One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that half the country seems to make it their personal mission to wage a propaganda war against California. You barely need Russian bots when so many Americans seem willing to paint Cali as a post-apocalyptic hellscape where hobos run wild shitting on the streets and littering the street with used needles.
So what gives?
Some of it is jealousy. I had a guy in Tulsa tell me some of the awfullest things about California (a place he has never lived in or visited).
“People shit in the streets” is a popular one…“There’s all these damn bums everywhere” is another… “You can’t even buy fruit without taking out a second mortgage” cost of living complaints.
I’m not sure people understand what they’re saying, but they’re essentially arguing contradictory things: California is an undesirable hellhole that can’t master basic things like hosing feces off the streets…but it is also the wealthiest state in America, the biggest economy in the world (5th biggest in the world by itself), and the most populated state where people clearly want to live. [I’m not sure you can say that about Okie.]
There’s not a city in California that is among the 10 most violent in the country.
And even though there are homeless people in SF and LA, that’s partially because rent is so high, but why is rent high? Because you have some of the wealthiest people in the country fighting for real estate. [You’ve also got a lot of international billionaires buying up California real estate—which has put a real squeeze on housing. But they wouldn’t be buying those properties if they didn’t believe they’d be worth something in the future.]
You don’t get that with places that are dying out or anything approaching “hell hole” status.
Despite the inequality, standard of living is pretty good in California, and you can’t say that about most of the red states criticizing CA.
I think people are especially irritated that “The Governator” Ah-nuld mismanaged the state into near-bankruptcy and Jerry Brown immediately turned the state around—even though it was 6 months from insolvency once he took over.
It’s almost like Republicans were trying to mismanage it into ruin, and Democrats saved it, and now voters are pretty unlikely to try out Republican management in the future–which really irritates them since they can’t take credit for what California’s become.
Truthfully, most of America’s GDP comes from blue cities and blue states, and I think there is an unspoken bitterness that the “party of business” doesn’t actually drive America’s businesses, even though they’d rather eat a bullet than admit that.
I think it also especially irritates the ultra-corporatists that California has national influence on economic matters. For example, they have pretty much controlled fuel mileage standards, since the big automakers in Detroit won’t make cars they can’t sell in CA, the biggest car market in America.
“Damn California, making all of our fuel mileage standards better. Fuck them!”