Neel Kashkari Fights the Future
Badly trailing in the polls, Republican candidate for governor Neel Kashkari is trying to get traction with his party’s right-wing base. He’s rolled out endorsements from prominent Republicans like Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, and Pete Wilson (all of which will make him radioactive in the general election this fall). Yet he is still trailing far right extremist Tim Donnelly for the second spot in the June election.
In a desperate move, Kashkari is now spending $500,000 of his own money on the following TV ad that touts his desire to slash public spending. In the ad, Kashkari chops wood – an activity alien to about 95% of California residents – to symbolize his desire to cut everything. And near the end of the ad, he aims his ax at passenger rail:
Kashkari is doubling down on his opposition to high speed rail, despite the thousands of jobs it will create for Republican voters in the Central Valley, despite the fact that it will cover its own operating costs, and despite the fact that it is utterly essential to the state’s ability to reduce CO2 emissions. Perhaps most importantly, he does so despite the fact that a majority of Californians still support high speed rail.
Even if Kashkari succeeds in making it through to the November election, he will be lucky to break 40% in the final vote against the popular incumbent, Governor Jerry Brown. Brown, of course, is a strong backer of high speed rail and enjoys favorable polling and re-elect numbers. Kashkari is going to be very disappointed to learn that California voters don’t share his hostility to a project essential to California’s future.