California’s Betrayal of the Working Class

The Golden State’s left-wing policies hurt working-class and middle-class residents

Written by Joel Kotkin, the Roger Hobbs Distinguished Fellow in Urban Studies at Chapman University, executive director of, and a published author who lives in Orange County, Calif.

The recent California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco exposed the divide between the state’s progressive and working-class voters. Progressives, in their militant certitude, support left-wing policies that often don’t affect them; it’s the working class that suffers the consequences of these proposals. But the Green New Deal, widely embraced by party leaders, pushed too far, triggering a backlash at the convention. The state’s private-sector labor unions, notably the building trades, organized a “Blue Collar Revolution” protest against the Democrats’ climate legislation.

The Democrats are calling for the elimination of fossil fuels by 2030, which would result in California’s immiseration, especially for workers in the state’s energy-production sector, the nation’s fourth-largest. In 2012, the oil and gas industry employed over 400,000 Californians, but these workers—unionized and well-paid—can expect pink slips with the green package. California’s renewable mandates also threaten the building-trades unions, which count 400,000 members statewide—a sizable contingent, though considerably below the industry’s 2007 numbers.

Read the entire piece on City Journal.

Learn more about why small businesses, large corporations, millennials and Generation X (and in select instances Gen Z) are leaving California for other states here. Scroll down for summary).

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