Tea Party Wave Sweeping Country Appears to Be About to Miss California

Share:
tea-party-signs_-_EXDemocratic voters reading this ought to brace themselves for a rough night that is likely to rival 1994, if not exceed it.  Angry voters across the nation are poised to sweep out the incumbents yet again in large numbers – this time to the benefit of the GOP.

However, as I suggested last week, Californians ought to build that moat because the wave is not going to hit here.  Recent polling suggests that, while it may be true that Republicans will turn out in large numbers across the country and Democrats will stay home, there is little evidence that will happen in California.

Polling data indicates that while there may be a Democratic excitement deficit, there will not be a Republican surge that will sway the outcome of many races.  That means that Democrats at the top of the ticket, Jerry Brown and Barbara Barbara, both of whom hold significant leads, will likely prevail in their races.

“Republicans are talking about something that doesn’t exist here,” said Darry Sragow, interim director of the Los Angeles Times/USC Poll.

Instead, the Tea Party wave that will toss out Democrats across the national will stop at the California border.  Why?

There are some theories. One is that the sheer size of California makes it difficult for a small, intensely-focused movement like the Tea Party to penetrate.

Another is that California is simply too Democratic for the impact to matter.  Democrats hold a 13-point edge in voter registration.

Even in the best-case scenario for the GOP — a big turnout among Republicans and a depressed Democratic turnout — the former would still be outnumbered by 5 percentage points, Sragow said. The Times/USC poll accounted for such a scenario, and had Brown and Boxer still winning handily, they report.

My personal theory is that California’s ethnic demographics preclude part of the message of the Tea Party from reaching Californians, and combine that with the fact that at the top of the ticket is Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, neither of whom are overwhelmingly compelling in their own right.

Moreover, both are novices in a state run by Governor Schwarzenegger since 2003, himself a political neophyte in what is largely viewed as a failed governorship.  The state has seen record budget deficits, and has been paralyzed by partisan bickering that the Governor has failed to be able to quell and has lacked the capital in his own party to even broker a deal.

As a result, we even see the possibility that Californians will pass additional reform measures.  For example, polling now shows that a full 58% of likely voters support Proposition 25, which would would replace the constitutional requirement that the state budget be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature with a simple majority vote requirement.

Such a change would allow Democrats to pass a budget without any GOP votes, under the current makeup of the Legislature.

However, it would not allow them to raise taxes.  A compromise for sure, but at least it begins to change the dynamics of an unworkable system.

Democrats are not just poised to win at the top of the ticket, but down the line with the exception of the AG’s race, which is too close to call, but the smart money points to the moderate Steve Cooley.  Kamala Harris, the San Francisco DA, is seen by many as too liberal on the death penalty, and who also has an office that has been hit by numerous scandals.

Recently, San Francisco’s Sunshine Ordinance Task Force found that San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris’s office violated the city’s open records law when it failed to release public records requested by Steve Cooley, her opponent in the race for attorney general.

She has also failed to turn over evidence to defense attorneys and the crime lab has had numerous problems.  Even then, most polls show her within shouting distance and with momentum up for tickets on the Democratic side, she might pull it off.

That statement alone shows how different California is from the rest of the country.

Illegal Immigration Views Different in California

Another factor less explored can be seen in an article in the LA Times on Monday which shows that California has a very different view of illegal immigration in California. 

Back in 1994, the last time we saw such a GOP wave, Californians were perfectly willing to blame illegal immigrants for the state’s woes. They passed one of the most restrictive anti-immigration policies in the nation in Proposition 187, which has never been enacted, having been thrown out by the courts.

Times have changed however, with the latest LA Times/ USC Poll showing that 48% of Californians think that immigrants were a benefit to the state while 59% were in favor of allowing illegal immigrants who have lived or worked in the United States for at least two years to remain here.

What has changed?

Several things, it turns out.  First, the flow of illegal immigrants has declined since 2000 with the population growing less than one-third the rate of the rest of the country.  Those who are here have become part of the local population and apparently no longer represent the threat of displacement or cultural upheavel that they did 16 years ago.

As Gregory Rodriguez for the LA Times writes, “Californians survived the much-hyped demographic shift, and we’re beginning to get used to our new reality. In other words, whites got to know their new neighbors. And, despite real tensions caused by illegal immigration, familiarity didn’t breed contempt.”

Californians are now twice as likely to have “exposure” to minorities as residents of the rest of the country.

The bottom line is that it seems that for Californians, the fear of the unknown did not pan out.  The waves of immigrants to California have not destroyed the state.

Is this the wave for other states in the southwest?  It is difficult to know for sure.

