I used to live in Wisconsin. Every time a new fashion or trend came along we’d learn that it had been de rigueur on the coasts (and especially in California) for at least a decade. Politics is not like parachute pants, of course, but one can dream. Right?
For some reason, a party whose nominal head likes to blame some of California’s worst natural disasters on Californians is not that popular these days.
In fact, according to many members of the GOP, it’s deader than Dick Cheney’s first seven hearts.
In the wake of a near-political annihilation in California that has left even longtime conservative stronghold Orange County bereft of a single Republican in the House of Representatives, a growing chorus of GOP loyalists here say there’s only one hope for reviving the flatlining party: Blow it up and start again from scratch.
That harsh assessment comes as Republicans survey the damage from the devastation of a “blue tsunami” in California which wiped out five GOP-held House seats — with more still threatened — while handing every statewide seat and a supermajority to the Democrats in both houses of the state legislature this week.
Just two days ago, Democrat Katie Porter officially bested her Republican opponent, Mimi Walters, for a congressional seat in Orange County, of all places — which has suddenly turned solidly blue.
That’s a sea change that virtually no one saw coming two years ago.
“The California Republican Party isn’t salvageable at this time. The Grand Old Party is dead,” wrote former state GOP Assembly leader Kristin Olsen, who startled fellow Republicans with a brutally frank op-ed this week saying Republicans must acknowledge their “serious problem” in California, particularly the effects of toxicity of President Trump.
GOP strategist John Weaver, who has worked California races and also has represented the presidential campaign of Ohio governor John Kasich, seconded Olsen’s view, tweeting that the effects of the Trump presidency have doomed any chance of resurrection. “In one fell swoop Trump & Republicans who willingly handcuffed themselves to him have turned Orange County into a GOP wasteland,’’ he tweeted this week. “You want to see the future? Look no further than the demographic death spiral in the place once considered a cornerstone of the party.”
California GOP political consultant Mike Madrid sees the heart of the problem as Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric, and the party’s tendency these days to follow his lead and put all their eggs in one basket of deplorables.
“We hemorrhaged college-educated Republican voters on Tuesday night. The ‘diploma divide’ is a very real thing,” he said. “The smaller it gets, the more monolithic is gets. The whiter it gets. The more populist-nationalist it gets. What you’re seeing in the Republican Party is that it’s the party of white identity politics.”
Personally, I won’t cry any tears over this death. This is less like Leonardo DiCaprio dying at the end of Titanic and more like Leonardo DiCaprio getting mauled to shreds by a bear in The Revenant. Let’s hope the California GOP refuses to get up and get its revenge, though. It can crawl into a hole and die. End of movie.