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The GOP Is Nearly Dead In California

There was a time when California and its abundance of Electoral Votes was considered safe Republican territory. The GOP won the state in every Presidential election from 1952 to 1988 except for LBJ’s landslide in 1964. Republicans had near consistent control of the state’s two Senate seats, and were competitive in Congressional, Gubernatorial, and Legislative elections throughout this period. All of that changed in the early ’90s. Thanks in part to an ill-advised immigration initiative pushed by then Governor Pete Wilson and state Republicans, the state GOP began to lose the support of California Latinos at the same time that they were falling out of step with the population. Now, the situation is nearly completely reversed. The Democrats have won the state in six consecutive Presidential contests stretching back 20 years now, both Senate seats are held by Democrats, the majority of the Congressional delegation is democratic as is the state legislature, and the Governor is a Democrat. To top it off, the California GOP suffered serious losses last Tuesday by losing important Congressional races, including one that claimed incumbent Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack.

As the Associated Press reports today, all of this has left the California GOP in dire straits:

LOS ANGELES — If the future happens first in California, the Republican Party has a problem.

The nation’s most populous state – home to 1 in 8 Americans – has entered a period of Democratic political control so far-reaching that the dwindling number of Republicans in the Legislature are in danger of becoming mere spectators at the statehouse.

Democrats hold the governorship and every other statewide office. They gained even more ground in Tuesday’s elections, picking up at least three congressional seats while votes continue to be counted in two other tight races – in one upset, Democrat Raul Ruiz, a Harvard-educated physician who mobilized a district’s growing swath of Hispanic voters, pushed out longtime Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack.

The party also secured a supermajority in one, and possibly both, chambers in the Legislature.

“Republican leaders should look at California and shudder,” says Steve Schmidt, who managed John McCain’s 2008 campaign and anchored former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s re-election team in 2006. “The two-party system has collapsed.”

Republican voter registration has dipped so low – less than 30 percent – that the party’s future state candidates will be hobbled from the start.

Republicans searching for a new direction after Mitt Romney’s defeat will inevitably examine why President Barack Obama rolled up more than 70 percent of the Hispanic and Asian vote, and 9 of 10 votes among blacks, essential ingredients in his victory. Women also supported Obama over Romney nationally and in California, where they broke for the president by 27 percentage points.

There is no better place to witness how demographic shifts have shaped elections than in California, the home turf of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan that just a generation ago was a reliably Republican state in presidential contests.

Perhaps even worse for Republicans, they have to contemplate how this could have happened at a time when the state is on the verge of an unprecedented, and perhaps disastrous, fiscal mess that nobody in Sacramento seems to be willing to address seriously:

Lawmakers have been borrowing and deferring debts for the past decade merely to close their annual deficits, and those bills will soon come due. The legislature has raided $4.3 billion from special funds and deferred $10 billion in constitutionally required payments to schools.

The state has also borrowed $10 billion from Uncle Sam to pay for jobless benefits and $313 million this year from the state disability insurance trust fund for debt service on those federal loans. Democrats have proposed replenishing the state’s barren unemployment insurance trust fund by raising payroll taxes on employers. Expect that to happen now.

Then there’s the more than $200 billion in unfunded liabilities the state has accrued for worker retirement benefits, which this year cost taxpayers $6.5 billion. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System says it needs an additional $3.5 billion and $10 billion annually for the next 30 years to amortize its debt.

The state has $73 billion in outstanding bonds for capital projects and $33 billion in voter-authorized bonds that the state hasn’t sold in part because it can’t afford higher debt payments. Unissued bonds include $9.5 billion for a bullet train, which will require $50 billion to $90 billion more to complete. Sacramento will also need more money to support an $11 billion bond to retrofit the state’s water system, which is planned for the 2014 ballot.

In this kind of environment, one would think that a competent opposition party would be able to make the case that the party in charge, which has been the Democrats for the past two decades for the most part, have failed to govern the state effectively. The problem is that the GOP isn’t exactly innocent in the collapse of California’s fiscal situation. They’ve controlled the Governorship for a large part of the past 20 years even as the Democrats dominated the legislature, and neither Pete Wilson nor Arnold Schwarzenegger did much of anything rein in the insanity that was going on in Sacramento. Beyond that, though, the California GOP’s problems are a microcosm of what the party faces nationally:

There are demographic changes in the American electorate that we saw significantly, first, here in California and Republicans nationally are not reacting to them,” said Jim Brulte, a former Republican leader in the California Senate.

“Romney overwhelmingly carried the white vote – 20 years ago, that would have meant an electoral landslide. Instead, he lost by 2 million votes” in the state, Brulte said.

Perhaps no part of the state better illustrates how Republicans surrendered ground than in Orange County, once a largely white, GOP bastion where Nixon’s seaside home became known as the Western White House.

Today, whites make up a little more than 40 percent of the population, while 2 in 10 residents are Asian and about 1 in 3 is Hispanic, according to the census.

