Recent focus groups in California have revealed a common thread of economic uncertainty and a growing disillusionment with state governance. Participants voiced concerns that elected officials appear more intent on pulling down the middle class, making them poor, instead of pulling the poor up. 

California, historically viewed as a land of opportunity and promise, now evokes a sense of hopelessness among many, including traditionally optimistic groups such as Latinos. One key sentiment shared was, “California is unaffordable, even mentally”—highlighting the soaring costs of food, gas, housing, and utilities.

Discussions also examined the recent minimum wage increase for fast-food workers. Although many participants recognized wage increases as necessary to counteract inflation, others saw them as counterproductive measures. Some argued that the new $20 per hour minimum wage for “flipping burgers” and making “pappitas (fries)” discourages the work ethic and creates a workforce of “flojos (lazies)” – that it was paying workers not to be motivated.

Candidates seeking political office in California confront a landscape filled with economic anxiety and disillusionment with governance. To address these concerns, politicians must craft messages that resonate deeply with their constituents’ financial realities and sentiments, emphasizing empathy, realistic solutions, and a commitment to revitalizing California’s promise as a land of opportunity.

Messaging for Elected Officials, Candidates, and Associations

Economic Balance: Prioritize policies that support the middle class, which many feel is being neglected. Emphasize programs to help middle-income families and small businesses and educational programs that equip people with skills for higher-paying jobs. General messaging might include, “We must rebuild the middle class by providing real economic support and opportunities, ensuring everyone can thrive in California by…”

Affordability and Disillusionment: Tackle the perception of California as “mentally unaffordable” by proposing specific plans to address housing costs, rising fuel prices, healthcare expenses, and utility bills. It is crucial that voters feel their concerns are acknowledged and that proposed policies directly impact their lives.

Proposed Messages Might Include:

  • “We are committed to making California affordable and livable for everyone. Our plan will lower expenses and expand opportunities by…”
  • “We will empower residents in [name of district] to build their own California dream through support, training, vocational programs, and resources aimed at increasing opportunities by…”
  • “Your voice matters. We are committed to a transparent government and policies that reflect the needs of [name district or Californians], ensuring no one is left behind. Here are three specific areas we are focusing on…”

You didn’t need to read the words above to know that people are feeling frustrated with their economic situation or are getting sick and tired of seeing homeless littered throughout their community or the constant images of cars being broken into or higher prices every time they open a new bill or go to the grocery store. 

We hope you use this information to craft a message acknowledging the challenges and creating a renewed sense of hope and commitment to addressing the key issues voters face. 

Draft Social Media Posts You Can Use To Drive Voters To Your Proposals: 

  • Feeling the pinch of economic uncertainty in California? You’re not alone. It’s time for real solutions that address the concerns of hardworking Californians. #EconomicReality #CaliforniaStruggles
  • The California dream shouldn’t feel like an unattainable fantasy. Let’s work together to restore hope and opportunity for all. #RenewTheDream #EmpathyInPolitics
  • Tired of feeling like your paycheck never stretches far enough? You’re not alone. Many Californians are grappling with affordability issues that affect every aspect of daily life. Here is our plan to make California livable for everyone. #AffordableCA #RealChangeNow
  • California’s middle class deserves better. With economic uncertainty on the rise, it’s time for policies that prioritize support for hardworking families and small businesses. Let’s rebuild the middle class and ensure everyone can thrive in the Golden State. #SupportTheMiddle #OpportunityForAll
  • Your voice matters. I hear your concerns about the affordability crisis in California loud and clear. From housing to healthcare, we’re proposing specific plans to address the challenges you face every day. Together, we can make California affordable and livable for all. #YourVoiceMatters #CaliforniaForAll