California Dreaming, Republican Talk of Turning Golden State Red Is Wishful Thinking

Republicans are floating the idea in the media that California could flip to Red in the next presidential elections. The population in the state’s Red counties is growing, Republicans say, therefore the number of GOP voters will rise.

They made the same wild claim recently about the rising population in southern states. If the population in Red states grow, so will the number of Republican voters.

It is logical to assume that when populations rise, the number of voters will also increase. But to assert that new voters moving into Red states or counties will increase Republican rolls more than Democratic numbers implies that more Republicans than Democrats are moving in. And that factor is not necessarily true in the case of either California counties or the Southern states.

For example, most new arrivals in the South emigrate from Blue states like New York, New Jersey and Michigan and Purple states like Pennsylvania. In California, many, if not most, of the emigrants to the Red counties are moving to escape the high cost of living in the vastly more desirable Blue counties.

Here is an example of writer for the Associated Press buying into the Republican’s wishful thinking about taking California:

California is home to nearly 37 million people — one of every eight Americans — and is projected to add as many as 11 million more in the next two decades, roughly the equivalent of the state of Ohio. But while population growth is slowing in left-leaning coastal areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco, it is accelerating in more conservative regions such as the Central Valley and the Inland Empire area east of Los Angeles.

The state’s large Hispanic population, long staunchly Democratic, has become somewhat less so in recent years. Bush won 32 percent of California’s Hispanic vote in 2004, up from 28 percent in 2000. Schwarzenegger won about a third of Hispanic voters in the 2003 recall election even though Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, a Hispanic, was also on the ballot.

To buy this you have to believe 1) only Republicans will move to Red states or counties – or 2) when Democrats move to Red states, they quickly drink the Kool-Aid and become Republicans.

Since most of the voters are Democrats in the states and counties these people are leaving, why wouldn’t the majority of the people moving also be Democrats?

Here in the reality-based world, the decision to uproot and move to another place is a serious and stressful undertaking. Statistically, the top reasons people move are financial/job-related and to be near family. I’ll bet the number of people who move primarly in order to live in a more politically amenable area is zero.


2 thoughts on “California Dreaming, Republican Talk of Turning Golden State Red Is Wishful Thinking”

  1. Been meaning to talk to you about this, cuz, ever since you asked if the South isn’t racist why are all the red states down here? It’s called redistricting, and you’re going to be finding out more about this than you ever wanted to know if Arnold is successful at it. It’s the Republican deal maker.

    In Florida in 2004, we had a total of 10,301,290 registered voters. Of those, 3,892,492 were Republicans and 4,261,249 were Democrats. The rest were various zippy parties, including 1,886,013 with “No Party Affiliation,” aka Independents.

    Florida’s governor is a Republican. Florida’s Senate President is a Republican because more than two-thirds of the Senate is also. Florida’s Speaker of the House is a Republican because way more than two-thirds of House members are also. And, if you believe the election officials, who are overwhelmingly Republican, Florida voted for George Bush for president in both 2000 and 2004.

    With redistricting, the cards are stacked so only Republican candidates can win, absent some extraordinary circumstance. They pound into you that without an R behind your name on the ballot, you’re just pissing up a rope.

    Since Supervisors of Elections are constitutional officers (meaning they are voted into office), they too are partisan-ized. In case after case in 2004, when there was any opportunity for the State Supervisor, Glenda Hood, to err it was consistently on the side of Republicans. All that stuff about purging felons from the voter rolls (or anyone with a name like a felon in a demographic group likely to vote Democrat), deciding the black boxes didn’t need a paper trail, etc., ad nauseum, was our girl Glenda just being a Republican and a friend of Jeb’s. The predictable and effective result? Same as 2000: Handing Florida on a plate to W.

    This could easily happen in California, just like it did in Texas, and just like it has anywhere the Republicans target. They’re good at this, and redistricting is a proven winning strategy for them. I would urge you to put all your local political efforts into stopping Arnold from doing what he’s trying to do. Once he succeeds, you’ll find out what it’s like to be without elected representation, and I can already tell you it’s not fun.

  2. Okay, it doesn’t surprise me that the GOP took Florida by fiat but are you saying that Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina are Red because of Republican redistricting schemes – or could it be because these states have an over-abundance of racists?

    California was controlled by Republicans when I moved here 15 years ago so I have witnessed what’s it like to watch the GOP unravel. It’s a delicious experience, believe me. What’s odd is how undramatic it was – sort of like when Dorothy’s house fell on the Wicked Witch of the East and she just shriveled up and disappeared. Not with a bang but with a whimper.

    What happened? They over-reached on Prop 187 and pissed off millions of Latino voters – a huge percentage of whom would have never bothered to vote if they hadn’t felt threatened by Pete Wilson and his tough talking white guy antics.

    While it is impossible to predict what Arnold can do with the help of Oprah and Entertainment Tonight, at the moment, he’s digging his own grave with the special election in Nov. There’s certainly no popular movement to change the redistricting here. I did cringe when the Dems redistricted the state in 2000. They were so fucking fair to the GOP – did not take away one safe district. Sure wouldn’t have been that way if the GOP had been in charge.

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