In 1980, Jimmy Carter managed to collect about a quarter of the vote against Reagan in the county. But by 1996, with the county diversifying, Bill Clinton grabbed 38 percent of the vote, and Al Gore boosted that to 40 percent in 2000. This year, Obama won 44 percent of the vote in Orange County, according to preliminary returns.

Romney “implemented a winning election strategy for 1980,” University of Southern California professor Patrick James said in a statement issued by the school. “If you look at the demographics and voting proportions, the Reagan coalition would not win a majority today.”

Celeste Greig, president of the conservative California Republican Assembly, said in an email to supporters Friday that the party was in need of a makeover, emphasizing Main Street over Wall Street.

“We have to admit that as a party in California, we’re just plain disorganized,” she wrote.

A preview of how things will go nationally? Well, I think that’s exaggerating things to some degree. Even in California, this dominance by a single party cannot possibly last forever. Nature abhors a vacuum and something will rise up to seriously challenge Democratic dominance in the state at some point, most likely a California Republican Party that goes its own route rather than following the lead of the national party. How long that will take is another question.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Eric Florack says:

    All this because they refuse to be conservative.
    IN a choice between liberal, and liberal lite, which way are things going to go?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 55

  2. Al says:

    Final straw that completely wrecked the GOP brand in California was the Minutemen, which was basically a prototype of the Tea Party. Sane Republicans have been saying for years that courting the Minutemen was a road to ruin but were quickly shouted down by AM talk radio types. The question the GOP faces here is the same one it faces nationally, where does it look to for direction now?

    Personally, I’d love to see a resurgence of “small l libertarians” but it’s very hard to be optimistic on that front.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 9

  3. bill says:

    Cali. is part of the rust-belt it seems. Clinging on to gov’t. handouts and exporting jobs to “working” states. When they run out of money maybe they’ll get it, probably not though.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 53

  4. john personna says:

    Histrionics. Gov. Schwarzenegger and now Brown have worked it from the middle, cutting spending extensively, and looking for new revenues.

    After billions in cuts, Republicans cry “oh noes, they raised taxes.”

    Well only a little and only as a component of the solution.

    One can see why they want to grandstand the whole thing though. It sounds like a Grand Bargain, doesn’t it? Messier, and worked out piece by piece, but it is coming from both ends. THAT is what the right wing meme machine is fighting.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 5

  5. DC Loser says:

    Prop 187 was what did in the GOP in California. I was there when it happened and saw the GOP decline right after it was passed.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 3

  6. john personna says:

    “I’m comfortable with Brown saying there has to be some cuts in state benefits and a tax increase,” said Navjot Singh, 31, a software engineer. “He’s been saying both things for a while. I just hope he can follow through with the cuts while also increasing our taxes.”

    Navjot Singh sounds like a Californian, but not like a Republican. Not right now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  7. DC Loser says:

    I lived in “B-1″ Bob Dornan’s district when he was booted out by Democrat Loretta Sanchez, which was a shocker for Orange County politics. The district has been safely in Dem hands since.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    The GOP is nearly dead in California.

    By a totally wild coincidence, California is nearly dead in California.

    Who’da thunk it?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 39

  9. Argon says:

    Their budget process requirements surrounding tax increases are insane and it’s part of the GOP ‘no tax’ legacy. The system of ballot propositions has also turned out to backfire tremendously, forcing spending for specific areas but no compensating revenue.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  10. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Highest GDP state in the Union.

    This is another innumeracy thing again, isn’t it? If California votes Dem, then the numbers must lie! Lie I tell youuuuuuu!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 2

  11. Latino_in_Boston says:

    I’m quite optimistic about California politics going forward. It seems voters finally gave the state enough revenue to work with to pay the state’s bills. The Democratic supermajorities should be a huge wake up call to the GOP and it’s possible that the California GOP will realize that they need to change their ways to compete.

    The larger trend of one-party control in blue states and red states (there’s only one Democratic governor left in the South), cities basically never choose Republican mayors is not a trend I welcome, however. I wish that we had a two party system in which people could hold politicians accountable without having to vote for the party that is anathema to people’s usual political preferences. I would love to see a tea party like party to challenge the Republicans in the South, and the Green Party to challenge the Democrats for city mayorships and blue state governorships. Unfortunately, the amount of money necessary to be competitive, plus the national trends make this nearly impossible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  12. john personna says:

    State with the most Billionaires? California.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @bill:

    Clinging on to gov’t. handouts and exporting jobs to “working” states.

    Exactly! That’s why Apple, Google, Intel, Oracle, Cisco, Disney, Wells Fargo, eBay, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate and so on are all in Alabama.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 50 Thumb down 5

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    Interesting list, John. And of the 9 billionaire-heavy states how many are red states?

    Tick… tick… tick…

    One. One of the nine.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1

  15. michael reynolds says:

    California is #1 in GDP. #12 in GDP per capita.

    And how is Texas? #2 in GDP but #24 per capita. Ouch. How about that whitest of red states, Idaho, home to many of our finest Aryan nuts? 50th per capita. Utah, most Mormon of states? #34 per capita.

