GOP Analyst: ‘The California Republican Party Is Dead’

More evidence that Californians are no longer buying what Republicans are selling:
Even with Prop 8’s coattails, California Republicans lost ground in Sacramento, where Democrats picked up one seat in the Senate and two seats in the Assembly on Nov. 4

“The California Republican Party is dead,” election analyst Tony Quinn, himself a Republican, wrote last week on Fox & Hounds Daily, a political blog. “Call the undertaker, haul away the corpse.”

Others apply a less severe metaphor: dismal health. Either way, signs of doom abound.

Starkest of all was McCain’s loss to Barack Obama in the presidential contest last month by a staggering 3.3 million votes — or a margin of 61 percent to 37 percent. Since 1900, the only Republican nominee for the White House to be trounced by a wider gap in California was Alf Landon, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s challenger in 1936.

Also alarming for conservatives is the hemorrhaging of Republicans from the state’s voter rolls, even in the party’s longtime strongholds. When California’s election map was last adjusted in 2002, Republicans made up more than half of the voters in 11 of the state’s 173 congressional or legislative districts, and Democrats held 66. Now, Republicans constitute a majority in zero, and Democrats hold 57.

Here is Quinn’s postmortem:

Republicans have spent years in denial while suburb after suburb has gone Democratic, hallucinating that “proud pro-life conservatives” can still win in California. Voters just turned down parental consent for abortion for the third time; how many times do Republicans need to be told this is a pro-choice state. Their social issue stands have destroyed the GOP in California’s suburbs…

But it is their xenophobic attitude toward Latinos, that dates all the way back to Gov. Pete Wilson and Proposition 187, that has done the most to sink the GOP. Minority owned small businesses are the fastest growing. Asians and Latinos are moving into the suburbs. Virtually every district Republicans have lost over the past 20 years shows Latino suburban and middle class growth.

The only bright spot for the state GOP in 2008 was the success of Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage amendment. They are quick to bask in the glory, but you won’t hear them claiming credit. They were not major players in fundraising or the campaign. It wasn’t that they weren’t eager to join in all the gay-hatin’ fun. (Not hardly.) They couldn’t participate because they are broke.

Anti-gay ballot measures have been highly effective at getting out the Republican vote in most states — the tactic may have helped George Bush win reelection in Ohio in 2004. But Prop 8 had no coattails in California. It didn’t help John McCain, and California Republicans even lost ground in Sacramento, where Democrats added one seat in the Senate and two in the Assembly to their majorities.

Despite the fact that the most expensive anti-gay campaign ever — $40 million — could not turn out their voters, California Republicans are doubtless summoning up all the Reaganesque optimism they can muster. And politics is a funny business. Who knows, they could be back someday.

It won’t be anytime soon, says Tony Quinn, because the party’s members are literally dying off. “At 31.3 percent of registered voters,” he writes, “California Republicans are at the lowest point in the history of the state. And they will go lower, as elderly white voters pass on. Sometime in the next decade, [registered independents] will pass Republicans.”


  • Tom
    December 29, 2008 - 9:32 pm | Permalink


  • Greg
    December 29, 2008 - 10:56 pm | Permalink

    I get into political arguments with my parents that all end “Well, we won’t be around forever…”

    It seems like a guilt tactic, but I take it as a concession. I win.

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