July 24, 2000
"Republican Party Won't Matter," says VDARE
"California Doesn't Matter." argues Fred Barnes' cover story in the Weekly Standard (7/31/2000). Barnes declares that California's "reputation as 'the great laboratory of America' ... has become largely a myth. In national politics, California doesn't matter much, at least for now and probably for the foreseeable future."
California possesses 54 electoral votes (20% of the 270 needed to elect a President) and 52 Representatives (almost 24% of the 218 needed for a majority in the House). And its population is growing rapidly once again, so these numbers will be even more formidable after 2000. Under what possible logic is California irrelevant?
Simple, according to Barnes. California is Too Democratic. He claims the Democrats have California locked up so tight that national Republicans should just give up on it and fight elsewhere.
He seems to have a point. Despite sporting a first name that aptly describes his personality, Gray Davis reclaimed the 1998 California governor's mansion for the Democrats by 20 points. "Republicans currently trail 25-15 in the state senate and 48-32 in the assembly. They're more likely than not to lose seats in November," Barnes notes.
(This supremacy in Sacramento means that the Democrats will take the 2000 Census results and flagrantly gerrymander California's districts. So, rotsa ruck to Republican Congressional and legislative candidates in California from 2002 through 2010. And the same to the national GOP's attempts to hang on to the House of Representatives with so few California seats available.)
Why is the GOP dead in California? Barnes offers a frank answer. "Underpinning the drift to Democrats are dramatic demographic changes, notably the doubling of the Latino electorate since 1994. Latinos are now roughly 14 percent of the voting population. The new Latino voters tend to be younger, less likely to speak English, and monolithically Democratic. ... And Democrats have also gained among Asians ..."
Barnes also contends that California is no longer a forerunner of national trends outside of politics. "The state itself has deteriorated. Its economy has recovered from the early 1990s recession, but the quality of life hasn't." The freeways are jammed and the public schools stink. (Barnes can't bring himself to mention that immigration is a major culprit in these developments too.)
So is Barnes right that California is no longer the best predictor of America's future? He may or may not be correct about the current election. In the long run, however, California's immigration-driven trends toward Democrats and dystopia appear to be inevitable harbingers for much of the rest of the country.
It won't be California that's irrelevant; it will be the Republican Party.