    Of the top ten states in GDP — producing more than half our nation’s GDP – how many went for Obama? Eight.

    It’s almost as if the blue states are dragging around a giant red dead weight.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 70 Thumb down 10

  16. Kelsonus says:

    That explains why California is nearly dead…
    Atlas Shrugging

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 22

  17. scott says:

    Of course, California receives .78 of the federal tax dollar that it sends.

    But I have a couple of other questions:

    Why is everybody so concerned about the state of the Republican party in California and not the state of the Democratic party here in Texas or in a bunch of other Republican states?

    Second, what is responsible for this phenomenon of increased state polarization? Our US culture is increasingly homogenized, malls across the country are increasing the same, mobility seems pretty robust, then why is our politics not converging?

    Sounds like a question for political scientists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  18. Romney “implemented a winning election strategy for 1980,”

    Reasonable enough, given that all Republican policies and rhetoric were deigned for 1980.

    Too bad for them that Project ORCA overloaded their staffers’ CB radios.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  19. Geek, Esq. says:

    States associated with progress in American history are heavily Democratic. Those most noted for their fierce resistance to progress are deep red.

    The party of Lincoln has become the party of Jefferson Davis (and Donald Trump).

    The Democrats aren’t winning because of anything special they’re doing or offering–it’s that the GOP is so repellent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  20. KariQ says:

    @scott:

    Why is everybody so concerned about the state of the Republican party in California and not the state of the Democratic party here in Texas or in a bunch of other Republican states?

    Second, what is responsible for this phenomenon of increased state polarization?

    I know there aren’t nearly as many articles written about it, but Democrats talk about Texas a lot. Granted, most of it is “wait till Hispanic population takes over!” but there is interest in energizing the Democratic party in Texas.

    For the second part, having the same stores in malls doesn’t really make the country homogenized. In fact, I think diversity is increasing partially because of the internet’s ability to let people live in their own micro-culture, plus the reduction in network television’s domination of the entertainment industry. I think we are less homogenized than we have been at any time since the 50s at least, perhaps longer.

    But the parties aren’t necessarily changing with their regions. California Republicans continue to run as if they were in Alabama or Nebraska, when they face a population that has more hispanics and Asians, greater concern for environmental issues, and more economic and cultural diversity than any state not named New York. I am sure that, eventually, the California GOP will change. They will stop pushing for “English as the Official Language” in the platform (which is nothing more than a gratuitous insult to nearly half of Californians), they will stop refusing to compromise or work with Democrats, and even accept that sometimes a tax increase is necessary.

    But maybe I’m being an optimist. I’ve expected them to face these facts and start changing for over a decade, and I see no signs of movement yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  21. wr says:

    The California Republicans had a chance to regain relevance a few years back when the Democratic nominee was the singularly unappealing Gray Davis, and superstar Republican businessman and LA mayor Richard Riordan was running in the Republican primary. And the Republican primary voters did what they’ve done in every election since — they ignore the moderate with broad popular appeal and nominated some right-wing nutcase who would alienate every Democrat and independant in the state.

    Riordan would have won in a walk — just about every Southern California Democrat would have gone for him. Instead we got Gray Davis, who was then recalled for no particular reason aside from his general lack of appeal, and Republican Schwarzenegger was able to slip in because there was no Republican primary.

    Unfortunately, he was much more of an actor than a politician, with an actor’s desperate need to be loved, which meant he flipped and flopped and chased the polls and basically accomplished nothing.

    And then the Republicans went back to nominating the equivalent of Steve King for every seat… which is why they are now a footnote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  22. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    the unemployment rate in California was been higher than the national average for years now. Corporations such as Northrup=Grumman and SAIC have moved their corporate headquarters out of California due to the economic climate there. Southern California has lost is allure as a place for large corporation. Silicon valley exist but has off-shored much of its work. Google and apples actually do not employ that many people and really do not employ that many people in California.

    The idea that new corporations outside of silicon valley would look at California as a place to start up is laughable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

  23. superdestroyer says:

    @scott:

    Can you please provide a cite for the tax return. The last time I looked it up California was close to even. Of course, California got rid of a lot of its defense spending, so it makes sense that federal tax dollars coming back would go down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  24. sam says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It’s almost as if the blue states are dragging around a giant red dead weight.

    Yeah. If, in some god-forsaken alternate universe, the Ryan Budge was even instantiated, the Red states would find themselves economically somewhere in the vicinity of 1866.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  25. superdestroyer says:

    The California of today is the United States of tomorrow. What wonks seem to refuse to do is think about what will happen is national politics becomes like California politics. Of course, as the demographics of the U.S. of tomorrow become the demographics of California today, the politics will become the same.

    Of course, writing about politics will probably lose some of its appeal when all of the issues are about entitlements, who pays, and who receives.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 17

  26. Just Me says:

    I am not sure there is a way to save the party in California. I think they should just let it die and see what happens with no opposition party at all in the state.

