The “angry suburban backlash” against President Trump is what many analysts and commentators blame for the reversal in control of the House of Representatives. It’s partially correct, but there’s a bigger challenge for the GOP: red-leaning population centers like Orange County that seem to be shifting blue as well.
The suburbs may have the voters the Republicans need, but heavily populated affluent areas like Orange County have the money Republicans need.
Orange County just went from mostly red to totally blue in the House of Representatives. It has as many or more congressional districts than over half the states in the country. And until this year, four of them could be counted as “leaning-” or “solid-Republican.”
Now, they are all blue.
With Democrat Gil Cisneros’ victory in California’s 39th District, Democrats have defeated all four Republicans in Orange County, an area former President Ronald Reagan once referred to as the place “where the good Republicans go before they die.”
Cisneros, a Navy veteran and lottery winner, defeated former GOP state Assemblywoman Young Kim in the increasingly diverse 39th District. He had garnered 50.8 percent of the vote compared to Kim’s 49.2 percent when the Associated Press called the race nearly two weeks after Election Day. He won by roughly 3,500 votes.
This is a bigger deal than most realize and has national implications. It demonstrates two things quite clearly. First, the organizational structures of the party in California and the local area are abysmal. They have been for a while, but Orange County survived their bumbling because the GOP held a favorable fiscal reputation here. Second, President Trump’s influence is limited in areas where higher education and income levels make up the bulk of voters.
Tax cuts weren’t the big winner in places like Orange County because they weren’t accompanied by spending cuts. Fiscal responsibility is more important in areas like Orange County than other Republican strongholds. Local publications lambasted Congress and the White House when they passed spending bills that would make President Obama blush.
In California, we live with a state government that spends incessantly. We don’t want a federal government that does the same.
If the GOP doesn’t start acting like the party that wants lower spending, they have no chance of regaining a foothold in areas that are less concerned about kneeling football players and more concerned about budget deficits and the national debt.