However, from one standpoint, the solution to the problem of illegal immigration is likely not going to occur with harsh policies.  Rather, it is more likely that the solution will come from some sort compromise policy that stops short of an open border, but acknowledges the impossibility of removing millions of residents.

We need to find a solution that provides the people who come to this country, wanting to work, a means to do that legally.  If we do that, we will pull the rug out from under the black market that profits from the smuggling of human cargo into the United States.

Through legalization, we can better regulate the flow of immigrants to reduce the disparate impacts on one area, relieve the pressure on interdiction and law enforcement, and help quell border violence and even some of the drug trade.

It is a difficult process, but one that suggests that levels of hostility will not remain high forever and that policies based on fear and anger are likely to be fleeting.

Reflection

In the days and months ahead, there will be much contemplation as to why the Democrats were routed, but at the core it appears to be a failure of leadership, almost a cowardice on the part of the President to engage his political foes in the type of rhetorical battle that a president needs to. 

We can throw in the fairly weak leadership style of Harry Reid and wonder if Charles Schumer would not be a far more formidable leader in the Senate.  We at least know that Mr. Schumer will not back down from anyone in a political fight.

From my perspective, we are far more impacted by what happens at the state and local level than what happens at the national level.  That is not to suggest that the national level does not matter, as we saw firsthand in the last decade how President Bush’s policies led to unnecessary foreign excursions.

But in terms of finding ways to solve our problems, we rely much more heavily on state policies and local polices than national ones.  Barring the unforeseen, California will have an opportunity to move forward with a new political vision, and that is something worth watching.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

Share:

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

12 thoughts on “Tea Party Wave Sweeping Country Appears to Be About to Miss California”

  1. rusty49

    “California will have an opportunity to move forward with a new political vision and that is something worth watching.”

    That is so laughable on so many fronts. Move forward with a new political vision? Yeah right. The Democrats have controlled the State legislature for the past 14 years so what’s new about that?

    Add to that, if they do indeed win, another 6 years of Boxer and the retread Brown and wow, what a new political vision we have going there.

    The public unions are jumping for joy.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    I was thinking more along the lines that California would be able to actually act on the budget on time if Prop 25 passes, but I guess if you have a limited conception of the term it would be laughable. I think it’s a novel approach to allow the people we elect to actually govern and decide if we like them.

  3. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: ” Barring the unforeseen, California will have an opportunity to move forward with a new political vision and that is something worth watching.”

    Brown and Boxer would just be more of the same…

    dmg: “In the days and months ahead, there will be much contemplation as to why the Democrats were routed, but at the core it appears to be a failure of leadership, almost a cowardice on the part of the President to engage his political foes in the type of rhetorical battle that a president needs to.”

    Or perhaps the nation didn’t like some of the policies Obama has pushed on the American people…

    Or perhaps they feel Obama has not paid enough attention to creating jobs and the state of the economy bc he was too busy pushing through HIS pet projects…

    Or perhaps they believe Obama’s policy of gov’t meddling has gone over the top…

    I can think of a dozen reasons the nation is fed up w Obama, and Obama is the reason Democrats are having problems – they tied themselves to the wrong star…

    dmg: “She has also failed to turn over evidence to defense attorneys and the crime lab has had numerous problems. Even then, most polls show her within shouting distance and with momentum up ticket on the Democratic side, she might pull it off. That statement alone shows how different how California is from the rest of the country.”

    This is a curious statement. CA will vote Democratic no matter what, even if the candidate clearly does the wrong thing? I don’t think this is true at all (if that is what you meant) – CA threw out Gray Davis largely bc of the scandal over using public monies to pay for his presidential bid…

    I would agree CA is out of step w the rest of the nation…

  4. wdf1

    Instead, the Tea Party wave that will toss out Democrats across the national will stop at the California border.

    Which is significantly ironic, because key resources for the Tea Party movement come right out of Folsom, where Sal Russo and the Tea Party Express have set up camp.

    Sac Bee, Sept. 18, 2010: Meet Sal Russo, the tea party’s Karl Rove

    [url]http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/09/18/100794/meet-sal-russo-the-tea-partys.html[/url]

  5. Frankly

    Boxer and Brown winning in CA will make me feel a bit sick.

    I guess the love of change in this state only applies when it means the change flowing out of producers’ pockets and into labor union’s pockets.

    A Boxer/Brown win will demonstrate again that the public employee unions own the state and cements our future becoming another great Greek tragedy.

