September 20, 2022 Minutes-Senator Jim Brulte, Principal, California Strategies -Hybrid Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Hybrid Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM


Present:  Megan Barajas, Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Greg Bradbard, Chris Carrillo, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Josh Cox, Sandra Cuellar, Kevin Dyerly, Rebeccah Goldware, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, T. Milford Harrison, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Steve Lambert, Mike Layne, Darcy McNaboe, Miguel Mendoza, Dan Murphy, Robert Nava, Vikki Ostermann, Catherine Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Elizabeth Romero, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Eric Ustation, Lupe Valdez, Pete Van Helden, Reggie Webb, and Frank Zabaleta.

Guests:  Arnold San Miguel

Announcements:  1) Inland Action will meet with the Inland Empire Caucus (IE state Senators and Assemblymembers) at Esri next week.  Special instructions will be distributed via e-mail to those that have replied they will attend.  The meeting will be 1 hour and immediately after Esri will offer a visit to their Geo Lab. 2) The Inland Action meeting on October 4, 2022 will be held at Ontario International Airport.  Mayor Alan Wapner, Exec. Director Atif Elkadi and Steve Lambert will be our hosts.  3)  The venue and parking for the 60th Anniversary celebration will require a good deal of walking.  Staff has arranged for electric carts to transport those who request a “lift”.  The hanger we will use is extremely large and can accommodate autos.  If anyone has access to classic 60’s era cars it would be appreciated to have them set up for viewing and to add to the festivities.

Motion by L. Goodwin/Second/Passed with 1 abstention: Minutes from September 13, 2022.

Lupe Valdez introduced Senator Jim Brulte, Principal, California Strategies a public affairs consulting firm which has helped clients navigate the complexity of California’s political, regulatory, and legislative environments over the last twenty years.  Jim Brulte served in the State Assembly and Senate from 1990-2004 representing the Inland Empire counties of Riverside and San Bernardino.  He discussed how evolution of our political parties affect modern elections which explains why America is so polarized.

He quoted Assembly GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy from 2003 who said, “If you can determine the structure of the process you can affect the outcome.”

Americans adjust their political mood through presidential elections as this is the only regularly scheduled event in our country where almost all of us focus on the two major candidates and their policies.  It is the presidential elections that can create a realignment of American politics.  Only catastrophic events such as 9/11 have a collective response from our population.  Post 9/11 laws enacted that affect civil liberties were easily passed due to our collective focus on combating terrorism.

In the past (1932-1964) both parties were ideologically balanced, and the parties were divided by the “haves vs the have nots”.  Typically, the Republicans were represented by the “haves” such as eastern WASP, establishment (liberals), midwestern main street, and establishment (conservatives).  The “have nots” were Democrats like northern white liberals, southerners (conservatives), farmers (conservatives), and minorities (liberals).  A philosophical realignment pitting liberals vs. conservatives began in 1964 and continued through 1988.  Changes were seen in southern, white, agrarian voters.  Conservative Democrats abandon their party for Republicans.  The monolithic Democrat south fractures while northern, white, moderate/liberals leave the Republican party and the “Rockefeller Wing” of the GOP atrophies.

Both shifts occur at the presidential level but take another generation to take effect at the local level.  Both parties are now focused on ideology and philosophy, so they balance their presidential ticket with more moderate running mates.

The electorate is more polarized than ever due to the following:

  • Growth in decline to state voters is growing (from 9% to 26%) and thus shrink the membership of both major political parties. As parties shrink, they become more partisan.
  • The center becomes larger, younger, and more mobile (typically they only agree that they hate both parties).
  • Independent expenditures exacerbate the partisanship as they have no “skin in the game” and can say anything without accountability where candidates can be held to their word.
  • Issues are now discussed within a “moral” context-Example: Those wanting to reform welfare are now accused of “being against poor people”. This context leaves little to no flexibility in the parties.
  • Elimination of fairness doctrine and removal of the “Equal Time Rule” eliminates non-partisan news. Democrats and Republicans don’t watch same news rather they listen and read what reinforces their own beliefs.
  • Growth of partisan “news shows” reinforce partisan beliefs rather than challenge those beliefs.
  • Fewer “competitive” legislative and congressional seats further cement partisan control of government

The quality of the candidates is second to the biggest factors in mid-term elections of Presidential job approval and the direction of the country.  According to the Real Clear Politics Poll of Polls:

  • 6% disapprove of President Biden’s job approval and 41.9 % approve
  • 6% believe the country is going the wrong way and 25.1% believe it’s the right direction

Those who strongly disapprove do so by a 2 to 1 margin and these numbers will drive voter turnout.

A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:32 a.m.