For a Glimpse of the Republican Party After Trump, Look to California
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The birthplace of the conservative movement is now no Golden State for the GOP.
Throughout the Golden State's Republican ascendency, Democrats nearly always held majorities in the state legislature and among California's congressional delegation. But in the 2000s, those majorities ballooned. According to Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton, Democratic officeholders haven't wielded this much power in California since 1882. The only political conversation in the state that matters today occurs among Democrats.

The turning point, it's generally agreed, was Republican Governor Pete Wilson's anti-immigration crusade. In 1994, the Wilson-backed Proposition 187, which denied state services to undocumented immigrants, won 59–41 percent. The measure was thrown out in court, but the lopsided victory energized the state's Hispanic population, which was growing rapidly even as the Cold War's end sent conservative aerospace workers streaming out of the state. Between 1980 and 2010, Hispanics' proportion of California's population rose from 19 to 37 percent, while the white proportion fell from 66 to 40 percent. The 2020 census will likely show a Hispanic plurality.

The parallel with Trump is striking. Convinced that his anti-immigration policies were a strong electoral asset, Trump played them up before the 2018 midterms—and saw 40 seats flip from Republicans to Democrats. Seventy percent of Americans, it turns out, think current…
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