    The GOP could of course turn into democrats lite, but really what principles should this new democrat lite stand for? How do they make a case to people who will vote only for the person with the D beside their name?

    That is really where this electorate is heading where the D beside the name (think big blue state city politics where the GOP is non existent and even if the GOP ran somebody of the same race and exact same positions the R isn’t going to win). It is an electorate content to be ignorant on issues and why things happen.

    Californias biggest fiscal cliff is the looming pension problem and at some point all those democrats are going to have to gore their ox.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

  27. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Yup, California’s doing wonderfully. How many municipalities have filed for bankruptcy in the last year?

    But yeah… the same people who think a $16-trillion federal debt is no big deal wouldn’t see any problems with a $16-billion state budget deficit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 15

  28. Spartacus says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Still trying to get an answer from you to the following questions:

    Why is it a problem that whites make up a smaller percentage of Californians than they did 30 years ago? Is there something inherently better about white people such that a state should strive to have the largest percentage of white residents as possible?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  29. bill says:

    @michael reynolds: so the unemployment rate isn’t 10% anymore? and workers are heading back there for all that opportunity? really? can’t wait to see how their tax raising policy works for them, maybe all those billionaires will just throw their spare cash into the state coffers too!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  30. Andre Kenji says:

    @scott:

    Second, what is responsible for this phenomenon of increased state polarization?

    Political polarization exists everywhere. If you look at the maps of elections in any country you are going to see that certain regions favors a party or a political group(Take a look at the last three presidential elections map in Mexico or in Brazil). In the US it´s worse because if you have control over the State Legislature and over governorships, Secretary of State and things alike you have control over the political life inside the State. You can impose Election laws that favors you party, you can draw the Congressional Districts to favor your party.

    There is also the problem of out of state money, that makes competing in a state as the opposition party much more difficult.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  31. edmond says:

    I just finished reading “one Step from the White House” and I was struck by one story that seems so ought of place. When Republican Senator Bill Knowland decided to challenge Goodwin Knight for the GOP gubenatorial nomination in 1958, Knight’s first stop to ask for support was the California AFL-CIO convention to tout his “liberal bona fides”!!!!!

    Can you imagine anything like that happening in the last 30 years?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  32. An Interested Party says:

    All this because they refuse to be conservative.
    IN a choice between liberal, and liberal lite, which way are things going to go?

    Keep deluding yourself that people are just pining away for a real conservative alternative…meanwhile, Democrats will continue to make gains while you live in La La Land…

    Cali. is part of the rust-belt it seems. Clinging on to gov’t. handouts and exporting jobs to “working” states. When they run out of money maybe they’ll get it, probably not though.

    The GOP is nearly dead in California.

    By a totally wild coincidence, California is nearly dead in California.

    As opposed to those Republican paradises Mississippi and Alabama…yes, California so pales by comparison…

    It is an electorate content to be ignorant on issues and why things happen.

    As opposed to Republican voters, who seem to think that tax cuts (and wars) magically pay for themselves…yes, they are just so well-informed…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  33. Tsar Nicholas says:

    This post is OK, but somehow it misses three giant flaming neon elephants in the room.

    - “Single-issue” voting.

    Pete Wilson was elected governor in 1990. He was a solid conservative on virtually every issue, including being at the vanguard of what to do about illegal immigration and for the fight against race preferences. But Wilson was pro choice. And that could not be countenanced by the “single issue” right, i.e., the anti-abortion social right. So they stopped participating in partisan elections out here. To this day they refuse to participate in partisan elections. Wilson also started out during a recession and a fiscal crisis and as part of a bipartisan deal agreed to a tax hike. That inflamed the “no compromise” segment of the local electorate. Again, to this day there are conservatives separate and apart from social cons who refuse to participate in partisan elections out here. They’re still punishing the GOP for what happened two decades ago.

    - Politics by identity.

    Latinos over the past 20 years have moved towards being a lock step identity group for the Democrats. Obviously that’s helped Democrats. It’s also hurt Latinos. Take a stroll around East L.A. Connect the dots.

    - Cause and effect.

    For more than 15 years Democrats have had near absolute control over the CA state legislature. Wilson at the end of his term was near powerless and Schwarzenegger never had much say so. Sure enough California is a fiscal and economic disaster zone. 1+1 = 2.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  34. john personna says:

    So, I gather that the tinfoil hat crowd think California is a fiscal and economic disaster zone.

    This, despite all that “data.”

    Remind you of anything?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  35. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    “Obviously that’s helped Democrats. It’s also hurt Latinos. Take a stroll around East L.A. Connect the dots.

    - Cause and effect.”

    This statement tells me you have no idea how cause and effect works. You could say, the identical statement with say counties in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia or Texas which used to be solidly democratic and now they are all ruby red.

