Keith Humphreys points out today that California used to be a solidly Republican place. But then Republicans reacted to the state's growing non-white population by supporting the infamous Proposition 187:Like any Californian I can attest to the venomous, racially-divisive nature of the debate that surrounded it. Republican Pete Wilson publicly embraced the measure at every campaign stop, and rode anti-immigrant sentiment to re-election with strong support from White voters. In the process, Wilson and those who advised him to double-down on white voters permanently crippled the California Republican Party.
In reply, may I remind you that the "state's growing non-white population" was largely an illegal invasion, and the response of Hispanic Californians to the fight against the illegals was ten times "venomous" and "racially-divisive" as anything a Republican would ever attempt. See here for quotes like “Remember, 187 is the last gasp of white America in California. Understand that.” [MP3]
Art Torres, who said that at a 1994 meeting wasn't random La Raza activist, he was Chairman of the California Democratic Party and a 20 year veteran of California's legislature.
This is the conventional wisdom, and I've never questioned it.[Emphasis, here and following, mine.] For some reason, though, I got curious about it today. Here's what California has looked like in presidential elections over the past 35 years:
Unless I made a mistake somewhere, Prop 187 had precisely zero effect. As the non-white population of California rose, the Democratic share of the presidential vote rose in almost perfect tandem. After 1994, it continued growing at the same rate as ever.
This is just the presidential vote, and maybe things are different in other contests. But I'd be interested to see someone take a more detailed look at this. The real lesson here seems to be that Donald Trump's racist blatherings are likely to have no effect at all on the Republican Party. Non-whites don't like Republicans, and will go on not liking them.
Kevin Drum is supposed to be an expert on California politics. He founded a blog called Calpundit, and his email is still email@example.com. And he never questioned the myth of Proposition 187? The one we've been exposing here since the year 2000? And he still doesn't get it as far as the Hispanic vote goes. He writes:
Bottom line: Extra doses of racism probably don't hurt Republicans. Minority voters already know the score, so they don't care much. Until the Republican Party actively goes after the racism in its ranks and actively tries to appeal to non-white voters, it doesn't matter much what else they do.
The GOP has been doing both those things for many years, but "non-white voters" which in California means mostly the growing Mexican-American population, haven't reacted favorably because of their own racial consciousness, and because they're "natural Democrats" i. e. they're poor enough that they get more out of the government than they pay in taxes.
If the GOP wants to appeal to California voters—a group supposed to consist entirely of American citizens, it needs to appeal to its white base. See CA GOP’s Problem: Not Hispanics, But Whites (And, Of Course, Idiot Leadership) by Peter Brimelow and Ed Rubenstein.
I know that pundits like Drum would call that "extra doses of racism" but as he says, it couldn't hurt.