Chad Mayes, a Republican state lawmaker who represents the Coachella Valley in the California Assembly, has for years questioned the future of the state's Republican Party. On Monday, Mayes turned to Twitter to crowd-source answers to this quandary.
“What does ‘Republican’ mean to you? A sincere question,” he wrote to his approximately 3,200 followers.
Just 24 hours later, Mayes had received more than 10,000 responses. They were overwhelmingly negative. Among the replies were personal anecdotes, philosophical takes, critiques of President Donald Trump and a lot of biting political cartoons and memes.
“Fascinating. Keep the comments coming," Mayes responded. On Tuesday afternoon, he retweeted himself and wrote: "Hey fellow Republicans, if you want to know what people think of us, read the comments. It’s instructive.
What does “Republican” mean to you? A sincere question.— Chad Mayes (@ChadMayes) August 19, 2019
Mayes didn’t respond to The Desert Sun’s requests for comment on Tuesday. But the tweets he received likely didn’t boost his confidence in the direction of the California GOP.
As of February 2019, less than a quarter of California voters were registered as Republican, according to the California Secretary of State's office. Voters haven't sent a Republican to statewide elected office in California since 2006.
Mayes stepped down from his role as head of the Assembly Republican caucus in 2017 after facing intense criticism for siding with then-Gov. Jerry Brown and Assembly Democrats on a key climate change initiative. In early 2018, Mayes announced the formation of an organization, New Way California, designed to promote what he called "true Republican values."
In a November 2018 opinion piece published in The Desert Sun, Mayes noted that the number of registered Republican voters and elected officials in California has taken a “dramatic drop” and Trump’s statements on immigration, gender equality and the environment have “further damaged the Republican brand in California.”
“The California Republican Party must be willing to abandon toxic messengers and outdated thinking and adopt policy approaches that will meet the needs of today’s California,” Mayes wrote. “Otherwise, it will have no future.”
In her response to Mayes' question, Cate Eland described her experience with Republican relatives and friends.
“Their politics are selfish and paranoid,” wrote Eland, whose Twitter bio says she is from Austin, Texas. “They are steeped in propaganda and refuse to listen to anything other than sources that confirm their bias. They believe theirs is the only right way to live.”
Most of my family and friends back home are Republicans. Their politics are selfish and paranoid. They are steeped in propaganda and refuse to listen to anything other than sources that confirm their bias. They believe theirs is the only right way to live.— Cate Eland (@RomancingNope) August 20, 2019
Natalie Finn, an editor at E! News, also left a personal response. Republican, she said, means “social oppression hiding behind bogus claims of ‘religious freedom,’ which is why mom is now an independent.”
“The so-called ‘moral majority’ really ruined it for the people who cared about states’ rights and free markets,” Finn wrote.
Social oppression hiding behind bogus claims of "religious freedom." Which is why my mom is now an independent. The so-called "moral majority" really ruined it for the people who cared about states' rights and free markets.— Natalie Finn (@natfinnonE) August 20, 2019
A Twitter user named Genevieve, who on Twitter calls herself a "fighter of fascism" and "social justice warrior," responded to Mayes' question with a string of words: “Anti-women, anti-white, anti-education, anti-environment, anti-non Christian, anti non wealthy, anti-fact, anti-decency, anti-freedom, anti-equality, anti-human and essentially anti-American."
"They are everything the Constitution is supposed to protect us from,” she wrote.
Anti- women, anti-white, anti-education, anti-environment, anti-non Christian, anti non wealthy, anti-fact, anti-decency, anti-freedom, anti-equality, anti-human and essentially anti-American. They are everything the Constitution is supposed to protect us from.— Genevieve (@GenevieveGage3) August 20, 2019
Meanwhile, Carol Vernon, who identifies herself on Twitter as a "Liberal/Dem & advocate for human rights," suggested just three words, "Greedy Old Predators," a play on the acronym GOP, which stands for Grand Old Party.
GOP: Greedy Old Predators.— Carol Vernon ☮ 💙 (@CarolVernon7) August 19, 2019
Politics as usual
A few people on Twitter tried to strike a more even tone.
“I would not say that all Republicans are evil,” wrote Michael Okuda, who on Twitter describes himself as a graphic designer. “But the good ones have been MIA, leaving their party overrun by corrupt, traitorous xenophobes and bullies with no compassion, and with no regard for American law, American values, or the American people.”
I would not say that all republicans are evil, but the good ones have been MIA, leaving their party to be overrun by corrupt, traitorous xenophobes and bullies with no compassion, and with no regard for American law, American values, or the American people.— Michael Okuda (@MikeOkuda) August 20, 2019
Meanwhile, Joey Hurst, who on Twitter calls himself a father and mentor to at-risk students, said both the Republican and Democratic parties are “full of lies and self agenda.”
“Only way to fix government is get rid of parties and let people think for themselves,” he wrote.
Same as Democrats. Both parties full of lies and self agenda. Only way to fix government is get rid of parties and let people think for themselves.— Joey Hurst (@joeyhurst35) August 20, 2019
Rebecca Plevin is a reporter for The Desert Sun. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @rebeccaplevin.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: California lawmaker asked Twitter what 'Republican' means