    “Obviously that’s helped Republicans. It’s also hurt Southerners. Take a stroll around the poorest counties in MI, AL, GA or TX. Connect the dots.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  36. marginoerra says:

    Time to stop hating on California. What if they decide to secede?

    http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/jokes/bljokedearredstates.htm

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  37. michael reynolds says:

    The unemployment rate is still high in CA. However:

    SACRAMENTO — California’s unemployment rate fell to 10.2% in September from 10.6% in August, posting

    one of the biggest drops of any state for the month

    .

    The decline took the rate to its lowest level since March 2009, during the worst recession in half a century. It follows the announcement of a reduction in the national unemployment rate to 7.8% in September from 8.1% the prior month.

    So I wonder why things are getting better?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  38. michael reynolds says:

    Housing coming back in California.

    California, the state that led the U.S. into the housing boom and bust with some of the most reckless subprime mortgage lending, is now leading the way out.

    A plunge in new defaults in California helped push U.S. foreclosure filings to the lowest level in five years last month, according to RealtyTrac Inc., a seller of home-loan data. The median price paid for a home in the state rose to $287,000 in September, the highest since August 2008, according to real estate research firm DataQuick.

    At Hovnanian, orders in California climbed 31 percent in the nine months that ended in July and jumped 46 percent in Phoenix, Sorsby said.

    So, that’s unemployment dropping fast, housing prices up sharply. Yep: that proves people are fleeing the state.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  39. Blacque Jacques Shellacque says:

    Thanks in part to an ill-advised immigration initiative pushed by then Governor Pete Wilson and state Republicans, the state GOP began to lose the support of California Latinos at the same time that they were falling out of step with the population.

    Why do you do exactly what the Democrat media does and leave out a very pertinent detail?

    Repeat after me: illegal-immigration initiative.

    Some things to consider: When Prop 187 passed (and Pete Wilson was governor), there was estimated to be around 1.3 million illegals in California, and Wilson left office with a surplus (note: Prop 187 never went into effect due to a court challenge, a typical tactic of the Left when they lose). By 2009, the number of illegals in CA doubled to 2.6 million, and a budget deficit existed of somewhere in the range of forty billion bucks.

    As Arte Johnson of Laugh-In fame would say as one of his characters, “Very interesting.”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 17

  40. michael reynolds says:

    Frankly, I wish more people were leaving – it would keep my housing prices down.

    But it’s true that the numbers are down:

    Does California seem a little less crowded these days? Maybe it’s the 870,550 people who moved out of state from 20XX to 20XX. That’s like the whole city of San Francisco just up and left.

    Wow. That’s bad. I blame Obama and the Democrats.

    Except for the fact that the dates I blanked out are 2005 to 2009. Which would be during the Bush administration nationally and the Republican Schwarzenegger administration here in California.

    People left because the housing was too pricey. From the bubble. The one that inflated during the Bush years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  41. john personna says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Frankly, I wish more people were leaving – it would keep my housing prices down.

    I believe only Hawaii has higher median house prices than California.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  42. bk says:

    @DC Loser:

    Prop 187 was what did in the GOP in California.

    And Prop 13 was the nudge that started the financial problems. Both GOP initiatives. But all you hear from the usual suspects on this thread is the usual coded ooga booga.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  43. bk says:

    @wr:

    Gray Davis, who was then recalled for no particular reason aside from his general lack of appeal

    I am sure that you know that Darrell Issa had his slimeball hands all over that crap. I lived in California for 25 years, from 1979 (right as the effects of Prop 13 were just starting to be felt) through 2004. I know enough to know that many of the commenters on this thread, who live in California, make good and valid points about the state of affairs there, then and now; I also know enough to know that many of the other commenters here wouldn’t know what California is all about if it jumped up and bit them on the ass, other than repeating trite soundbites.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    - Politics by identity.

    Latinos over the past 20 years have moved towards being a lock step identity group for the Democrats. Obviously that’s helped Democrats. It’s also hurt Latinos. Take a stroll around East L.A. Connect the dots.

    Tsar, get off this, you are better than that. Romney tried to get elected by targeting the white vote…. But that wasn’t “politics by identity”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @bk:

    And Prop 13 was the nudge that started the financial problems.

    Far from California, never even visited…. yet…. But as I understand it, CA’s biggest problem is the ballot initiative process and how it ties the hands of Sacramento (?).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    No, he’s not better than that. This is what he’s always been about. He’s a hair better than superdestroyer at dog-whistling, but it’s what he’s about and what Florack is about as well. They are the Republican disease.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  47. KariQ says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Frankly, I wish more people were leaving – it would keep my housing prices down.

    When a true Californian hears that people are leaving state, they always say “Good!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  48. Bleev K says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Too bad you’re still alive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  49. KariQ says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Far from California, never even visited…. yet…. But as I understand it, CA’s biggest problem is the ballot initiative process and how it ties the hands of Sacramento (?).

    This is a big problem, true. Initiatives have tied up much of our budget and nearly eliminated the ability of the legislature and governor to make necessary changes in the face of an economic downturn.