    One thing for sure, labor is intent to bite the hand that feeds it. They have been inflamed by the Dems over job losses and unemployment. Boxer and Brown have successfully directed voter anger and angst about unemployment at private companies run by Meg and Carly for their layoffs and outsourcing. Two interesting points to take away: one – voters are truly pissed off at not having enough job prospects; two – most of the correlation to outsourcing being the cause is false. On the second point… all large companies have had to figure out ways to do more with less to compete in the global market and stay alive. It has been mostly technology automation that has displaced American workers. CEOs not doing this would have caused their companies to fail and lose all jobs. There are bigger rewards for succeeding, and this fact is responsible for much of the income disparity that Democrats also use to inflame voters.

    In any case, there is great idiocy apparent in CA voters electing business unfriendly politicians as a payback to private business. It will ensure that unemployment stays high, while the state goes bankrupt and the new millionaires are unionized public sector employees.

  6. itsme

    David,

    You and Joe Wiener (UC Irvine prof, US History) are on the same wave length. I just read a blog in the Nation (with only Nov 2010 as the date), in which Wiener attributes the rejection of Tea Party values in Ca to our ethnic diversity.

    He makes the point that TP is largely white and its values make non-whites uneasy.

    That figures. In times of economic uncertainty, those that are different do get singled out as easy scapegoats while the multiple and complex antecedents of our fiscal mess go unscathed. The results of mistaken enemies are anything but pretty.

    By way of explanation, I’m only reading and blogging while taking a lunch break from getting out the vote. I’m working off a phone bank with a lot of Hispanic names. Let’s hear from all Americans this election.

  7. Rifkin

    [i]”… Californians ought to build that moat because the wave is not going to hit here. Recent polling suggests that, while it may be true that Republicans will turn out in large numbers across the country and Democrats will stay home, there is little evidence that will happen in California.”[/i]

    I think there will be, relative to 2008, a Republican wave in California. There is going to be a 15% swing–the Democratic vote should be about 7-8% less than it was in 2008 and the GOP vote about 7-8% more.

    Yet, due to gerrymandering, we are not going to see any change in our House delegation. The best chance for a change of party is in Jerry McNerney’s 11th District House seat. But even that race is going to be very, very close. All other House seats will remain the same no matter how large the GOP wave is.

    Dems won 63% of the vote in 2008 in California’s House races and won 35 of the 53 seats. (If the seats were awarded proportionally, they would have won 33.) Most Democrats won their races by 30-40%.

    If you take the 2008 vote and input a 35% swing toward Republicans this year–that is, 17.5% less for each Dem and 17.5% more for each Repub–the Dems would still win 34 of the 53 seats.

    In other words, the system is rigged.

    That said, I think the Dems will do better in statewide races, mostly because Jerry Brown is a stronger top-of-the-ticket candidate than Phil Angelides was in ’06 and Whitman is weaker than Arnold was.

    My guess is that if the Republicans could have found a new movie star to lead their ticket and the Dems would have nominated another bland real estate developer, the GOP candidates for a few of the other statewide races would do better than they will today.

  8. Perezoso

    He makes the point that TP is largely white and its values make non-whites uneasy.

    The CA Democrats and their union power make many CA suburban liberals uneasy, IMHE. Some are probably tempted to join the TP, but…won’t because they’d be humiliated by their peers. For that matter, the WASP Demo often over-compensates now, to make sure nobody suspects him of …moving to the center, or flirting with the dreaded teabaggers. As with “byronius” of New worlds, and Davis: [url] http://new-worlds.org/blog/?p=8129 [/url]. He really, really hates republicans! (tho B-ron votes for them–he supported Schwarzenegger, and now e-Meg, most likely–and attends sunday school regularly). His bogus indignation and rage indicate how phony this clown really is. The proper attitude towards someone like Sarah Klondike is..pity (or towards Bubba aka “byronius” as well), gentle mockery, amusement.

  9. Frankly

    Perezoso: I need a “fan” and “favorite” button on this blog. I think you are correct. Especially “The CA Democrats and their union power make many CA suburban liberals uneasy”

    The Democrats have the entire CA job now. Like in Washington, they have been give all the keys. However, like Washington, I expect they will just drive the car from the ditch to the cliff.

    Someone noted that the best campaign strategy these days is to hope the other guy wins so you can focus on the next election.

  10. Frankly

    “Nor vice versa, apparently”

    We will never know what these two skilled ex CEOs might have accomplished. True though that running a successful campaign can be considered a test of executive capability. However, CA is unique in that the Democrat-Union political power has had years to be refined and perfected. Even the popular Arnold got kicked down by a well-oiled union attack against his initiative maneuver to cut spending.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for