It's November 3, 2010. You think you are waking up to a sunny California morning only to realize it's a dark, dark day. Jerry Brown is governor, Gavin Newsom is lieutenant governor, Kamala Harris is attorney general, and the rest of the Democrat ticket has prevailed. California is going to be controlled by San Francisco politics.
Got your attention now?
Tea Party folks have brought a refreshing candor to the conservative scene, demanding from conservative candidates a return to conservative principles. But we don't live in a perfect world. And in California, we live in a deeply skewed political landscape that requires finesse and strategic thinking to turn California red again. It cannot happen overnight, and those who try to make it happen today rather than tomorrow will be responsible for the worst-case, but not unlikely, nightmare scenario outlined above.
Many Tea Partiers aren't happy with the Republican choices for certain offices and are pushing voters to cast their ballots for last-minute conservative candidates who, they believe, more readily pass the conservative sniff test than some of their Republican counterparts. Admittedly, some of them just might be more conservative.
Karen England is one such write-in candidate for lieutenant governor. She is an amazing person who I wish had entered the race earlier with a full-blown campaign instead of coming in at the last minute as a write-in. She has a great future as a candidate, and I will do everything I can to support her. But for this election, a vote for Karen is a guarantee that Gavin Newsom gets elected.
Newsom is the mayor who proudly pronounced San Francisco a "sanctuary city" despite existing law to the contrary and performed hundreds of same-sex marriages in blatant defiance of the popular will. There is no question he will be California's lieutenant governor if a portion of conservative votes are redirected to Karen England.
It's virtually the same for the unknown but conservatively appealing Chelene Nightingale, who is running for governor on the American Independent Party ticket.
And we face a similar situation in the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction between Democrat Tom Torlakson and Larry Aceves, the Democrat-turned-decline-to-state former school superintendent who beat Torlakson in the June primary. Diane Lenning is a conservative we would normally put our numbers behind, but she cannot win, having garnered only 6.2% of the vote to Aceves' 19.2% in the June primary.
Just in case you don't know, it is educators like Tom Torlakson who have driven our once-stellar public school system into the Democrat ditch. We need to wrest the keys back and hand them over to Larry Aceves, who has the right ideas and can win. To vote for the "real" conservative, Diane Lenning, is to vote for Torlakson, who will push our already failing schools into a full-blown coma.
If the Democrats succeed -- and right now much of the polling points to a Jerry Brown win, which means the rest of the ticket will most likely follow -- California will be on a rocky road to nowhere.
Many of you will pat yourselves on the back and proclaim, "Hey, at least I voted for the pure conservative. I stood by my principles this time. I've had it with moderate Republicans."
Wake up from the fantasy before it is too late. This is California -- we cannot change things overnight. It takes deliberate, calculated actions over a long period of time to make a difference. We must start with baby steps in California, and that means voting for the most conservative candidate who can get elected!
I know some of you don't like what I'm saying, but I don't want to see all of the collective sacrifices we have made over the last two years be for naught. I cannot sit by and watch the rest of the country go red while CA stays a pristine shade of blue. While I want fire engine red, I'd be happy for a deep burgundy transitioning to red.
Once candidates like Maldonado and Whitman are in office, then we flex our grassroots muscles and hold their feet to the fire -- call, protest, write, and demand they do the right thing as soon as we see them stray.
Some of you will respond that you'd rather have the Democrats in power than RINOs or weak conservatives, but that's also wrong, and here is why:
This state is already in bad dream territory, teetering on the edge of a full-blown nightmare. With this election, however, we still have an opportunity to wake up, shake the sleep out of our eyes, and bring back those pleasant California dreams. But we can do this only if we have the right people in place. Karen England, Chelene Nightingale, and Diane Lenning might be attractive and convincing candidates, but they are not the ones we should put our muscle behind at this time. At best, they will be spoilers. If you vote for them, be prepared to have the Democrat ditch-diggers Governor Brown, Lt. Governor Newsom, and State Superintendent Torlakson in charge.
Still not convinced? Would it change your mind if you knew the Democrats are banking on dividing the conservative vote and that by voting for the "more" conservative candidate, you are being manipulated by the left? Don't believe me? Read this article disclosing this devious Democrat tale in, of all places, the New York Times.
But, you argue, if all conservatives voted for these über-conservative candidates, then we could win. The old "McClintock vs. Schwarzenegger argument." Dream on.
The reality is that for any conservative to win in California, overwhelming support from the decline-to-state voters is necessary. A conservative cannot win in California based solely on the Republican vote. We're not there yet...remember, baby steps.
Even if all Republicans were to vote for the über-cons, the DTSes won't. While it's true that a significant number of DTSes are more inclined in a year like this to vote for Republican versus Democrat candidates, they will not vote for Chelene, Karen, or Diane -- that's a pipe dream.
California conservatives must wake up from the dream of a fire engine-red California to the reality of something in between in order to prevent a colossal nightmare from unfolding.
We cannot afford more unemployment in CA. We cannot afford to lose more businesses. We cannot afford to let our schools continue to degrade under corrupt and misguided Democrat leadership controlled by the unions.
You might not agree with Maldonado or Whitman, but like it or not, they are our best hope. You all know about Reagan's 80-20 rule. Hold your nose if you must, but get conservative Republican candidates over the finish line on November 2, and we'll deal with our expectations for them on November 3.
Save California. Vote Smart. Preserve the Dream.
Sally Zelikovsky is the Founder of Bay Area Patriots and the Coordinator of the San Francisco Tea Party.