The Placer GOP is a microcosm of what is going on in the State GOP.
ON Wednesday, the Placer GOP will meet to organize. This includes electing officers.
It is not clear who is going to win. This is a sad irony as in 2012, 100K+ was spent on Mail and Slate Mail Cards attempting to influence the outcome of the election. In 2012, the Tea Party were supported by the consultants and donors over then members of the CRA. In 2016, the Tea Party were largely passed over by the Donors/Consultants in favor of Staffers and a collection of local moderates and country-clubbers. As a result, there has been paralysis within the Placer GOP since the jihad against the Andy Pugno supporters from 2012 was launched.
Those of us that supported Andy Pugno have been vindicated as the Tea Partiers have turned on their masters because they (even though they have been extremely slow on the uptake) have learned the truth about the Gaines who we rebelled against in 2011. In 2012, Myself and others were punished by the Consultant Oligarchy for not supporting the incumbents.
Today’s Placer GOP fight pits a team of pseudo-conservative malconents, and real conservative activists against a coalition of Legislative Staff, Country-Clubbers and Moderates. It is amazing as the good people on the opposition side are not the leaders of it.
This sort of bizarre dynamic is playing out all over the State. Placer is an exception to the rule as the CRA’s Pol-Pot Bellied Information Minister, the Neurotic Former Placer GOP Chairman and the former Police Detective are actually organized and have a group with regular meetings. This is an amazing accomplishment that I give a non-sarcastic hat-tip to as most groups of conservatives devolve in to pseudo-ideological battles for superiority of purity. California has dozens, if not hundreds of tea party and Conservative Splinter Groups. The Conservative side is not organized as a rule and this is one of the reasons that the Moderates / Consultant Oligarchy control everything (such as it is) in the CAGOP.
There are about 4 moderate groups and one oligarchy of Consultants surrounding one mega-donor Charles Munger.
In 2016, Mr. Munger paid a who’s who of Republican Consultants, many of whom have lost a ton of races in recent years, a ton of money to influence the results of safe-seat primaries and county party elections. Mr. Munger also spent money attempting to save liberal Republican David Hadley, who was defeated. He spent heavily on another moderate, Ling-Ling Chang for State Senate who was defeated by 3,000 votes. There were others, as well.
Amazingly, locally, they spent about $200k on Bill Halldin before coming to the conclusion that Halldin was not going to beat Kevin Kiley. But they spent over $300k attacking Andy Pugno.
Without belaboring the effectiveness of the mail (or lack thereof), etc. that these consultants were paid thousands to run, let’s take a look at the numbers (which are my estimations):
Appx $1.7 Million spent on County Party Races. They mailed in to counties from Shasta all the way to San Diego. The targets were long time known Conservative Activists in many places. In other places, the targets were people that the consultant oligarchy had a personal beef with. I am not sure if Mr. Munger was fully aware of the second nexus when he wrote the checks. The beneficiaries in all cases were the moderates, country clubbers and conservatives seen most likely to align with the interests of the consultant oligarchy.
Appx $500k was spent putting a string of Republican Candidates on the ballot in hopeless districts. Each of these will get 1-5 Convention Delegates to the State Party. In some cases, slate mail cards were purchased.
The above two expenditures are the reason why I estimate that the Consultant Oligarchy has direct control of half the delegates to the CAGOP and has sway over another 25%.
Appx $6 Million was spent on an array of legislative races. AD12 saw Mr. Munger invest heavily defeating stalwart Conservative Ken Vogel in favor of the socially liberal Heath Flora. AD12 is one of a handful of safe Republican Assembly seats. I also mentioned three other races that saw significant expenditures – there were others.
To the best of my knowledge, there were few, if any other significant independent efforts on behalf of Republicans by other groups (other than CREPAC). It could be said that Charles Munger is about the only game in town for Republicans looking to do independent (or benefit from) expenditures. The usual suspects participated with Munger on a much smaller scale.
Everyone has a theory for why the CAGOP has gone in to the toilet. Let me summarize the most popular:
- Pro-Life is a loser
- Yes on Prop 8 is a loser
- Prop 187 (the English Only thing) from 24 years ago stil haunts the GOP
- Failure to do minority outreach
But the one you never hear is about the shrinking oligarchy that has systematically centralized control over candidate recruitment, finance and the day to day operations of the party itself. The California Republican Party has become the Consultant Party, not the Activist Party.
The problem is, when so many of the activists are flawed, contemptible, personally corrupt people – can you blame those with Money for spending a ton of it trying to keep them out? Their unstable behavior certainly makes those seeking to buy control of everything have a much easier time justifying why.
Welcome to the Placer GOP Cent Com fight. The leaders of the opposition – who I agree with on the issues of the day (even though at least two of them were not Trump Supporters) are people I neither trust nor respect.
In Ohio, just yesterday, the John Kasich team was swept out of power by the Trump supporters. In the prior election, Trump decimated the democrats from top to bottom in Ohio. In California, many on the Conservative side and liberal side missed the Trump Train completely. In fact, the new CAGOP Vice Chair was a nevertrumper, a former CAGOP Chair was the leader of it in California and still another Conservative Blogger/Consultant from Orange County admitted in his recent post advocating for people to unify behind Trump that he did his part to help Trump lose California by 4.28 Million Votes! (He also lost his seat on the OCGOP courtesy of the effort led by the Consultant Oligarchy)
California is Special. We seem to be immune from what other states are learning and figuring out. Ohio and Iowa don’t look to be so swingy any more, they look light red. Wisconsin has gone GOP top to bottom because of strong leadership with a clear vision…
… I believe Jim Brulte has a vision. I support his re-election as State Chair. But, beyond him where is it?
I am not sure if Kristen Olsen the newly appointed CAGOP Vice-Chair has such a vision as she was virulently Anti-Trump.
I take note that Anti-Trump David Hadley was unseated. Anti-Trump Scott Jones lost a Congressional Race he should have won. Jeff Denham and David Valadao – who were hammered by the dems over trump – never publicly bailed on trump and both survived.
Has Kristen Olsen figured this dynamic out yet? Has the consultant oligarchy figured this out yet?
What are any of the aforementioned going to do to invigorate the party? Or is it simply about control as I am of the belief that it is.
And back again to the Placer GOP. The three “conservative leaders” also fail both of the above tests. They lack vision, but crave control. However, the actions of the Consultant Oligarchy have basically justified their behavior, reinforcing the concept of the donors and party insiders taking over everything. What a great circle. The Consultants taking control of everything and the Activists fighting against it, causing the consultants to use their insane, unstable behavior as a justification to spend more money.
AS I wrote at the beginning, I have no idea who will win the leadership war in Placer. I am publicly supporting the “establishment guy” Dennis Revell.
What I can tell you with certainty is this. If the opposition wins, there will be no money for the Placer GOP, because these so-called fiscal conservatives are deign to put their own money behind their activism (even though in my estimation, both Ken Campbell and Thomas N Hudson are multi-millionaires). If Mr. Revell and company win, will the Consultant Oligarchy abandon him once again as they did in 2012 when he was first elected?
You know what I think the answer is. Look at California – if it was not for Jim Brulte, the CAGOP would be dead. And, ironically, if it was not for millions spent registering voters by Charles Munger, the state GOP would already be at 20%.