Q. Are you surprised that Trump’s appeal does not seem to be working in California, where his warnings about immigration and terror (San Bernardino!) have the most readily available examples?
A. Over the last 30 years, the Trump brand of nouveau riche opulence has appealed to rappers, NBA stars, immigrants, and Mexican oligarchs, but it hasn’t much appealed to the white upper middle class, who find it gauche. After decades of massive immigration to California raising the cost of living and depressing wages, there aren’t many white people left in California below the tasteful upper middle class.
The conventional wisdom about the electoral history of California is another one of those myths that the poor saps in the GOP elite believe because their Democratic friends keep repeating it to them and they’re too lazy to look up the actual numbers. You know, Republican governor Pete Wilson tipped California Democratic in Presidential elections by backing Proposition 187 in 1994, thereby incurring the Righteous Wrath of the Mexican Tidal Wave.
In reality, California tipped permanently Democratic in 1992, two years before Proposition 187. After the GOP won California’s electoral votes nine out of ten times from 1952-1988, Bill Clinton crushed George H.W. Bush by 13.4 points in California, on a day when California elected not one but two Democrats to the Senate.
So what happened in 1992? Largely due to immigration squeezing out white people below the upper middle class, California ran out of the kind of people who naturally vote Republican.