    But…

    Prop 13 is a huge problem. This year, there was an initiative in my area to pass a small parcel tax to fund the fire department and prevent stations from closing. 65% of voters voted yes, and the initiative failed because prop. 13 requires a 2/3 majority for a tax increase.

    Prop 13 also prevents property tax rates from being adjusted according to market changes, capping all growth at 2% a year. The primary beneficiaries are, of course, businesses. Disneyland is still being assessed at exactly the same valuation it had in the 70s, and it’s far from unique.

    This forces the state to rely more heavily on income and sales taxes, and it has taken away the ability of local communities to control their budgets. Sacramento sens a substantial amount of money to the local communities every year, because they can’t raise the money they need by increasing property taxes, and property taxes are not keeping up with increased demands and inflation.

    Prop. 13 has hamstrung the state.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  50. anjin-san says:

    California is nearly dead in California.

    Actually, things are pretty good in the urban costal areas where Democrats dominate. In dumps like Lodi – GOP country – not so much. Lots of meth cooking going on.

    Anyway, when I am enjoying some sushi on the Embarcadero and it is 70 degrees in December, I will be sure to spend some time thinking about how California is “dead” – then I will grab a bench with a good view of the bay and get back to work. Another day in the Socialist hell that is San Francisco.

    How are things out your way?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  51. anjin-san says:

    When a true Californian hears that people are leaving state, they always say “Good!”

    We made a major mistake by encouraging people to come here in the 50s & 60s. Should have said “nothing to see here folks, move along”…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  52. Peacewood says:

    @anjin-san: Slight correction for the benefit of non-NoCals: it is most assuredly not 70 degrees on the Embarcadero in December. Usually 50ish and rainy.

    That said, sushi is yummy, the people are super nice, and it’s a beautiful town. And the rent is absolutely frickin’ ridiculous. $2637 a month for a 1BR…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  53. Fred says:

    The GOP in CA AND ELSEWHERE need to drop the idea of controlling other people’s lady parts. It’s all fine and good to have opinions of how you (and spouse) might deal with abortion, but trying to control the lady parts of other women is a total political non-starter. In any liberal leaning area, you might as well be Hitler trying to run for office.

    If Social Conservatives need a Christian cause to take up they ought to focus on “thou shalt not covet another person’s wealth”. Ignorance of this Commandment is at the heart of the Class Warfare battle that has created much of the fiscal and moral bankruptcy our nation is currently engulfed in. Last I checked, there’s isn’t a 11th Commandment which allows one to pick and choose which Commandments to emphasize. So aim for a bit of balance…

    If Social Conservatives really feel the need to address the abortion issue in a pragmatic fashion, they need a serious upgrade on political marketing terminology — when given lemons, make lemonade, don’t make the lemons more sour.

    DEFUNDING Planned Parenthood is just about the absolute worse politically naive marketing mantra ever conceived. PRIVATIZING Planned Parenthood achieves the same goal, but without the negativity. It also opens up the option to develop and promote other privatized (non-profit) women’s health institutions that are without abortion.

    These simple suggestions apply to Social Conservatives everywhere. The SC rhetoric is too easily attacked in general elections to the point that other issues of significance they may have NEVER GET DISCUSSED. They’re quickly and easily dragged down the Akin Hole of Political Irrelevance. And, by association, other Republican’s are also dragged into this morass leaving Obamacrats pretty near free reign to do whatever they wish.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  54. Blacque Jacques Shellacque says:

    Actually, things are pretty good in the urban costal areas where Democrats dominate. In dumps like Lodi – GOP country – not so much.

    Don’t forget the Democrat dumps of Richmond, Vallejo, and Oakland…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  55. michael reynolds says:

    @Blacque Jacques Shellacque:

    Don’t forget the Republican dumps of Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Idaho. . .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  56. anjin-san says:

    Don’t forget the Democrat dumps of Richmond, Vallejo, and Oakland

    Perhaps you could show me an urban area anywhere on the face of the earth that does not have blighted areas.

    Then you could show me anyplace in any red state that is a third as nice as the bay area is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  57. Blacque Jacques Shellacque says:

    Don’t forget the Republican dumps of Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Idaho. . .

    Yeah, those places are “dumps” and yet it’s California that’s perpetually having fiscal problems to the point that as a result its infrastructure is crumbling and it’s dead last on the S&P state credit rating rankings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  58. anjin-san says:

    it is most assuredly not 70 degrees on the Embarcadero in December.

    As a regular thing? No. But we have our share of beautiful days Nov-Jan. I had lunch downtown the other day and it was 79 degrees. Thats not bad for November. On days when it is particularly nice in SF, I grab my laptop, hop on a train and find a nice spot to work. When it’s rainy & damp, I start a fire, put some music on, and work at home. It’s a good system.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  59. anjin-san says:

    it’s dead last on the S&P state credit rating rankings.

