The CA Future Predicts a PC/High Tech Antebellum South
There are strange forces at work in California. Judging from UC Admissions, we are really loading up with Women, Chinese-Americans, and Hispanics in critical job sectors, just as white oligarchs are becoming a very solid 25% of our population. It is crazy hard to build here, which makes properties prohibitively expensive for the average person. Urban centers are filling up with progressives, who wish to remake society with the face of women of color and LGBT, to the slight consternation of the largely white-male oligarchs. Is this an emerging utopia or dystopia? What is to become of us?
California is so many things, it is hard to describe:
Urban SF/LA/Oakland: As in many American cities, minorities have gained much power. Since the white oligarchy has largely moved to the suburbs and only works in these urban centers, they have lost power. Previously, these areas were ruled by white oligarchy proxies such as African Americans Willie Brown and Tom Bradley. Now, the “next generation” of LGBT/Hispanic leaders are about to take power, as now they outnumber blacks in these cities. Currently, they are hyper-progressive and wanting “payback” for all those years of white male leadership (just witness the attempted renaming of SF schools, including those bearing Abraham Lincoln and Diane Feinstein’s names, which embarrassed many of us). Restaurants and theaters are the stronghold of gay men, while the Forest Service/CSU Admin/Environmental Health are Lesbian strongholds. Hispanics have the numbers, are filling management slots, and some want reparations from previous generations of CA power. All are threatening to replace the “good old boy” network with a “good old butch” or “good old Juan” system. Ironically, the declining black demographic is more or less teaming with the declining white demographic to oppose this growing power (all within the Democratic Party, which rules urban areas by a large margin). The female oligarch triumvirate of Pelosi-Feinstein-Boxer have ruled the State from the Capitol for over 30 years, and are getting extremely long in the tooth. Many progressives want Feinstein and Pelosi out, and it is not yet clear if successor Kamala Harris is a moderate Pelo-stein or a Progressive.
The Central Valley: This is the Bible Belt, and more or less like the Midwest, with large ag production and fewer white oligarchs managing large numbers of Mexican peasants (the ones with mostly native American blood, not the more Spanish blooded ones, who have moved to urban areas). This reminds one of the Anti-Bellum South, with large mansions for the oligarchs, and cheap housing for the Mexican/Central Americans. Up to now, the Hispanic peasantry has been a great deal for everyone, as they work hard, don’t complain, and pay more into the tax system than they take out. Someday, they may unionize and strike for better conditions (as Cesar Chavez did in the 70s, which scared the sh*t out of the oligarchs). The CV white people are mostly evangelicals, worshipping in “big box” churches. Moderate church goers long since have moved to larger population centers. Some in the CV commute long distances to these larger population centers, the old evangelical oligarchs pretend that God chose them to farm this bounty, and lord over these Hispanic people. The nature of farming is changing, as more fruits/vegetables and less cows/cow fodder is underway. By necessity, less water is being used for newer crops (this is an arid climate prone to drought). People like Devin Nunes want water brought to extremely dry land to grow extremely thirsty crops (good luck). Someday, the Hispanics in the area will demand more power and ownership of these lucrative lands.
The Mountain Regions: The people in these areas used to be dependent on timber and mining, but are increasingly dependent on tourism. They are mostly white, their numbers small, and they vote like the rednecks from Wyoming or South Dakota. They put on a nice face for the skiers and hikers, but tune in to Tucker Carlson and Hannity in the evenings. This is an incredibly nice part of California, and one is grateful for the tax dollars going towards the stewardship of the Sierras. In the future, more people will choose to move to these areas, and they may become slightly more liberal, but not too much (by necessity, people here have to be more robust, which currently is a more conservative value).
The Coastal Regions: We used to joke that the people in coastal CA were the offspring of a lumberjack married to a hippie chick. They have interesting “hybrid” values, which may include the protection of old growth forests and abalone habitat while packing a lot of guns. Sometimes I wonder if these people are the future of California politics, since here the scenery is fantastic while logging has declined, and people have a logistical, tourist-serving mentality. The people here are mostly white, with some Native American reservations. Women in these regions can be quite robust, and are an emerging power base.
