Republicans hope to see gains in California
Ken Mehlman, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, has been traveling to California every 6 weeks in hopes of bringing California into the Republican column.
Mehlman cites Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s star power as well as changing demographics as reasons for the Republican Party’s optimism in a state Bush lost by 10 points in the 2004 presidential election. During his recent trips to the state, he has visited Hispanic, black and Asian American areas of the state emphasizing the GOPs commitment to economic self-reliance and traditional family values.
Mehlman may be overstating the GOP’s cause, especially in relation to Governor Schwarzenegger’s star power. The governor’s rise to national prominence within political circles is due, in part, to his willingness to break with the President and the national Republican Party on issues such as gay rights, legalized abortion and stricter gun controls. Schwarzenegger has also staked out a position far to the left of the Bush administration on environmental issues.
The Republicans can be successful in California. But, they will need to learn from Schwarzenegger, who has broken with the Republican Party on many issues that are important to Centrist voters, rather than attempt to impose the views of the national party on the state.