    Yet we still find money to send welfare to red states.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  60. superdestroyer says:

    @Spartacus:

    Hispanics and blacks have much lower educational achievement, higher levels of poverty, commit more crimes, have more children while teenagers and before they marry, and produce less economic output per capita than whites. If you want to spend more on remedial education, more on social services, and more no law enforcement, then you would do what California has been doing.

    A better way to phrase the your question is what is wrong with middle class people moving out of California and being replaced with poor people. California has decided to tie its economy to cheap labor from central and south america to make up for the high cost of living for the middle class.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  61. Barry says:

    @bill: “Cali. is part of the rust-belt it seems. Clinging on to gov’t. handouts and exporting jobs to “working” states. When they run out of money maybe they’ll get it, probably not though.”

    Perhaps you should look at facts- CA sends money to Red States.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  62. Barry says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “For more than 15 years Democrats have had near absolute control over the CA state legislature”

    Except for being able to pass a bidget, which makes ‘near absolute’ rather ‘far’, actually.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  63. superdestroyer says:

    @Barry:

    do you really think that at a time of a $1 trillion dollar budget deficits that any state is paying more in taxes than it receives from the federal government.

    Of course, if progressives would really concerned about the transfer of tax dollars they would oppose the most progressive parts of the tax codes and would actually suppose a flat tax. States like New Jersey and Conn. would benefit from a flat tax much more than Alabama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  64. JohnMcC says:

    Not a Californian, but family members are, so have some trepidation about wading into this. BUT … how has no one mentioned that for many years there was a ban on raising taxes in California unless the legislature voted for the raise by a greater-than-two-thirds-majority? And to note that the Repubs always had at least 1/3rd of the legislature?

    And … how Our Host Mr Mataconis in his very lengthy cut-and-pasted original post, somehow seemed completely ignorant of this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  65. Tony W says:

    You Bay area people have it good, but San Diego can’t be beat for our weather!

    I have a suggestion — the Democrats can finally play hard ball just like the Republicans do.

    New legislation idea – mandate a guaranteed 1:1 return of federal funding all-up to the states. Every dollar a given state pays into the Federal budget gets returned to that state.

    The R’s talk about states-rights and pushing decisions down to the state, I say go ahead! California will be just fine, hope the Red states enjoy the fruits of their labors.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  66. Tony W says:

    oops — slight correction, not 1:1, but proportionate to their contribution to the budget.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  67. bk says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I apologize for being a little shrill last night; probably the result of too much wine after losing a five-team parlay due to a CALIFORNIA TEAM playing like crap (damn you Niners). But yes, OH, the initiative process has been paralytic for years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  68. Barbara Carson says:

    Republicans have only themselves to blame. They want the cheep labor of the immigrants but cannot understand how they wanted more. Now that they are allowed to have a vote the Republicans are outraged by them. They only want sheep that will walk without complaint to the slaughter house, but it`s not only the immigrants it`s the middle-class uniting with the poor because we know we will all be the same if we stay on this Republican path. The United States does well when we all do well, not just the mega rich who only want more which is a sickness in itself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  69. KansasMom says:

    @Spartacus: Well you got your answer. Of course our resident racist isn’t capable of seeing past the fact that poverty and the education level of the parents is more directly responsible than race. I have lived my entire 38 years in very white, very conservative, very Christian, and with the exception of 12 years in liberal Lawrence, very rural Kansas. When I had my first child at 33 I was managing a store in a small town. Almost all of my employees were young, white women and most of them had had a child, or 2 or 3, by the age of 20, many of them had dropped out of high school and only 1 or 2 of them had even considered college as an option. The main difference between them and me was that my dad had an MBA and was realistic enough to realize that teenagers will have sex and that he didn’t want to be a grandpa before the age of 40. Birth control, sex education and the expectation of college were the norm, as it will be for my children. I can unfortunately see of lot their kids repeating the mistakes their moms did. They don’t know any different.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  70. Nick says:

    Once the baby boomers pass from the scene, California will come back like the Phoenix.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  71. anjin-san says:

    @ Tony W

    A lot of people I grew up with went to San Diego State and stayed for the weather. I personally like the seasons here, but there is no doubt SD is a cool town with fantastic weather.

    So has the “California is dead” meme replaced the now classic “the polls are rigged” one?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  72. Tylerh says:

    @bill:

    Bill, California only receives seventy eight cents ($0.78) for every tax dollar sent to Washington, while Mississippi receives over two dollars ($2.02) for every tax dollar they sent to the Federals.

    Of the 17 states that have a losing deal with the feds, 16 voted for Obama. Of the top ten “moocher” states, nine voted for Romney.

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/federal-taxing-and-spending-benefit-some-states-leave-others-paying-bill-58481717.html

    So yes, California is being sucked not. But not by our in-state Liberals…

    Here is some commentary of why this is (short answer: entitlements)

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-19/blame-fdr-and-lbj-for-moocher-paradox-in-red-states.html

    a

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  73. Tony W says:

    @anjin-san: Perhaps so- California is not dead, but we certainly have big problems. I love California, but even I can see lots of room for improvement.