Land: Increasingly, California land is reaching sanctuary status. It is much easier to get building permits in the CV/Mountain/Coastal Regions, crazy hard in the urban regions (for which frankly, the environment went bye-bye in many years ago). With all the beauty and more fires/drought, the M/CR regions have a kind of natural disincentive to build. The CV region is thought to be the next great population center, which may take much ag land out of production. Ag is sort of at the bottom of the CA economic pyramid, as it makes everything else possible. The CV is also kind of the “dumping ground” for the urban areas (where urban warehouses, prisons, cheap labor, and some of its trash are located), while the mountain zone has historically provided the mineral and timber riches for the urban areas (SF really got rich on their gold and lumber, not so much anymore). The urban centers filled up with the merchant classes (typically Jews, Chinese, Italians, Armenians) who more or less got rich exploiting the valley and mountain regions (less so the coastal regions). With changes to ag favoring fruits and veggies, look for California (already a robust fruit and veggie state with no subsidies) to prosper on that front. They are dairy heavy in the valley (and heavy with cattle forage which is thirsty), so look for that to decline. The coastal regions (especially around Salinas) is prime fruit and veggie land, but then the central valley is gaining. Look for clever “group housing” concepts to take root in urban areas and the Central Valley, to house guest workers, seniors, youth, and those who can’t make enough money to buy expensive oligarch housing. This housing will by necessity be cheaper, include parks/gyms/pools, and be close to fast transit/schools.
The California infrastructure: California infrastructure is getting old, and they don’t have the money to pay for improvements as Prop 13 took away much of the corporate and oligarch revenue. As such, they don’t have enough colleges and water projects, while suffering potholed streets and lousy high schools. In short, anything that requires a permit is pristine (like the environment), while anything that requires active management is underfunded and beset with a kind of PC corruption. The PC corruption is related to the endless struggle to be “fair” to all, while actually grinding progress to a halt with delays and unnecessary wasting of funds. Strangely, we might have been better off when white male robber barons ran things (and they still kind of do…except now they are called “Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs”)
California Politics: The progressive urban political centers on the West Coast (including Seattle and Portland) are becoming an embarrassment to the Democratic Party, and giving wayyyy too much air to Fox News and Donald Trump. Apparently, these cities (while still very nice places with high wages) are becoming increasingly run by a mob of youthfully charged Hispanics, feminists, college students and LGBT activists, no one is really sure. This unwieldy consortium does not always agree within itself, but it is generally infected with Bernie/AOC type Socialist values (not even Social Democrat like Europe…Socialist!) They want the rest of us to accept everything, not judge anything, be ashamed of the last 200 years of white rule, replace policemen with sociologists, pay restitution/reparations, and pay for it all with funny money. Around the edges, they want to give CA back to Mexico and call manholes “personholes” and college semesters “ovesters”. None of this plays well, naturally, with the white oligarchs, nor does it play particularly well with black people, whose numbers are in decline statewide. It damn sure doesn’t play well with the Republican strongholds in the CV and Mountain regions. Look for the Pelosi/Feinstein mediated oligarchs to join forces with the black politicians to turn back these nutty progressives (who are simply using California’s bounty to act out their silly ideas). The large numbers of Mexican peasantry will be bought off (as usual) by the oligarchs, until they can produce their own “Abraham Lincoln” type of character, who may save us all.
Conclusion: Many may move out of the State in future years, as it is getting a) too expensive b) politics too nutty c) too hot (ala fires or drought). But what will keep many in the State is 1) The high wages 2) the beauty 3) tolerant politics 4) great weather. Increasingly, California depends on the white oligarchs, while ceding power to progressives, who don’t exactly have a coherent plan for running the State. To address high housing costs for the disenfranchised, large all-inclusive housing complexes (like land-based cruise ships) may have to be built. Many citizens may turn to self-service to prop up education and fix potholes, lest they be forced to move to Tennessee.