We live in a perpetual cycle of political campaigning, which leaves public officials too little time to govern. And, yes, it tires the public.
In the spirit of the campaign season, let's look at a recent conversation that gives perhaps a not-so-startling clue about where progressive Democrats would like to see America go.
A radio broadcast, KCRW's "Scheer Intelligence," hosted by Robert Scheer, featured Georgetown Law professor Peter Edelman in a two-part, hour-long interview about the state of Democrat politics. The radio show covered the history of the Democratic Party in the first segment; a suggested path to the future was covered in the second half hour.
Lest anyone is unclear about the political leanings of Scheer and Edelman, know that the program started with both reminiscing about their acquaintance beginning in the days of Bobby Kennedy, the brother of President John F. Kennedy who served as U.S. attorney general and was running to be the Democratic nominee for president in 1968. Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian, for his support of Israel.
In the second episode, both men bemoaned the rightward shift the Democratic Party took over a couple of decades. The party, they agreed, had simply stopped speaking to the needs of people, and that ultimately resulted in the outcomes seen in the 2016 election.
Then, the praise of the "deepest of the blue states" begins, and listeners learned which state serves as the best model for the future of the new center-left.
The basis of their hope to see America become just like California by applying progressive Democratic policies is rooted in legitimate concerns over poverty and education. However, they discuss things such as unions, redistribution of wealth and, as learned from information gleaned through the entire broadcast, imply that poor people are imprisoned unjustly.
This same broadcast was referenced by Scheer in a HuffPost article, "Why California Is a Progressive Model for the Democratic Party." Scheer criticizes the large population in state prisons and argues "on questions of undocumented workers, on trade unions on a whole series of issues, the Democratic Party in California is associated with progressive politics ." Edelman voices his support in response, "Without saying that everything is perfect, this state has been moving in a kind of politics that I do think we should be trying to push and argue for around the country."
What's happening in California these days that's so praiseworthy? Let's see. It's a sanctuary state, meaning that current immigration laws are not enforced, and an open border policy is supported. Taxes in the Golden State for individuals and businesses are among the highest in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation. A key issue in the 2018 state elections is universal or single-payer health care run by the state. Notice these don't include the radical social issues of the state.
California has its own debt clock that tallies spending. Recently, the debt clock showed the state spending more than $570 billion annually but only collecting $470 billion in tax revenue. You see the math problem here?
As national elections approach, despite all the frustrations Republican voters have with our elected officials at the federal level, we can be thankful we can see an enormous difference in governance at the state and local levels.
Americans must reject any attempt to become California.
Robin Smith, a former chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party, owns Rivers Edge Alliance.