Dems Losing Hold on California — California Losing Its Hold on America 

The results of Super Tuesday last week ensured the rematch of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump unless there are some unanticipated events leading up to the November election. So…who will win?

Recent polls have offered clues. Former President Trump continues to have a small but continuous lead in public polls that he has maintained since November 2023—in contrast to the 2016 and 2020 election cycles, during which he often trailed in target state and national polls. 

However, polls are only one indication. Actual votes are another. We’ve already had one contest this year that provides critical clues to the November vote: the California primary.

California primary voters, like those in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, and North Carolina, have not only voted for president but also for Congressional members, statewide officials, and, in North Carolina, governor. The contests might draw voter turnout with little desire to participate in presidential primaries that have already been decided.

California, unlike other states but similar to Washington and Louisiana, has all-party primaries, except for at the presidential level, where the two top candidates, regardless of political party, advance to the general election.

The results of all-party primaries, in numerous cases, but not all, turn out to be good indicators of the general election. For example, the 1994 results in Washington predicted the defeat of then-Speaker of the House Tom Foley and the first GOP majority in the House in 40 years.

It’s true that this year’s California primary came eight months before the November election, and in eight months, opinions can change, and events can surprise. However, current polls are subject to the same warning.

The significant news from California is that, with 85% of counted votes (tech-centric California counts slowly), Dem support is sagging. With no viable opposition in the Golden State to Trump or Biden, Democrats cast 59% of presidential votes, with Republicans at 39%. That is down from the 63%-34% margin in the state for Biden over Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

In the all-party primary for the United States Senate, Democrats received 59% of the votes, and the GOP got 39%. That is down from Democrat Senator Alex Padilla’s 61% to 39% 2022 margin and then-Senator Dianne Feinstein’s 63% to 37% in the last Dem-Republican runoff in 2012. It is almost the same as Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom’s 59% to 41% 2022 reelection, but it is weaker than his 62% to 38% 2018 victory.

The numbers don’t mean it will be difficult for Biden to carry California’s 52 electoral votes or for Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, the chief propagator of the Russia collusion hoax, to replace Feinstein in the U.S. Senate.

However, it does suggest gains for the GOP in state and congressional legislative districts and gives credence to polling data showing former President Trump and Republican gains among Asian and Hispanic voters.

This year, the GOP won majorities in 13 districts to the Democrats’ 39, a significant improvement on the 46-7 Dem margin in 2018 when, in reaction against Trump, Democrat Representative Nancy Pelosi of California won back the majority in the House as well as the speaker’s chair.

GOP incumbents in three heavily Asian and Hispanic seats elected, with 51% in 2022, received 55% and 56% of primary votes this year. Republicans also won between 43% and 49% of primary votes in nine other districts, seven of which are heavily Hispanic. Most seats aren’t seriously contested this year, but most might be in upcoming years.

Many California voters are increasingly voting Republican

As GOP pollster Patrick Ruffini argues in his book Party of the People, Asian people, Black people who have conservative views, and Hispanic individuals are increasingly voting Republican, like noncollege white people.

California has seen something similar to this before. Over the last three generations, the state has been populated by two quick but massive surges of migration of those from the Midwest from 1946 to 1973 and Mexicans from 1982 to 2007. Midwesterners first provided majorities for Pat Brown liberals and, following rioting in Watts and Berkeley, for Ronald Reagan conservatives. Midwestern transplants helped Republicans hold the governorship in six of eight elections from 1966 to 1994. 

Mexican voters entered into the ranks of voters more slowly. In this century, they, along with liberal white college graduates in the West Side of Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, have made California, once considered marginal, solidly Democratic. As settled Midwesterners soured on liberal policies, settled-in Mexicans appeared to sour on this generation’s liberal excesses.

Liberal gentry’s high turnout will probably continue to keep California Democrats, but GOP trends in lower-turnout Mexican areas will reduce their Congressional ranks well below the Pelosi highs.

In the meantime, California has been losing population, down 538,000 between 2020 and 2023, while it lost one seat in the House in the reapportionment after the 2020 census. Migration from Mexico stopped during the 2007-2008 housing crunch. Today’s illegal immigrants are surging toward Texas instead of California.

California continues to cling bitterly to most entertainment and high-tech industries. Still, it appears to be losing hold of them and the imaginations of Americans and most immigrants alike.