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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Republican California Governor Thiel?

By Douglas V. Gibbs
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California was a comfortably Republican-leaning State during most of the previous century, with the last GOP presidential candidate winning California in 1988.  Since then, the Golden State has turned deep blue, culminating in 2016 with a 61.5% vote for Hillary Clinton, and a return to a Democrat supermajority in the State legislature.  California Republicans are at a major disadvantage in the State.  They feel like California is a lost cause.

Perhaps all the dark blue State of California needs is its own Donald Trump to run for governor.  Maybe they need someone proclaiming, "Make California Great Again."  With the looming possibilities of candidates even farther left than Jerry Brown, such as former San Francisco Mayor and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and former Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa throwing their hat in the ring, things look dire for California.  With a deeper Democrat bench, and an open primary that results in situations like in 2016 when the State had two Democrats on the general election ballot for Senator, the possibility of a Republican having any chance against the Democrats seems to be somewhere between nil and none.

In 2014 a Republican candidate by the name of Tim Donnelly held a solid second place approaching California's open primary where only the top two vote winners go on to the bonus round in November.  The California Republican Party, not happy about Donnelly's Tea Party affiliation, or strong conservative platform, spent its money, brought in money, and brought in Mitt Romney and George W. Bush to take on the right-leaning Donnelly by importing and supporting Neel Kashkari, a moderate who was involved in the creation of the controversial stimulus package at the tale-end of George W. Bush's presidency that was sold as being necessary to save the United States from economic catastrophe.

In short, Kashkari was the kind of liberal progressive Republican that the GOP has been erroneously convinced is necessary to win in elections like the gubernatorial fight in California.

Donnelly didn't have the funding to battle Kashkari's entrance, and placed third in the primary.  Kashkari, however, then lost to Brown in the general election the following November.

The Republican Party, save for the Kashkari debacle, doesn't bother spending money in California.  Trump didn't even bother visiting the State during his successful presidential run in 2016.  They all believe it is a lost State, so they don't even bother wasting the money in the State to try to get any of their candidates in office.  Even if by some strange chance a Republican was to win the governor's mansion again, what would it matter?  With a Democrat supermajority in the legislature, it's not like the GOP Governor would be able to get much done.

If Tim Donnelly had plenty of his own money, or if the GOP had been willing to pump funds into his campaign instead of sabotage him by bringing in Kashkari, California's hope for a less than hard left socialist governor may have been achieved.

Enter, Peter Thiel.

Like Donald Trump, Peter Thiel is wealthy enough to pay for his own campaign.  He's worth an estimated $2.7 billion, supported Donald Trump in the election, considers himself a Republican, and is contemplating a 2018 bid for California governor.

A co-founder of PayPal, and an early investor in Facebook, Thiel's potential candidacy for Governor of California would likely upset the balance in California, and place the establishment Republicans at a disadvantage.  In California the Republican Party is as liberal as the Democrat Party, when it comes to the leadership.  It's all about power and position, and the money pumped into campaigns by people like Charles Munger who buys losers for the delegates so that he can use his own delegate allies to shape and manipulate California's Republican Party leadership.

Thiel delivered a prime time speech at last summer’s Republican National Convention, so he is no stranger to the political scene.  He has contributed over $8.5 million to federal candidates and committees since 2000. 

The Trump win in 2016 has turned out to be a game-changer.  Trump has revealed that business-minded political outsiders can not only win, but win big.  Voters are tired of politics-as-usual by professional politicians.  One wonders if this means we will see a whole army of Republican (and possibly Democrat) businessmen entering various races for political office in 2018.

One wonders, also, how conservative Thiel might actually be for the California GOP.  After all, in 2015 the PayPal Billionaire contributed over $56,000 to leftist Democrat Gavin Newsom’s potential 2018 campaign.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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