other.’ Scapegoating. Talking down or past people. The hysteria. And so we’re not going to put up with that. We are going to push back.”
He predicted the national Republican Party will suffer the same fate as California’s and is destined for the “waste bin of history.” He then referenced the decline of the California GOP after former Governor Pete Wilson threw his support behind Proposition 187 in 1994.
Newsom repeated a well-known lie.
Proposition 187 was a grassroots effort to try to deal with the illegal immigration on the state level that was flooding into California in the early ‘90s.
That lie, that Proposition 187 led to the decline of the Republican Party in California, has been circulated over the years in an attempt to stop any effort to enforce our immigration laws. It is pure propaganda.
If anything led to the decline of the California Republican Party (CRP), it was their lack of support and follow-up to the tremendous victory in November of 1994, when against all odds and opposition from practically everyone on both sides of the political aisle, both in the state and nationally, we won an outstanding victory with near 59% of the vote.
A brief summary of 187: The measure proposed to make immigrants residing in the country without legal permission ineligible for public social services, public health care services (except emergency services required under federal law), and public education at elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. The measure proposed requiring various state and local agencies to report persons suspected of residing in the country without legal permission to the California Attorney General and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service.
We had no support nationally, and very little from the state until Governor Pete Wilson eventually endorsed our initiative in an effort to win reelection in 1994. He contributed several hundred thousand dollars and ran TV ads, the most effective one being the so-called Banzai Charge: herds of illegal aliens successfully running through the port of entry near San Diego.
The goal of the initiative was so popular with California voters that we won by 16 points, taking 50 counties, only 8 voted against it. Governor Pete Wilson won reelection, overcoming a 20-point deficit and winning by 15 points. A 35-point increase AFTER he endorsed Prop 187.
Indisputably, immigration reform, as we called it then, was popular with California voters.
After winning, 187 got tied up in the notorious Ninth Circuit Court, of course. And that is where the voters got let down. The CRP did nothing to help with the court case.
I was the chairman of the “Yes on 187-Save Our State” campaign (one of three in the state) and a voting member of the CRP, and a CRP committee co-chair, and I could not get an appointment with the incoming CRP chairman, or even talk to him on the phone about strategy and next steps after our terrific victory.
The CRP did not want to do anything to get one of the most popular initiatives in recent history out of the lower courts.
Prop 187 was still popular years later when in 2003, California Governor Gray Davis became the second governor in U.S. history to be recalled by the voters. Davis was recalled, largely, because he illegally euthanized Proposition 187. Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor at that time, but he never did anything to try to solve the illegal immigration problem.
Probably the best anecdote comes from an election over 15 years after 187’s victory of a pro-immigration law enforcement candidate to the California Assembly. He won by telling voters he supported Arizona Senate Bill 1070, “The Arizona Law,” which was well known nationally at the time as the broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration measure passed in the United States. At one of his first meetings with party members in Sacramento, a leader in the CRP told the newly elected assemblyman, “Now we don’t talk about illegal immigration here.” The response was: “Well, you see, you got that wrong, because that’s what got me elected.”
As administration after administration, both in Sacramento and Washington D.C., did nothing to halt the invasion of illegal aliens, California’s middle class, watching the decline accelerate, moved to other states taking their money and their votes with them. The voting demographic that replaced them was low income, and many were illegal aliens. And the support for the Republicans in California quickly withered away.
The late Sam Francis (1947-2005) is credited with dubbing the Republican Party, “the stupid party.” When I first heard that term being used, I immediately thought of the CRP.
Politics and political parties aside, when there is irrefutable public support for an issue like immigration enforcement, and the political elites ignore that issue, they certainly qualify for the moniker, “Stupid Party.”
You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. [Winston Churchill.]
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