Red California Death Watch
In 2007, right-wing political operatives tried to place a measure on the June 2008 ballot that – if successful – would have awarded California’s electoral votes by Congressional District. Democrats and progressives strongly opposed it, because everyone assumed it would give the G.O.P. presidential nominee an extra 19 votes. California is a deep blue state, but parts of Orange County and the Central Valley are still reliably Republican. New data from last November’s election, however, suggests that “Red California” is becoming less and less relevant. Barack Obama carried eight Congressional Districts that had long voted for Republican presidential candidates, and John McCain came close to losing three more. All these districts are currently represented in Congress by Republicans, but a few incumbents came close last year to losing to Democratic challengers. It’s only a matter of time before some of these districts will eventually flip. None of this is a surprise, however, because the state’s Republican base is older, whiter and shrinking in size. But the rate of this change is quite staggering, which explains why Republicans in the state legislaturehave clung to the “two-thirds rule” for passing a budget. After all, it’s the only reason they have any power left in the state.