The Death of the Republican Party

Where does a Mike Wasserman, Laurie Smith or Jim Cunneen go?

These quintessential Silicon Valley moderate Republicans are out of step with their current party. They are tolerated as Republicans, but with no real enthusiasm from the declining, myopic base of their current party. Republicans are an endangered species in California and the moderates within the party have been driven out by the hard-right agenda that is an anathema to a growing multicultural state.

Exacerbating the problem is the Republicans’ failure to understand math and supporting initiatives that ensure their rapid decline and position of power in California.

The first initiative was a fair reapportionment. For years, Republicans chafed at being a minority party. The cause, they believed, was a reapportionment system that benefitted incumbent Democrats. It also, parenthetically, benefitted republican incumbents.

Republicans are often challenged by math questions, as Bill Clinton pointed out to a national audience last night. But the simple fact is that by making the system fair, more democratic seats were created. Democrats should pick up at least five house members and Democrats will increase their majorities in the legislature, possibly to 2/3’s majority—eliminating even the obstructionist power Republicans have in state government.

The second initiative championed by Republicans was the “open primary.” Because Republicans are so marginalized, in 12 Assembly races and four state Senate races, Republicans are not even on the ballot. Democrats are on the ballot in every state Senate race and only five Assembly races don’t have a Democrat.

More importantly, Republicans have no statewide elected leader at all. The last two who served, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Steve Poizner, were both considered suspect because of their willingness to engage with Democrats for policy purposes.

Which brings us back to Wasserman, Smith and Cunneen—all who whom are willing to work with their political opponents to get things done. They personify the Silicon Valley pragmatism of former icons Becky Morgan, Pete McCloskey and former Marin Assemblyman Bill Bagley.

In short, they only have two options: join the Democratic Party, which welcomes diversity and allows fiscal competence a voice in the party, or start a third party, which takes millions of dollars and has yet to be successful.

There is a third option: do nothing, stay in your current party and become extinct politically with the rest of the far right in California. So far that has been the road chosen by Mr. Cunneen. But that choice is not beneficial to the public, which is served by these individuals. It’s also not reflective of the innovation and adaptation that defines Silicon Valley leadership.

Rich Robinson is a political consultant in Silicon Valley.

Rich Robinson is an attorney and political consultant in Silicon Valley. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.


  1. Rich, how about a fourth option, retirement from public “service?”  Why is it you think that these folks must be life-long public trough-feeders?  Is that what it’s come to now, putting the public slop bag on one’s face for life? 

    Why can’t these people find real jobs in the private sector, is it so terrible to actually do something productive rather than suck on the taxpayer teat for one’s entire life?!

    You are correct about California – it’s not worth a plug nickel to Republicans.  There’s really no sense for any conservative politician of national stature to fiddle around with this near bankrupt state.

    • You mean the State that, along with New York and few other Democratic majority states, contribute to over 90% of the ENTIRE economy?  The one, that if it was truly near bukruptcy would doom the nation into certain depression?

      You,Sir, are either quite misinformed or are being willfully disingenuous with reality and facts. I’m surprised you got the question right to post that comment… Unless you simply narrowed down the choices…

      When public servants, politician or otherwise, leave their jobs for the private sector it’s people like you who grab pitchforks and scream, “Double dipper!”  When folks move between private sector jobs and keep bonuses or stock options, I’ve never heard boo from a teacher or firefighter about how they need to be brought down to public sector level for bonuses and options (none).  Your fake fiscal conservation is not lost on me simply because you use the asinine term “troug-feeder”.  You are jealous and spiteful.

      • My gosh, a personal attack on me because I spoke my mind.  Would you have the “thought police” collect me at my door and torture me until I think like you?!

  2. In other words:
    “Republicans. Prepare to be assimilated.
    Resistance is futile.”

    My only question for Mr. Robinson is,
    “Are you SURE you’re in favor of diversity?”

    Sounds to me like he won’t be satisfied until everybody in California thinks exactly alike.

    • Obviously you are not familiar with the Democratic Party.  Described by Abraham Lincoln; “Democrats are like cats in a barn.  You listen to them and they sound like they are tearing each other apart; but when you open up the barn door all they are really doing is making more democrats.”

      The point being is that democrats hold very different views within the party.  But they do reject unreasonable views—for that you have to become a Republican.  wink

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