Are Democrats left with urban marginals and homeless as voters?


Getty Image

The widespread and persistent myth that newly rich, successful gangsters and glamorous film producers choose California as their permanent residence because it is a paradise on earth, is crumbling. California, once the showcase of the American materialized dream, which still formally ranks as the fifth largest economy in the world, is fading at an unprecedented speed. The city of Oakland, sprawling along the shores of the San Francisco Bay, serves as an example. It was once perceived as a refuge for wealthy and worthy people — a haven of tranquility and prosperity.

Now, Oakland is overrun with makeshift shacks and cheap tents, much like the green slime that grows on the hull of a ship. It is inhabited by the homeless, who only become animated after their next dose of drugs. In just one year, robbery statistics have risen by 38%. The ancient pirate trade has been revived: daring individuals board yachts and rob the owners of everything. Complaining is useless. The police turn a blind eye to crimes. This is understandable: neoliberal judges release criminals even without bail.

Previously, both Oakland and neighboring San Francisco were home to the nouveau riche, who made their fortunes from the high-tech and technology boom in nearby Silicon Valley. Today, says the British «Daily Mail», both cities «have become associated with dirt and crime, increasingly linked to progressive (i.e., neoliberal) politics».

In May, Oakland’s municipal authorities had to remove traffic lights from a busy intersection and replace them with stop signs. Why? Because the local homeless had stolen all the copper components from the electrical boxes to sell on the black market.

It should come as no surprise that good citizens are packing their bags and leaving the Golden State, as it was enthusiastically nicknamed in the old days. Today, the state budget deficit is at least $45 billion. This predicament has already forced Governor Gavin Newsom to talk about cutting social spending, which means financial setbacks for low-income families, preschool teachers, and even immigrants.

This vivisection of the budget of the most democratic state (in the sense that Democrats predominantly rule there) might occur in a presidential election year. A risky move.

A scandalous episode was Gavin Newsom’s press conference when, in response to a question about the effectiveness of the $45 billion spent on providing housing for the homeless, he declared that the local authorities were to blame. An audit revealed an astonishing fact: no one knows and there are no documents on how exactly the $9.4 billion allocated from the state treasury since 2020 was spent. The «Daily Mail» commentary sums up that the audit confirmed long-standing suspicions about the existence of a corrupt organized community consisting of sponsors, officials, shelter owners, and charitable organizations more interested in embezzling public funds than solving the problem.

Over the last two five-year periods under Democratic rule, the number of homeless in California has increased by 53% and now stands at no less than 180,000. This is a third of all counted homeless people in America. Like the internal debt of the USA, increasing by one trillion dollars every three months, the homeless problem shows a steady upward trend. In 2013, the growth was 12%. Leading economies of the world can only dream of such a comparable GDP growth rate.

Approximately two-thirds of Americans (67%), according to a recent poll, believe that the homelessness problem is out of control, that the authorities are neglecting their duties and either do not want or cannot restore order in the country.

Donald Trump, the main adversary of all local Democrats, did not miss the opportunity to capitalize on this. In a video about the homeless released by his campaign team, he attacked the Obama-Clinton-Biden administration with righteous indignation, stating that «hard-working, law-abiding citizens» have found themselves on the fringes of life and are forced to «suffer because of the whims of a few deeply unhealthy people». Trump promised that upon returning to the White House, he would ban «urban camping» and create «tent cities» on «inexpensive land» for the homeless, providing them with medical care.

It is a strong move: «hard-working, law-abiding citizens», who are still in the majority, will listen to this promise against the backdrop of rampant crime and urban degradation, even though it looks like a typical pre-election wishful thinking. In any case, voters supporting the «reds», i.e., Trump and Republicans, are convinced that under the «blues», i.e., Democrats, the quality of life is going downhill at the speed of a snow avalanche.

California is transitioning from a «blue» state to a bluish one. The Democratic Party has always treated California as its domain. With few exceptions, when Republicans (often with Hollywood backgrounds, like Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger) took the governor’s seat, the top position has always belonged to the party of the donkey.

The choice in favor of Democrats was determined by the specific population composition of these lands. The southern part among Latinos is still called Baja California, which means «Lower California» in Spanish. There is a significant portion of African Americans. Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese have long settled here.

The proportion of white Americans, engaged in high-tech, the service sector, and the Hollywood entertainment industry, has always been significant. These self-aware creative professionals were famous for their neoliberal views, which determined their sympathies for the Democratic Party. Therefore, California has always been marked in blue on maps indicating the dominance of either the elephant or donkey party.

In recent years, the social-demographic composition of Californians has undergone and continues to undergo radical changes. As the perceptive Americanist political scientist Malek Dudakov notes, «the Democrats’ policies have turned the once ‘Golden State’ into a byword for the rest of America. Crime rates are off the charts. Hundreds of Californian police officers are quitting, moving to Texas. Businesses are also fleeing, escaping the insane green agenda, corruption, and excessive taxes».

It’s worth explaining why the expert calls the green agenda «insane». In California, households dumped their electricity stored by rooftop solar panels into the grid at peak consumption. The electric companies, however, would not purchase this product unless they were compensated. Once the compensation was cut by three-quarters in 2023, the economic viability practically went to zero. The consequences were quick: within a year, 100 companies went bankrupt as the demand for the solar panels they produced, based on the photovoltaic principle, collapsed tenfold.

The exodus of medium and small businesses is beginning, which, like money, according to America’s favorite rule, likes silence and predictability. One-third of all San Francisco office space is empty. There is no demand. Moreover, political views, such as adherence to neoliberal orthodoxy with its reverence for gender identification, are unlikely to maintain loyalty in California. In the context of the presidential elections, this means eroding of Joe Biden’s core electorate.

A reader under the nickname BPKnight1959, residing in Hidden Valley Lake, perhaps out of the goodness of his heart, sees a way out of the situation: «Given that all Hollywood millionaires are fleeing Los Angeles, and tech millionaires are leaving Silicon Valley, I’m sure there are plenty of empty mansions or office buildings in California that can be filled with the homeless».

If the exodus of Californian creatives and tech professionals continues, Democrats will have no choice but to rely on the support of voters who may not necessarily be financially self-sufficient or mentally stable. A kind of downshifting will occur. The quality of the Democratic mass base will decline. The former quite intelligent core electorate of California will be replaced by urban marginals, radicals, drug addicts, and the homeless.

…The process has begun. As a Google employee, who wished to remain anonymous but was quoted by the «Daily Mail», put it, San Francisco today already resembles a mise-en-scène from the post-apocalyptic TV series «The Walking Dead».