In California, Dan Lungren pocketed the Republican nomination for governor amid increasing conservative doubts about his political judgment. On the most controversial initiatives on the ballot, he and his party went 0 for 2. Republicans uniformly cheered on the losing “paycheck protection” initiative to keep unions from spending dues on politics against their members’ wishes. Whatever its merits as policy, the campaign for paycheck protection overestimates public hostility to “union bosses.” A sharply anti-union politics alienates blue-collar social conservatives, a/k/a Reagan Democrats. Meanwhile, these same voters — who include many Hispanics — carried the initiative for teaching in English rather than Spanish to an easy victory despite the silence of the state GOP and the milquetoast opposition of Lungren. Republicans continue to ignore troublesome social issues — and their own interests.

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