Have California’s Democrats made a couple of serious errors?

Two news stories suggest that California Democrats have alienated major constituencies in that once lovely and now benighted state.

In 2020, California’s population was 39,538,223 people. Two years later, it was estimated to have shrunk by .9%, leaving it at 39,185,605 people. That’s a significant trend for the nation’s most populace state. The racial/ethnic breakdown is interesting: 34.7% of Californians are white, 39.4% are Hispanic, 12.39% are Asian, and 5.7% are black. Democrats have ridden to power on the backs of minority voters. But lately, they’ve made a couple of unforced errors.

First, there was the reparations fiasco. When the state authorized a task force to consider reparations, I’m sure Democrats thought the demands would be reasonable: free education at state colleges and universities, tax refunds, nominal cash demands, etc. Instead, the reparations committee claimed blacks are entitled $1.2 million per person plus other types of reparations (no taxes, free college, even free homes, etc.). Given that California has been busy sowing the wind, it should have known that it would reap the whirlwind.

Gavin Newsom, whose values are all wrong but who is no fool, realized that the $800 billion bill for reparations (2.5 times California’s annual budget) was unsustainable, so he did the only thing possible: He said no. However, blacks who are paying attention have noticed that the state is always able to direct huge sums of money to the illegal aliens who are decreasing housing stock, taking jobs, and diluting blacks’ political power:

The state’s bait-and-switch will not go over well with blacks. It doesn’t matter that the reparations task force got greedy. Having seen their “worth,” they will feel cheated. That may be reflected in their votes (assuming, of course, that any legal votes are ever counted in California).

That’s a pretty obvious political problem. However, there’s also a more subtle and amusing problem for the Democrats, and it has to do with pork.

Back in 2018, California’s righteous woke voters passed Proposition 12, a law aimed at protecting animals from factory farming. I’m not going to argue the morals of factory farming. On the pro side, it’s a wonderful way to create as much food as possible for people; on the con side, it’s cruel to animals. Virtue-signaling Californians disregarded the pro and focused entirely on the con.

Under Prop. 12, no meat products or eggs can be sold in California unless the farms from which those products come treat the animals humanely. The most important part of “humanely” is the requirement that individual animals have more space. No more small pens for pigs or boxes for chickens.

The problem for the producer is that more space means more expenses and less profit. I believe the metric is that existing meat and dairy producers would have to cut the number of animals on their existing properties by 30%. That’s a massive cut.

Opponents of the new law tried to oppose it on the ground that, when it comes to meat and dairy shipped into California from other states, Prop 12 imposes an undue burden on interstate commerce. That’s because, if producers want to sell their product in all 50 states, they must change their entire business model to cater to California’s extreme demands.

The Supreme Court (with that evil arch-textualist, Judge Gorsuch, writing an opinion that ignores the text) disagreed:

The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court in National Pork Producers vs. Ross.

And the Supreme Court just handed California the win.

Here’s the opinion written by Justice Gorsuch:

“Companies that choose to sell products in various states must normally comply with the laws of those various states,” he said. “While the Constitution addresses many weighty issues, the type of pork chops California merchants may sell is not on that list.”

I mean, technically, the Constitution does address this issue with the Commerce clause granting the federal government authority over interstate commerce, but I’m no Supreme Court justice, so what do I know?

Do you really think that every meat and dairy producer across America will decrease its profits by 30% to serve California? No? Neither do I. A few may but most will simply write California off the books.

Significantly, for many animal food products, the new law won’t affect Californians very much. When I lived in California, all the dairy, eggs, and meat (beef and chicken) I bought were local. Indeed, my rule of thumb was to avoid those products if they came from out of state because I figured they’d be older and less fresh. To stay afloat, these farmers (and agri-businesses) will comply with the law, although prices will go up.

It’s different when it comes to pork. I don’t buy pork products. That’s not because I’m Jewish. It’s because I don’t like them very much. If I had bought those products, I might have noticed that, unlike my other meat and dairy buys, almost all pork products in California come from outside of the state:

The trouble is that 99% of the pork consumed in California comes from other states.

California’s laws would raise out-of-state pig farmers’ costs significantly in order to continue to have access to California’s market, thereby affecting the entire interstate market.

That fact is why it was the National Pork Producers who went to the Supreme Court. Under Prop. 12, they could either cut their nationwide profits by 30% or lose the California market. When that fact was made known to him, Gorsuch, the textualist who ignored the text, said, “Tough nuggies.”

Now, let’s go back to those California demographics: 34.7% of Californians are white, 39.4% are Hispanic, 12.39% are Asian, and 5.7% are black. White people make jokes about bacon, but it’s the Asians, Hispanics, and blacks who have pork as an integral part of their diet.

According to a 2005 article from the USDA Economic Research Service, Factors Affecting U.S. Pork Consumption, pork is the third most consumed meat in America, behind beef and chicken. Race matters when it comes to pork consumption. On a per capita basis, blacks consume the most pork of any Americans, and Hispanics are the second biggest group of pork consumers. Asians (including California’s large Filipino population), too, consumed more pork per capita than most other races. For all these groups, pork is an affordable, culturally rich staple in their diets.

In other words, slightly more than 57% of California’s population will either be deprived of pork entirely or, if pork still exists in California, will see prices of this dietary (and cultural) staple go up by as much as (maybe more than) 30%.

One of the main things that powers a revolution is food. There’s a reason that opponents of the French monarchy claimed that Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake” (or, more accurately, she is purported to have said, “Let them eat brioche,” which was nicer than the peasants’ hard, brown bread). When you threaten people’s food, you threaten their survival. This is a visceral feeling. The fact that there are substitute foods available (chicken, crickets, worms, etc.), does not take away that sense of imminent starvation.

I keep looking at Black Swans that are disrupting things in 2023: Elon Musk buying Twitter, Bud Light getting destroyed by Dylan Mulvaney’s face on a beer can, Fox firing Tucker, etc. I think that both the unexpected (to Democrats) greed shown by the reparations committee, along with the pork problem about to hit California like a sledgehammer, may also be Black Swans. Republicans and conservatives (they are not the same thing) should exploit both.

Regarding reparations, they should make it clear that Dems don’t keep their promises. And when it comes to pork, they should trumpet the fact that Democrats, given the chance, will starve their citizens and that they value animal lives over human lives.