Donald J. Trump’s (R-New York) impressive victory in last year’s presidential election has blinded the Republican Party to an impending catastrophe. The Grand Old Party suffered disastrous losses on the West Coast that might soon be repeated nationwide.
Trump lost California by a margin of 61.7% to 31.6% or two to one, Los Angeles Times Capitol Journal writer George Skelton pointed out. The Donald received the lowest percentage of the California vote of any Republican presidential candidate for the last 160 years.
If Skelton’s claim is true, Trump’s performance in California was worse than that of William Howard Taft in 1912, Alf Landon in 1936, and Barry Goldwater in 1964. Those were three of the worst presidential losses in Republican history. Franklin D. Roosevelt (D-New York) beat Landon by a margin of 60.8% to 36.5% in 1936 for example, which is disturbingly close to Hillary’s margin of victory in California last year.
Trump’s humiliation in California was delivered by an opponent Skelton correctly described as a “horrible, flawed candidate.” If Hillary Clinton can deliver that kind of beat down to Trump in the Golden State, what chance do Republicans have there if Democrats run a good candidate?
Nor is it just the Presidency, the GOP controls no chamber in any of the three state legislatures on the West Coast. The Grand Old Party lost control of the Washington State Senate when Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund was defeated by Democrat Manka Dhingra in a race in the Seattle suburbs, on November 7, 2017.
That race attracted big donation money from all over the country, National Public Radio (NPR) reported. At least $6 million was spent on the race because Dhingra’s win ensured Democratic control of state governments throughout an important area of the country. Not even big money from national Republican donors could help Englund.
Republicans Need to Figure Out What Went Wrong on the West Coast
The Republicans’ popularity on the Pacific Coast has fallen to historic lows.
It has been generations since one of the two major U.S. political parties received since tiny percentages of the vote in a vast region of the country. The last time, the GOP saw numbers so low was when the Democrats ruled the Deep South before World War II.
These levels of loss are almost unprecedented in American history. Just 30 years ago, California was a Republican bastion that produced Ronald Reagan. Today it is hostile territory for the Grand Old Party.
Sorry Conservatives the Left Coast is America
Knee-jerk conservatives that offer the stupid answer: “the Left Coast does not reflect America” are only fooling themselves.
The demographic trends that turned California blue are being repeated in some of the GOP’s key states including; Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and potentially Tennessee. Those trends a include a growing nonwhite population, an increasingly secular population, shrinking numbers of Christians, the dying off or moving off of aging Baby Boomers, and rising levels of education.
Democrats won big in affluent and highly-secular white suburban areas that resemble California in elections on 7 November 2017. Among other things they won the governor’s race in Virginia by a margin of 54%, The Guardian reported. The Democratic candidate Ralph Northam received 60% of the vote in Prince William and Loudoun counties; two Washington D.C. suburbs that resemble California in demographic makeup. That is affluent, secular, and multiethnic.
Part of the reason why Trump critic and U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) has decided not to run for reelection next year is to avoid a humiliating loss in the general election. One has to wonder if similar sentiment motivated another Trump critic’s; U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), decision to drop out.
Are Republicans a National Political Party anymore?
The obvious and bothersome lesson here is that the present-day Republican Party and its agenda are a tough sell to a majority of the population in a large swath of the country. What is even more troubling is that nobody at the GOP seems to have got the memo.
Republicans need to figure out what is going wrong on the West Coast before it gets repeated elsewhere. If they do not, the GOP might itself a hopelessly ineffective minority party, or taken over by outside forces its’ present leaders will hate.
What is even more troubling is that Republicans may no longer be an effective national political party – even though they control the White House and Congress. All Americans should be concerned about this trend because we need two effective national political parties for a functional democracy.