A Prediction for the Next Three Years: The Californication of America Will Proceed Apace

It’s 2014. What will it be like in January of 2017?

To answer this question, I think we should look backward to 35 years ago, when it was 1979. Jimmy Carter was president, the multi-ethnic “We are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series in seven games, and The Cars were looking pretty darn cool.

_________

But there was something brewing beneath this culturally liberal surface–and what was brewing was conservatism. The fever of liberalism that characterized the 60s and 70s would be broken in the year following 1979, most specifically in November of 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected president. It initiated an unmistakably new era in American culture and politics.

And that era will be seen to have run its course when Hillary Clinton is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States in January of 2017.

Contemporary conservatism had its Romantic phase with Ronald Reagan, its mature phase with Newt Gingrich in the 90s, and it began its decadent phase with George W. Bush. It is now in its very late decadent phase with the Tea Party. Though the Republican Party will win skirmishes in 2014, I predict that it will, to the surprise of a lot of analysts, under-perform in the November 2014 elections (it will hold the House, but not take the Senate).

This means that in 2015 it will finally dawn on moderate Republicans (insofar as they still exist) that focus on Obamacare was a fatal strategic mistake; a distraction, really. What their party should have focused on, like a laser beam, was moving to the center right, talking-up such issues as women’s equality in the workplace, gay rights, marijuana legalization, and immigration reform–and owning them. They ought to have done this because America is becoming an ever more culturally liberal, ever more feminist, ever more “brown” nation.

America is becoming California.

The contemporary political ballgame, then, is to not suffer the fate of the Republican Party in California over the next two decades; that is, to not become an irrelevant party.

In 2016, unless the Republicans nominate Chris Christie for President, their adjustments in 2015 will be too little, too late. Even Christie may not be able to recalibrate their brand. And absent Christie, the Republican brand will be toast for perhaps a decade or more.

So the crow I predict that contemporary conservatives will start eating in 2017 is this: they will have to live with the fact that they will never again see in the White House a president of the ilk of George W. Bush again (a non-compromising and war-mongering economic and cultural conservative). The next Republican president, if it’s not Christie, will be a woman–sometime in the 2030s–and she will be pro-gay equality, pro-science, pro-ecology, marijuana friendly, pro-choice, pro-universal health coverage, moderate on defense, and only fiscally conservative. She’ll speak Spanish as well as English. And she’ll be inclusive of the “nones” (those who don’t have a religious affiliation). She might even be a vegan. In other words, she’ll be more recognizably like a Californian than a Texan. And she’ll lead a center-right coalition that contemporary Republicans simply do not recognize today as “conservative.”

But as distasteful as this scenario is to today’s Republicans–especially culturally conservative Republicans–America’s irreversible Californication is already happening, and Hillary’s inauguration in January of 2017 will be the moment in which acknowledging this fact will become, quite simply, inescapable. Hillary’s inauguration will signal the end of post-WWII baby boomer trench warfare; the time when the tedious Jacob-wrestle between older conservatives and liberals (Fox News vs. MSNBC) throughout the Obama years finally broke in liberals’ favor. We will have begun the era of “California America.” From that point forward, Millennials, who trend liberal, will be in the driver’s seat; they will be the new deal makers and breakers. It’s what’s coming in 2017. It’s not an especially hard prediction to make, but there it is. That’s my prediction.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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4 Responses to A Prediction for the Next Three Years: The Californication of America Will Proceed Apace

  1. andrewclunn says:

    We will finally win when we elect Hillary! Wait what? no, we don’t have anyone in office now. Today’s policies are the result of the Tea Party! … Barrack Obama? Who’s that? No, the dream is alive! Liberalism is the future! So long as we only look at politics from a binary perspective, we are destined to win!

    Sorry Santi, but I refer you to your own earlier post about insular communities resulting in a cult like mentality. I see it in Evangelicals who never question, New Yorkers who think they’re the center of the universe, academics who went straight from earning their degree to teaching (with no “real world” experience in between), and on the comments of just about every politically motivated news source.

    My father, a progressive minister, Democrat, and self described progressive has said point blank, “I won’t ever vote for Hillary because of what she did with the Patriot Act.” She can claim that she’s now for “more transparency” concerning the NSA all she wants, but some voters aren’t dumb enough to believe her bullshit on that issue because they don’t have the memories of goldfish.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      I recognize that politics won’t end in 2017. 2017 will not represent the end of history. I realize that a whole host of new liberal/conservative divide issues will evolve in the decade that follows.

      But my argument is that a rather long list of trench warfare conflict between liberal and conservative baby boomers is breaking in the direction of cultural and foreign policy liberalism. Here’s a list:

      trade with China
      gay equality
      Interventionist wars in the Middle and Far East
      Nuclear stockpile reduction
      Immigration reform
      The drug war
      Massachusetts style health care exchanges
      torture
      abortion rights
      women’s equality
      bank regulation
      Greenhouse effect mitigation
      energy efficiency measures

      Republicans will continue to do well on the fiscal conservatism side of the equation; they’ll score points against over-reaching Democrats that over-regulate capitalism and do too much deficit spending. They’ll win when libertarian economics is at the forefront of voters’ minds. But on cultural and foreign policy, Republicans are growing ever more noncompetitive. 2017 and Hillary’s (or some other Democrat’s) inauguration will be the moment when Republicans will realize they have painted themselves into a Southern corner.

      The Obama years have represented a stalemate between left and right. Obama has accomplished some important things (ending Bush era torture, Obamacare, talking with Iran, nuclear weapons reduction, etc.). But he’s also been stalled on such things as immigration reform. I predict that the next president will see a lot of remaining issues breaking in a liberal direction.

      For example, I think that if Chris Christie beats Hillary, that he’ll nevertheless oversee a lot of liberal and moderate policy shifts similar to what Hillary would have presided over. His presidency will be “Hillary light.” His time in office–again, if he wins–will function as an epidural for Republicans as America births a more “Californian” country. I think there will never be a Ted Cruz presidency (or anybody ideologically like Cruz). And I think that conservatives in Congress are in for a long period of decreasing power until they figure out how to win over greater numbers of women, younger, urban, and college educated Millennials, Hispanics, and blacks. The problem is that conservatives have largely defined themselves as “not those.”

    • R7 Rocket says:

      Fortunately for Hillary and Bushobama before her, the Electorate is stupid. Unfortunately for the Cathedral ruling class that rules Pax Americana, there’s gonna be problems with paying the Legions in the future.

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