I live in California, and the politics of people here confuse me. But now, I do not feel so bad. Because the recent election results confirm that I was on to something: Californians are confused. While rejecting Trump, they support Trump's policies. While voting for Biden, they don't seem to support any of his policies.
Obviously, Californians voted Democrat in the presidential race, with over 63% voting Biden. But a vote for Biden tells us nothing about what Californians believe, because Biden told us nothing about what Biden believes. All it tells us when someone votes Democrat is that that person consumes a lot of legacy media.
But you can get a sense what California voters believe by taking a look at how they voted on ballot initiatives. The nice thing about a ballot initiative is it does not have any orange hair. A ballot initiative does not have a Twitter account. A ballot initiative does not have a race or ethnicity, or a gender identity, or a sexual orientation, or an intersectionality profile. Alec Baldwin can't force his lips into the shape of a ballot initiative and make witless caricatures of them on Saturday Night Live.
The nice thing about a ballot initiative, in short, is that a ballot initiative is not a person, and so the media can't make you hate it. If there is not a "D" or an "R" next to a choice on a ballot, the media can't shame and condition you how to vote on it. So the media can't prevent citizens from saying what they really believe on a ballot initiative.
So what do Californians, who overwhelmingly voted Biden, actually believe when they aren't voting out of their media-fomented hate?
Actually, they vote pretty damn conservative:
Californians don't want to ban independent contracting. They passed Prop 22 handily, with 58.6% voting Yes to roll back a maniac California law heavily funded by unions. Polls had predicted it passing. Perhaps that is why Biden did not talk much about his support for the union-backed PRO Act, which would restrict independent contracting nationwide.
Californians don't want to impose greater burdens on small businesses and property rights. They rejected Prop 15, which would have raised commercial property taxes, with 52% voting No. (Polls had predicted it passing by a wide margin.) They also rejected Prop 21, which would have increased rent control, with 59.8% voting No. Perhaps Californians' tax aversion is why Biden didn't talk about his plans to raise our tax rates.
Californians don't like identity politics. They rejected Prop 16, which would have brought back affirmative action, with 57.1% voting No. (Polls had predicted it passing by a wide margin.)
Californians support Trump's criminal justice reforms. They passed Prop 17, restoring voting rights to people on parole, with 58.6% voting Yes.
Californians don't like Kamala Harris's ridiculous idea to let children vote. They rejected Prop 18, which would have reduced the voting age to 17, with 56% voting No.
Californians let themselves be made to hate Trump. But they could not be made to reject Trumpism.
Americans still agree. If you had replaced "Donald Trump" and "Joseph Biden" on the ballot with their respective platforms, Trump wins in a landslide. A reality star has more substance than a legacy politician. Legacy politics is moribund.