What makes the mayor of highly polluted, crime-ridden, poorly run Los Angeles think he should run the country?
- With no clear frontrunner, it’s open season among Democrats for 2020. Every day there’s a new contender throwing their hat into the ring (or any other article of clothing that self-identifies as a hat).
Stretching to find a candidate is symptomatic of the Democrats’ losses under President Obama: Governors make great presidential nominees, but the Democrats have so few governors left to choose from they have to get creative.
So a position that’s getting unusual attention is that of mayor.
- Last week Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke to a group in Iowa to test the waters, or cornfields, for his presidential aspirations. As the Associated Press wrote, Garcetti was “hoping to show party activists that his experience running a city can preview success on the national scene.”
- Note that the AP had to use the phrase “experience running a city” because they could not use the word “success” in discussing Los Angeles.
THE CITY OF ANGELS IS A DISASTER
The City of Angels is such a disaster that you’d probably only find angels there these days if they were visiting to destroy it. Life in Los Angeles is so bad it keeps getting called a “third world country,” including by the New York Times. But that’s still a better title than the “gang capital of America,” with its 45,000 gang members and rising violent crime rate. LA also grabs the silver medal in the categories most homelessness and worst pollution.
- Mayor Garcetti is not to blame for the ruin and mismanagement that decades of left-wing politics have inflicted on one of our greatest cities. But he’s also done nothing to turn that ruin around and thereby earn the mother of all promotions.
Despite that, he’s not the only Californian seeking that promotion though. Junior Senator Kamala Harris is a favorite name to topple President Trump. In resisting the president’s call for stronger immigration laws, Sen. Harris famously tweeted a month ago that “California represents the future”—which is an ominous threat indeed against the other 49 states. Because if California is the future, then the future is going to be a disaster.
- Find a study of any kind comparing states, and California will be somewhere toward the bottom. US News and World Report ranked it 50 out of 50 for quality of life. It’s a nightmare of fiscal mismanagement, with one estimate of their debt at $400 billion and another of their pension liability alone at $500 billion.
CALIFORNIA HAS THE WORST EDUCATION SYSTEM IN THE USA
The state is facing a teacher shortage, gets awful rankings on government transparency and accountability, and suffers from a dreadful lawyer surplus. Despite benefiting from an enormous military presence along our West Coast (30 military bases!) California has one of the lowest rates of providing military enlistees.
Even idyllic, left-wing San Francisco has become such a cesspool of urban decay that the city’s own tourism director said, ” “The streets are filthy. There’s trash everywhere. It’s disgusting.”
SAN FRANCISCO IS A DUMP
The Guardian once asked if California would become America’s first “failed state,” but there are many for whom that’s already happened. Indeed, those who can are fleeing California in droves—from 2007 to 2016, 1 million more people left the state than moved in from other states.
California boasts both the most ultrarich residents and the highest rate of poverty in America. (The state with the most equal incomes—incidentally—is conservative, religious Utah.)
Conservatives have an odd relationship with California. On the one hand, they’re terrified of its overwhelming power. So when Californians make rumblings about leaving the U.S., some of them are happy to say “goodbye!” Without California,
Trump would have won the popular vote by 1.5 million and Republicans’ edge in the House of Representatives would have doubled.
On the other hand, California is the clearest sign that progressives should not be trusted with the keys to the car. If they cannot successfully run just one state —the one with more intrinsic advantages than any other—how could they possibly run the rest of the country?