A Letter to My Liberal Friends

Yes, homicides have been rising in cities around the country. But those trends themselves owe much to liberal governance in like-minded jurisdictions like Seattle and New York, with their recent emphasis on depolicing, decarceration, defunding, decriminalization and other deluded attempts at criminal-justice reform.

Funny, you don’t hear this about the places Californians are fleeing to. Austin, the preferred destination of San Francisco exiles, remains one of the safest big cities in America (and it’s run by a Democrat). Another thing you don’t hear from Texas: a board of education voting — as San Francisco’s just did — to strip the names of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Paul Revere from their respective schools, on grounds of sinning against the more recent commandments of progressive dogma. Not that it really matters, since all these schools remain closed for in-person learning thanks to the resistance of teachers unions.

And then there is California’s political class. Democrats hold both U.S. Senate seats, 42 of its 53 seats in the House, have lopsided majorities in the State Assembly and Senate, run nearly every big city and have controlled the governor’s mansion for a decade. If ever there was a perfect laboratory for liberal governance, this is it. So how do you explain these results?

For four years, liberals have had a hard time understanding how any American could even think of voting for Republicans, given the party’s fealty to the former president. I’ve shared some of that bewilderment myself. But — to adapt a line from another notorious Californian — Democrats won’t have Donald Trump to kick around anymore, meaning the consequences of liberal misrule will be harder to disguise or disavow. If California is a vision of the sort of future the Biden administration wants for Americans, expect Americans to demur.

My unsolicited advice: Like Republicans, Democrats do best when they govern from the center. Forget California, think Colorado. A purple country needs a purple president — and a political opposition with the credibility to keep him honest.

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