Much of modern media is reporting on the failures of progressive policies without discussing how exactly those progressive policies are responsible. It is not simply progressive ideology, but the very basis of power in a democracy. Power is insecure and forever dependent on managing the mindspace of millions for voter approval of what the progressive elite wants to execute.
Such a structure has created horrible incentives to import voters. But importing voters imports problems and sullies the idea of the progressive utopia. Few, if any, political entities exhibit the corruption and decay of the progressive democratic promise of utopia as clearly as the state of California. California is under one-party rule currently with a Democratic supermajority in their state house and senate.
The problem that has manifested in the hinterlands is one of ethnic enclaves that reveal “California’s geographic apartheid“.
This problem is no surprise to anyone who paid attention to the voting results of recent presidential elections, where the blue areas comprised of 90% Democrat voters allow for the Left to control an entire state. Illinois and Chicago are a clear-cut example. Even New York could be cut into the city plus close counties vs. the rest of the state. Executives quoted in Joel Kotkin’s Orange County Register article cite how they have no “seats at the table”. Kotkin describes how the state house keeps churning out policies that are pure San Francisco, or that are on the white progressive’s dream buffet, namely green environmental policies, a $15/hour minimum wage, and enabling illegal immigration with sanctuary status protections.
Kotkin reports on this, but sidesteps why it happened.
Kotkin himself is no stranger to the progressive elite. Elsewhere, he’s written eloquently on the new ‘clerisy’ that rules America. He even pointed out how this clerisy enjoys deep, intimate relations with the economic powers of America. This is why his avoidance of discussing the obvious about California’s transformation is somewhat strange.
Each new policy is a dream of the clerisy class and boosts Big Business and the new American economic powers that are chummy with the Left. The policies the Californians in a “flyover state within a state” are suffering from directly attack their economic interests, while multinationals can avoid them entirely or offshore the costs. No high-tech firm has to really worry about minimum wage laws, since they regularly pay well above minimum wage, but a blue collar firm in manufacturing, wholesale, or construction has to be cognizant of the minimum wage at all times. As such, minimum wage increases decimate smaller firms, as the fixed costs of regulatory red tape from Sacramento eat up a larger share of their revenues simply due to the fact that smaller firms have lower revenues.
Since the Left has manipulated laws to destroy freedom of association and to force integration at all costs (financial and social), indirect means of protection from other ethnic groups are all that remain. The Left sets up their cities like citadels using financial methods to create a geographic apartheid.
Whether in California, New York, or Connecticut, real estate prices function as economic moats to filter out groups. Since race, intelligence, and household income are very correlated, the separation caused by financial stratification can look like racial apartheid. Ross Douthat can recognize this, even if he is not willing to use a pop-dystopian analogy. In American cities, the elite white progressives live in high-priced towers with their helots and voting hostages living in specific enclaves watched over by a heavy police force and an army of social workers.
It is more appropriate to call them voting hostages than imported voters, despite both being true because of the sob story angle to Kotkin’s piece. Kotkin uses phrases and statistics like “rural California counties suffer the highest unemployment rate in the country”, “worst health conditions in the state” and “half the workforce has a high school education or less”. Kotkin refers to the counties of Merced, Kern, and San Bernardino in his piece.
The sad situation of the interior of California is entirely due to the progressive dream.
Looking at a map and census data is revealing. The Left needed to stuff those counties with Mexican immigrants to secure its lock on California’s state government and also electoral votes for presidential elections. Merced county has seen a population growth of 21% since 2000. The Hispanic population of Merced grew at a 47% clip, pushing the Hispanic percentage of Merced county to 55%. Kern county has seen 27% population growth since 2000. The Hispanic population of Kern grew at a 63% rate, increasing the Hispanic percentage of Kern county to 49%. San Bernardino county has seen 19% population growth since 2000. The Hispanic population of San Bernardino grew at a 50% pace, driving up the Hispanic percentage of San Bernardino county to 49%.
These immigrants were imported primarily to vote Democratic. This structure exists by design, as the New Left decades ago made the decision to sacrifice the white working class for the Hart-Cellar immigrants. The Left sacrificed the productive economy and hitched its wagon to the FIRE economy during President Bill Clinton’s administration. These immigrants are dependent on government services and advisers.
In this case, it’s hard to deny intentionality behind the structure, given that California actually tried to stop the transformation with Proposition 187. Prophetically numbered like the California penal code for murder, Proposition 187 was a voter referendum to address the strains immigration was placing on social services, infrastructure, and the state’s society in general. The Left loudly attacked the proposition, despite the pressure immigration was placing on many of the public sector services, since immigration functioned as the Left’s key strategy to gain and maintain power. The federal courts delivered the kill shot with an assist from Governor Gray Davis, who did not appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
The Left has what it wants in California. All the political power to do the bidding of its economic donors is in its hands. The media meme is that cities are vibrant, dynamic places. The reality of American cities is that they are vampires on their states. Their fertility is low, so they must forever rely on a stream of people leaving the hinterlands to make a living in the city. Even if your rural area is idyllic, wrong-headed taste-makers will message non-stop for the young to leave their boring little towns or transplant Third World inhabitants to change them forever.
Large economic interests do not want new competitors to rise in areas that they do not fully control, and neither do cultural elites. Stagnant flyover areas full of impoverished people with absolutely no say in how state policy is shaped is exactly how California has been formed by progressives. It is the plan for every other political entity touched.