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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  1. Barbara Zivica
    Barbara Zivica 27 November, 2010, 11:00

    The Oakland based California Nurses Assoc., headed by former Teamster organizer Rose Ann DeMoro, disliked Whitman for pledging to cut state budget and ranks of public empooyees by 40,00. They instigated Gloria Alred going on the air prior to the election with “Nicky” Diaz, who had concealed the fact she had false ID and was an illegal alient. They also got an immigration attorney for “poor” Nicky was was making $23 a hour.

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  2. Ernie Konnyu
    Ernie Konnyu 27 November, 2010, 11:21

    Fairly accurate analysis by John Seiler of the California Republican party’s present status and its future.

    Some refuse to comprehend the seriousness of the lack of Hispanic support for Republicans. If they would just realize that today the majority of California’s school children are Hispanic and that these kids will register upon adulthood about 4 to 1 Democrat they’ll realize our situation better.

    These realities dictate that California Republicans better start emulating the Florida, Texas and even New Mexico Republicans in getting along better with Hispanics. Why? Florida just elected another Hispanic U.S. Senator,the “messianic” Rubio, Texas Republicans are disproportionately successful in attracting Hispanic voters and New Mexico just elected the first Hispanic female governor, a Republican.

    Finally, whenever the Republican candidate is clearly the better alternate to a weak or tainted Democrat, that Republican will have a good chance of getting elected regardless of Republican registration numbers.

    Yes! There is some California Republican hope but it is rather thin gruel.

    Ernie Konnyu, Former U.S. COngressman

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  3. TonyAndrade
    TonyAndrade 27 November, 2010, 11:29

    “Can’t we get along” is the MO of the Republican Party. I asked Duf Sundheim what is the role of the GOP. He said “we are not the oppopsition party”. We never attack the Demos and their public policies. We only promote the GOP.HE AND THE REST ARE SOOO WRONG. We must nail the Demorats for being radical,marxist,extremist, and against the free enterprize system. They are forcing businesses to leave and taking jobs with them.

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  4. Busted State
    Busted State 27 November, 2010, 11:53

    I’d like to see the statistics that prove the point that the “majority of California’s school children are Hispanic”. I do not diagree with this point, nor do I disagree that Latinos tend to vote Democrat but I don’t appreciate that statistics are spewed out without reference to the source. I think that’s the problems with politicians, they spew crap out knowing they will incite a vulnerable people and manipulate them by playing into their fears. Well I’m sick of it, it is irreposonsible. The problem is Democrats make promises to Latinos even when they can’t keep them and Latinos are scapegoats to the Republicans. Either way, both sides disgust me especially when they think all we care about is immigration. Really? Wow! Thanks for making us sound stupid.

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  5. Wendy Leece
    Wendy Leece 27 November, 2010, 16:17

    Yes, we need to have a more respectful, inclusive attitude toward all Hispanics and toward all minorities in general. We cannot be condescending, no matter color, income or cultural differences.

    Regarding crime and illegal immigrants, in Costa Mesa, we had an ICE agent until the federal government took him out of our jails (we can still call him and run an arrestee’s name by him). Since 2007 we have referred 1,300 illegal alien criminals to ICE. Maybe some have been prosecuted and jailed, but some may have returned. Costa Mesa had a 12% decrease in serious crimes from last year. We are safer. We are also a Rule of Law city. We are looking into requiring e-verify for new businesses.

    However, there is a lot more things that we can do as Republicans to attract Hispanics to the party. If we do, our communities will be better, and safer. We can stop judging all of them and support non profit programs where many are working hard to supplement public education. We can support non profit after school programs (needing volunteers) to undergird the hard working teachers in our underperforming schools. This effort will help to improve our schools and test scores our neighborhods and lower our crime rates. The reality is that many Hispanic parents are not engaged, and may never be engaged because they are working and intimidated by the public school system. As a result, many Hispanic kids fall through the cracks or are underachievers. Some end up getting in trouble. We must be realistic and help where we can instead of pretending this problem will go away.
    If, and this is wishful thinking of course, the borders are sealed (did you read about that tunnel into Nogales?), it will be up to us to stop looking down at minorities and work shoulder to shoulder together. This change in attitude will go a long way to improve our communities and our state. The attitude change has to start with us.
    Wendy Leece
    Mayor Pro Tem
    City of Costa Mesa

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  6. Janey
    Janey 27 November, 2010, 18:18

    Just an excellent piece. Did Kevin Spillane and Duf Sundheim just parachute in from Greenland? Did these insiders really not know they had a “deep problem” requiring “significant changes”?

    Reply this comment
  7. Andy Nevis
    Andy Nevis 27 November, 2010, 21:47

    I agree that Republicans are at a structural disadvantage for the forseeable future, but I disagree with the statement “Republicans never again will win statewide races, barring the occasional action movie star who’s married to a Democrat.”

    Certainly if we continue to parrot the national party that will be the case. But we don’t have to. Consider Massachussets, a state with Republican registration in far dire straits than California. They had a Republican governor for 16 straight years, from 1990-2006. As everyone knows, they just recently elected a Republican US Senator. How did they do this? Easy, their candidates realized that they had to tailer their message to their state. Instead of representing the dire hard conservatism of the rest of the country, the Republican party in Massachusetts has positioned itself as a check on a democratic monopoly. Moderate and pragmatic was the name of the game and it worked. It can work here too. Remember the old mantra “Nominate the most conservative candidate who can win?” It is still true, except in California that candidate now has to be more towards the middle, and especially has to be sensitive towards the views of minorities.

    If we do that, we still won’t win every election and we probably still won’t win back the legislature any time soon. But we will be relevant, and our mere presence will deter the Democratic machine from doing anything too crazy.

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  8. Kenneth M. Fisher
    Kenneth M. Fisher 28 November, 2010, 19:12

    In other words,in order to get elected, we must surrender our family values. Whatever happened to the supposed high family values of the Latinos.

    As a Latino myself; my mother was born in Chih, Chih, Mex., and I still have many relatives in Mexico. I say this is more machine Republican crap. The Republican party needs to reach out and educate those of Mexican decent who came here to escape exactly what the Democrat Party wants to inflict on them and all of us here!

    Kenneth Manuel Valenzuela Fisher, Founder & Chairman
    Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.

    Reply this comment
  9. Ken
    Ken 29 November, 2010, 13:52

    Republicans in other states seem to be able to get along with Latino voters and elect Latino Republicans to office.

    Think back before Pete Wilson foisted the unconstitutional Proposition 187 on us. Pro-life, pro-family Latinos voted in much higher numbers (better than registration) for Republican candidates before we stuck our Republican thumb in their eye.

    Southeast Asians side-stepped normal immigration proceedures and didn’t “wait in line” like they were supposed to… but because of circumstances we welcomed them with open arms. Now they return the favor by embracing Republican values, because they recognize how families, low taxes and hard-work pay dividends. Latinos share these values with us… but of course they vote Democratic (now) because the Republican face is a snarling enemy.

    We look down our nose at 30% of the Latino vote? Well, that’s almost in line with registration… so it doesn’t sound like we are doing very well with the rest of the population either.

    The Latino vote will soon be the majority vote in California. Continuing to propose harsh “anti-immigrant” laws (ala AZ’s SB1070) that are seen as “anti-Mexican” or “anti-Latino” will only further drive the wedge between us. We are driving the Latino vote away… they didn’t always vote 70% for Democrats.

    We prefer to demand “purity” and settle old scores rather than embrace Latino Republican Abel Maldonado, who may have prevailed had he a united party. But instead we play internecine games and elected Jerry Brown’s replacement. We showed him, didn’t we?

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