With most indicators predicting a likely Democrat wave in the 2018 mid-term elections, things look even worse for Republicans in California where the wave is expected to be a veritable tsunami. A government shutdown tomorrow due to Republicans - who control both houses of Congress - seemingly unable to pass a budget resolution will only worsen an already bleak outlook for the GOP. The Trump/Pence decision to open the coast to offshore drilling - something equally unpopular in Virginia - only adds to the toxicity of the GOP with voters. A piece in New York Magazine looks at the likely bloodbath for Republicans in California. Here are highlights:
Everyone knows how strongly Democratic California is, but it’s amazing how quickly and thoroughly the Donkey Party has monopolized political power in the Golden State.As recently as 2010, California’s governor, lieutenant governor, and state treasurer were all Republicans. Now Democrats hold every statewide elected office. In 2010 there were 19 Republican U.S. House members in the state. Now there are 14. In 2010 there were 15 Republicans in the State Senate and 32 in the State Assembly. Those numbers are now down to 13 and 25. The losing Republican presidential nominees each won 37 percent of the popular vote in California, in 2008 and 2012. The winning Republican presidential nominee took 31 percent of the vote in California in 2016.
Bad as these trends look for the GOP, they are very likely to get worse this November — possibly a lot worse. In a thorough analysis of California’s political climate, Reid Wilson describes 2018 as a “perfect storm” for Democrats. The term we will soon begin to hear is tsunami, to distinguish California from the Democratic “wave” that’s developing nationally.
[T]he few assets Republicans carry into the midterms nationally probably won’t help much in California. The GOP’s signature piece of legislation, the tax bill, is viewed very negatively in California, where it will limit or deny state and local income and property deductions to an estimated 2.5 million taxpayers. And the humming economy is more likely to be credited to California’s own Democratic leadership than to Trump, partly because the state is so large and partly because state leaders have defied Trump’s policies wherever possible.
Trump himself is extremely unpopular in the state: . . . . Just 28 percent of adults approve of Trump’s job performance, according to a December survey by the Public Policy Institute of California. . . . . Two-thirds of independents disapproved of Trump’s performance, and 57 percent of all voters said they strongly disapproved.
Most ominously for Republicans, the state’s top-two primary system, which places the top two finishers in a nonpartisan primary on the ballot in the general election, is very likely to produce a November ballot with no Republicans running for the top two positions, governor and U.S. senator. No prominent Republican appears likely to run against Dianne Feinstein and her Democratic challenger state senate leader Kevin de Leon.
Having nothing but Democrats at the top of the ballot could be disastrous for Republican turnout, while contributing to what will probably be high levels of Democratic enthusiasm in the state. . . . .The top-of-the-ballot vacuum will add to the many problems of Republican U.S. House members from marginal districts, seven of which were carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016.
California’s move toward a system in which most voters automatically receive mail ballots could erode one remaining GOP advantage: the tendency of Republican-leaning voters to participate at higher rates in non-presidential elections than their Democratic counterparts.
With all these problems, California Republicans are in real danger of becoming a marginal factor as voters become accustomed to Democrats as the natural governing party in the state — particularly if they succumb to the temptation of going Full Trump and spending their time lashing their fellow Californians for being godless hippie terrorist-coddling sanctuary city supporters. Republicans self-destructed in the state once before, in the 1990s, when Pete Wilson identified his party with anti-immigrant policies. If they now become the loud-and-proud “deplorables,” then their exile in the political wilderness could last for a long, long time.