Trump can save Republicans and restore sanity to California in 2018

Trump can save Republicans and restore sanity to California in 2018
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump’s turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE came to California last week and made a rhetorical down payment on winning continued Republican control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections, which may hang in the balance over seven competitive suburban districts in California currently held by GOP incumbents. Four of these districts rest in the traditionally strong Republican stronghold of Orange County. In 2016, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump’s turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE carried all these districts, but the congressional incumbents held on.

The California electorate’s response to Trump’s message could perhaps be the most determinative factor in this election cycle. In this context, Trump went to the border and said what had to be said, but is rarely heard out here: The wall is necessary for law and order, and sanctuary cities and sanctuary state laws endanger law-abiding citizens by protecting criminals who are here illegally from prosecution and deportation.

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Although the leftist political class has pulled on the heartstrings of Californians for decades to have compassion for vulnerable illegal immigrants, recent events are overtaking politics. The political landscape feels like it’s beginning to shift. With the passage of Propositions 47 and 57, and Assembly Bill 109, more than 25,000 felons have been released early, contributing to a crime wave. A state court judge ruled that some prisoners found guilty of sexual crimes might be eligible for early release while interpreting these new laws. With more violence and an overwhelmed law enforcement community, Californians are feeling less safe than at anytime in living memory.

Even in liberal bastions like Santa Monica, in its online chat rooms and community meetings, neighbors are starting to unite around public safety as the first priority of local government. If this phenomenon continues to develop, Trump’s message of linking the border wall to law and order has the potential to motivate not just the base and practical-minded Independents, but maybe all but the most ardent leftists, because we all feel markedly less safe as of late.

At another stop on the California swing, Trump remarked how our state taxes are two to three times higher than they should be, and that the state is poorly managed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Trump likely should have also called out the state legislature. The recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act sharply reduced the amount of state and local taxes Californians could deduct from their federal taxable income. That has taxpayers looking more closely at the state’s personal income tax rates, which are the highest in the country, and questioning Sacramento’s unrepentant spending addiction to public employee union compensation and benefit packages.

At the risk of stating the obvious, there are some significant structural headwinds. California has what are called “jungle primaries” in which the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, qualify for the runoff. In last year’s Senate race, that resulted in two Democrats and zero Republicans battling in November, and many feel this is a trend that will continue this fall. With no Republicans at the top of the ballot, no one is making the conservative case to Californians, so GOP turnout in general elections is suppressed, leading to misleadingly lopsided outcomes.

These lopsided outcomes are misleading because voter registration is almost evenly split between Democrats, Republicans and Independents, with the latter being the fastest growing group. The practical side of most California voters is best seen at the local nonpartisan government level, especially in smaller towns where municipal government is often de facto controlled by Republicans. The reason common sense and practicality is not reflected in Sacramento is because public employee unions, funded by compulsory dues, control the nomination and election processes for all statewide offices and for enough districts to maintain supermajorities in both the California state senate and assembly.

Trump’s comments on law and order, over-taxation and gross mismanagement in California was a good start, but more needs to be done. He needs to come back and talk about how Republican economic policies bolster African American and Hispanic employment, pay and opportunity. He needs to reveal how the teachers union that dominates public schools fails to graduate half of their students ready for college or the workplace, but they never fail to raise teacher pay. More school choice is desperately needed.

The state also has a housing crisis. California needs more than three million new homes over the next decade to meet the current and anticipated population. We are seeing record homelessness and an entire generation shut out of the opportunity for home ownership. Trump is a builder, and he could talk about how to get those homes built and how the federal government can help.

California is Exhibit 1 in demonstrating how the liberal policies espoused by national Democrats lead to over-taxation, mismanagement, lawlessness and failure. If you elect them, your state will also be over-taxed, mismanaged, you will be less safe and your public schools will fail to provide your children a quality education. Trump should come back and highlight these issues to help restore sanity to California and return a Republican majority to the House of Representatives in November.

Dan Palmer is a Republican donor and conservative political strategist. He served as executive director of United We Stand, planned the potential transition of Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWisconsin GOP Senate candidate rips his own parents for donations to Dems The Memo: Trump leaves chaos in his wake in UK Beto O'Rourke is dominating Ted Cruz in enthusiasm and fundraising — but he's still headed for defeat MORE, and supported the campaigns of Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHouse GOP reverses, cancels vote on Dem bill to abolish ICE Pelosi: 'The Russians have something on the president' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Putin meet under cloud of Mueller’s Russia indictments MORE and Donald Trump. Find him on Facebook @RealDanPalmer.