The Blue-Ing of Orange County
Orange County has long been a Republican stronghold in California. It is the birthplace of Richard Nixon (and home to his Presidential Library and burial site). The airport is named for John Wayne. And you can typically expect that the Assemblymen, State Senators, and Representative elected from there will be Republicans.
However, as many of you may know, the California Republican Party is in shambles. Under the new blanket primary, the CAGOP could not even get a candidate onto the general election ballot. Many of them had to settle for Lorretta Sanchez, a Democratic Representative from Orange County. As Bob Dylan once said: times, they are a’changin’.
For the first time since the Great Depression, Orange County voted for the Democratic nominee for president of the United States. While the state went 61.5-33.2 for Clinton, Orange County went 49.8-44.9 for her. Not quite as lopsided, but still, history is history.
And it turns out it’s not just the top line of the ticket. California had 17 ballot measures in this election, and Orange County was closer to the statewide results than it probably would have been in the past. Some examples:
On legalization of marijuana, statewide was 56-44 Yes; Orange county went 51-49 Yes.
On a proposition to extend the “temporary” top income tax bracket, the state voted 62-38 Yes, Orange County went 52-48 Yes. (Think about that, a county that probably still has more Republicans than Democrats voted in favor of keeping higher tax rate that is going to affect a lot of people who live in the county.)
On a new cigarette tax, statewide was 63-37 Yes; Orange County was 59-41 Yes. This one might just be because smoking cigarettes is no longer acceptable across the board, but still.
On an incredibly busybody referendum that would have required the use of condoms in adult films, the state voted 54-46 No. Orange County came back the same (actually, there was a difference of .2% but I’ve been rounding numbers for the same of convenience). As a side note, Los Angeles County actually voted in favor of this one, maybe they wanted to industry out of the San Fernando Valley?
Of course, there were still signs that Orange County has completely given up it’s ways. We had an initiative to repeal the death penalty. Unfortunately, it failed statewide 54-46. But Orange County went 62-38 No. Likewise, on a measure to ban single use plastic bags, the state voted 52-48 Yes; while Orange County went 59-41 No.
Twenty years after Prop 187 and the electoral disaster that followed for the GOP, it is now losing one of its last strongholds. Richard Nixon is probably spinning in his grave (assuming he wasn’t buried bound by silver chains, you know, just in case).