Why Does Cal GOP Lose?

John Seiler

Republicans are agonizing about why they keep losing in California, getting wiped out on every statewide race on Nov. 2. The Contra Costa Times yesterday ran a piece quoting a lot of Republican and other bigshots saying the California Republican Party has to become more “moderate” and appeal more to Latinos.

Here’s the reality: California now is a heavily Democratic state. Republicans never again will win statewide races, barring the occasional action movie star who’s married to a Democrat.

The numbers are simple: Latinos vote 70% Democratic all around the country. The more Latinos who immigrate to California and register to vote, the more Democratic California will become. And there’s no indication that Latinos ever are going to vote Republican above their current 30% number, barring the occasional action movie star who’s married to a Democrat.

The CC Times:

“One of the challenges facing Republicans is that California is more moderate than the rest of the country,” Spillane said. “We need to establish an identity that’s different than the national identity.”

It will take more than image makeovers to be taken seriously in a state that may be becoming intractably Democratic, said Manuel Pastor, an American Studies professor at the University of Southern California.

“Republicans think they have an image problem with the Latino community,” he said, “but it looks like they have a policy problem.”

Actually, Republicans have one problem: They’re not Democrats. Latinos vote 70% Democrat.

“We have a deep problem, not one solved easily,” said Duf Sundheim, a former chairman of the state GOP. “We’ll have to make significant changes if we’re to be players in California again. We need to change the way we interact, have a little more humility in the way we present our positions. It requires us to make a fundamental change to our approach.”

No it doesn’t. Nothing will help Republicans. They’re a permanent minority party. They can’t win here any more than they can win in Detroit, where the population is 90% black and blacks vote 90% Democratic.

Latino backlash against Republicans drove the debacle, as illegal immigration occupied a central place in the gubernatorial campaign — first in the GOP primary when Steve Poizner pushed Meg Whitman to the right by accusing her of being insufficiently hard line. Even Gov. Pete Wilson, the face of the unpopular 1994 ballot measure Prop. 187, made an appearance in a Whitman ad, saying she would be “tough as nails” on illegal immigrants.

But the backbreaker for Whitman, and, it turned out, the entire Republican ticket, came after her former housekeeper,

Nicky Diaz Santillan, an illegal immigrant with roots in Union City, emerged with her story of being “treated like garbage” by Whitman.

“Because of Whitman’s ridiculous carrying on with her housekeeper, Latinos were highly alienated,” said Tony Quinn, co-editor of the California Target Book, which analyzes voting trends in the state. “They see Republicans as pandering to what they view as anti-Latino policies and attitudes that don’t draw a distinction between illegal immigrants and ordinary Latinos.”

None of that would have mattered. Without the Nannygate disaster, Meg would have lost by 8 percentage points, instead of the 12 points she actually lost by. So what?

Moreover, a lot of white voters also were turned off by Nannygate. They saw a mega-rich candidate playing outside the rules imposed on the rest of us.

Another factor is that the state’s center of political donations now is Silicon Valley billionaires — and despite their thriving monetarily under capitalism, almost all of them are as left-wing politically as Kim Jong Il. So they fund Democrats. And even when they run as Republicans, they’re Whitman, who’s left-wing (she opposed Prop. 23), or Poizner, a liberal until the minute before he decided to run for governor.

The Silicon Valley Soviet also put up the money against Prop. 23, spending three times what the “Dirty Texas Oil Companies” did in supporting the measure. These crony capitalists just want to make money off all the “new” technologies developed from the environmentalist coercion of AB 32, which Prop. 23 would have suspended. Meg herself opposed Prop. 23.

Ironically, AB 32 will kill hundreds of thousands of good, middle-class Latino jobs. But nobody ever said politics made any sense, only that it makes for strange bedfellows.

Republican strategists will keep talking the “moderate” line because that’s how they’ll get campaign consultant cash from “moderate” Silicon Valley moneybags like Whitman and Poizner and Fiorina. Just as the consultants took cash from Arnold during his races for governor, even though people like me kept telling them he really was a Kennedy Democrat and Austrian socialist.

Republicans who want to live under a Republican governor and Legislature have a simple way to do so: move. Millions already have, another reason California now is a heavily Democratic state, and millions more Republicans will be moving in the coming years, making California even more Democratic.

Nov. 26, 2010

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