    This is a state with its own regulations and enforcement on the subject of…..wait for it…..furniture safety. We are long known for our unique emission standards. If every state behaved this way it would be untenable – can you imagine an auto maker trying to put Alabama emissions on one car, then North Dakota safety standards on another? Colorado’s new windshield wiper coverage specifications will drive design across the country – hopefully they are not in conflict with those of New Hampshire.

    I would suggest that California takes a hard look at a too-large list of boards and commissions. It’s not that we need to cut hours at the DMV, it’s that we need to stop trying to regulate every little thing that is already regulated at the Federal level.

    Other than that – I’m living in paradise!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  74. Barry says:

    @anjin-san: “We made a major mistake by encouraging people to come here in the 50s & 60s. Should have said “nothing to see here folks, move along”… ”

    Wouldn’t have worked – imagine how many GI’s passed through during WWII and the Korean War.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  75. Barry says:

    @Blacque Jacques Shellacque: “Yeah, those places are “dumps” and yet it’s California that’s perpetually having fiscal problems to the point that as a result its infrastructure is crumbling and it’s dead last on the S&P state credit rating rankings. ”

    Are you actually ignorant of which states pay in to the Federal Government and which states are takers?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  76. Barry says:

    @JohnMcC: “…how has no one mentioned that for many years there was a ban on raising taxes in California unless the legislature voted for the raise by a greater-than-two-thirds-majority?”

    Because the right likes a situation where they have blocking power and no responsibility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  77. Mike says:

    @Tony W

    You forget that CA has been the most populous state in the Union since about 1964. It also has a unique geography and unique weather patterns which require strict pollution controls in order to prevent rendering large parts of the state uninhabitable. From a population standpoint, California is larger than Canada and is the 8th largest economy in the world.

    In any case a significant number of states have adopted CA smog standards as their own.

    I lived in SoCal in the 50′s and 60′s. It was liking living in an atmospheric cesspool. Despite major population growthin the last 50 years, the air in SoCal is so much better than it was back then, there’s no comparison. You can actually see the mountains from the valleys more often than not. When I was a kid, you couldn’t see the mountain even if you were right at the base of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  78. Barry says:

    @Eric Florack: “All this because they refuse to be conservative.
    IN a choice between liberal, and liberal lite, which way are things going to go? ”

    Give it a rest – your Wall St vulture and Randroid lost.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  79. Californian says:

    @superdestroyer: Agree with the last part of your observation 100%. Income division here is atrocious and getting worse because of the astronomical cost of rental housing relative to the wages paid to us in the bottom half (those of us who have to rent). It’s exacerbated by importing low-income foks from poor countries, mainly Mexico & C. America. (Supply & demand: they push up demand for rentals; endless labor supply pushes wages down) Income division here is far, far worse than in Ohio, where I grew up. Bay Area thinks it’s progressive but on income issues they are much more regressive than most of the Midwest. Despite the low living standards of those on the bottom, Bay Area counties keep raising the most regressive tax of all: the sales taxes.
    But as for the first part of your statement, of course those general racial differences are largely the legacy of 1. The South refusing to invest in educating US blacks 1. Mexico & C. American elites refusing to pay for educating their own underclass.@superdestroyer:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  80. Skeeter Sanders says:

    @wr:

    Here in Vermont, the Republican Party is also facing the threat of being reduced to total irrelevancy. The only Republican to win statewide here was incumbent Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, a moderate who would be be vilified as a “liberal” by the far-right-wing crazies who dominate the national GOP.

    Democrats hold the six other statewide offices, a supermajority in the 30-seat state Senate and — when combined with the five seats held by the even more liberal Progressive Party — a supermajority in the 150-seat Vermont House of Representatives. Our lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives is a Democrat, as is our senior U.S. Senator, while our newly-re-elected junior U.S. Senator is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

    However, Vermont’s population demographics, while changing, bear little resemblance to those of California. It’s still the second-whitest state in the Union (97.4 percent), after Maine (98.3 percent). And it’s a predominantly rural state — the most rural in the Northeast. Yet President Obama carried Vermont by a 67 percent landslide, almost equaling his 68 percent landslide in 2008.

    And unlike their fellow Republicans in California and the nation as a whole, Vermont Republicans are much more moderate. So why are they doing so poorly here?

    Simply put, the Republican brand in Vermont has been severely damaged by the rightward direction taken by the national party on social issues. The hard-line opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage by the national party has made life increasingly difficult for Vermont Republicans who are pro-choice and support same-sex marriage.

    It proved too much for the now-retired U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords, who bolted the GOP in 2005 and became an independent. And former Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto in 2009 of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage (nine years after Vermont became the first state to introduce same-sex civil unions) touched off a firestorm of condemnation that cost him the support of several of his fellow Republicans (who joined Democrats in overriding his veto), prompting him not to seek re-election in 2010.

    Unless and until the Republican Party kicks its far-right social conservative hard-liners to the curb, it is doomed to remain a permanently unelectable fringe party — if it survives at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2