Disclaimer: The accounts of this post are based on a variety of sources that include Capitol Staff, District Staff, Actual Assembly Members, Lobbyists, Political Consultants, Donors and “Third House” employees. While some were on the record, most were not and therefore all are off the record.
In my 20 years of Republican Politics, this is the first time I was ever engaged in a leadership battle in either house of the legislature.
I got a call on 7/18 asking me if I would participate in an effort to take out Chad Mayes after he led the legislature in to the Cap and Trade debacle. I was going on vacation on 7/20, but a sense of duty and another call from California Republican Party National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon convinced me to get my political battleaxe for the 1000th time in my 20 years. I allowed my vacation to be frequently interrupted with calls about the mayhem going on in the wake of the Cap and Trade vote in California.
For the first time, traditionally “establishment” figures were enraged. While I have gone in to detail about what I believe to be the nexus behind the cap and trade vote, the string of events leading up to the cap and trade vote, and a very pointed and personal expose’ on what I believed to be behind the despotic behavior of Chad Mayes, this was the most unique movement in my 20 years.
The pattern of Chad Mayes’ behavior in the last week solidified my belief that he is indeed a real narcissist beyond any of the nearly meaningless uses of the word in modern politics. And in just the last week I learned:
- Some have feared that Chad Mayes is going to burn everything to the ground on his way out. I do not believe his colleagues will allow that. I will go in to detail why, but I do believe that they agreed with my diagnosis (but not my solution) and took steps to stop Mayes from going on a Narcissistic Rampage.
- I was told that Mr. Mayes did not come to the realization that he was not going to survive as leader until 2 days before the first caucus. Let that sink in. The State Party and his home county set fire to him and it still took a couple days later for reality to finally arrive. What did his fellow Assemblymembers do to cause Chad to think he could still win? What other enablers did Chad Mayes have?
- I have been told that Mayes had threatened to resign completely (thus taking his fundraising with him) if not re-elected and had narcissistic rage episodes frequently as his bullying started to lose its’ effectiveness.
- Mr. Mayes believes that he picked his successor, thus assuaging his gigantic ego. What I am learning in the hours since suggests that there were deals cut.
- Mr. Mayes endorsed Mr. Dahle, not because of anything Mr. Dahle did or said – but because Brian Dahle was not Vince Fong, Melissa Melendez or Jay Obernolte, all of whom challenged him publicly. It was a revenge motive.
- Mr. Mayes is still leader until the September 15th end of session, even though the appearance has been created that he is out. This will further cement in Mayes’ mind for the rest of his life that he was a victim and was wronged.
- Mr. Mayes is still holding fundraisers with the donors he has sold his soul to. See this flyer for his 8/28/2017 event. Those Donors were a major factor in the foibles of the last 72 hours.
- Mr. Mayes will go to his grave believing he did the right thing and the rest of us were wrong.
What I learned is a frightening view of how lowly regarded the grassroots are by those in positions of power and by their staff. It does not matter that Joe Turner, Arthur Schaper or others flew off the handle, that is an easy smokescreen to cover up the contempt.
What I learned is how far the Republican Volunteer Groups have fallen, and the swamp knows it.
What I learned is that social media has killed activism, and the swamp knows it.
What I learned is that our current Assembly Republican Caucus as a whole has been moved quite far left by both staff and the donors that spend big to elect them (part of the swamp).
What I learned was a laboratory for the widespread anger that Donald Trump tapped in to in order to take over the Republican Party Nationally and get nominated for President. There are few or any leaders in partisan elected office and those that are there are usually too nice to swing the sword. This is why Melissa Melendez was retaliated against by Chad Mayes, when one person stands out, it is easy to shoot them. People are desperate for leadership, I saw a ton of #EPICFAILS of leadership in this saga.
I saw leaders worried far more about appearances than dealing with the gaping wounds and chaos created by Mr. Mayes.
It is the incredible weakness of the grassroots as a whole, when coupled with a lack of courage from elected leaders that empower legislation like Cap and Trade to pass. Then the circle is completed when the grassroots rebel furthering the contempt and suspicion that has always existed.
I ascertained a better reason for why several people in government hate me with a purple passion, it is not as much that I torch people, it is that there are few people like me with the guts or the platform to be effective at it. So, when Joseph Turner re-emerged after more than a decade away from politics hurling B-52 loads at Chad Mayes, people naturally assumed we were connected and working together professionally. I do pay a price personally for the stuff I do, but I made peace with that years ago. I don’t delude myself in to thinking I am perfect as I likely made a few new enemies and lost a few more friends and had I chosen my words or actions differently, might not have quite as many new fans or ex-friends.
I am not justifying all of Joseph Turner’s actions either, but his anger and passion are not unique and people in office need to stop drinking the third-house kool-aid and reconnect with their districts. I hope there are dozens of Joseph Turners that emerge from the ash heap of the California Republican Party, because until our partisan electeds listen to the pulse of the people in their districts, these sorts of painful, public disasters will occur.
Watching the gyrations and the maneuvering for 72 very long hours including Congressman Kevin McCarthy intervening and helping thwart a vacate the chair vote on Monday, members switching allegiances, watching Jay Obernolte’s supporters dessert him, seeing a different breed of swamp creatures rise up behind Vince Fong hoping to take over the bowels of government and the deals that led to Brian Dahle getting elected Assembly leader confirmed many of the worst conspiracy theories I’ve ever heard at a Tea Party.
I am going to follow up with an open letter to Brian Dahle as I hope he succeeds. (I actually was on his side against the establishment in 2012 when he first won election and I will tell that story in that follow up post) I am extremely concerned after I have begun connecting the dots.
Suffice to say I have damn near lost hope for the California Republican Party due to what I have seen. I am not ready to declare that the grassroots have achieved a pyrric victory with the take down of Chad Mayes, as that will be determined by Mr. Dahle, but the rest of the package has been like re-living my first 180 days of sobriety borne out through what I have seen and observed.