How Orange County Was Lost

All elections are unique, and all offer a wealth of information to the discerning observer. However, any student1 of politics will readily confess that just as some election cycles are more important than others, so, too, are some electoral districts more important than others. There are districts where the outcome is foreordained (and such districts can, generally, be ignored), and there are others where the outcome is hotly contested and the results viewed as signs or predictions. There is also a third type of district: the bellwether district. The outcomes of elections in bellwether districts are rightly seen as microcosmic predictions of larger trends; in studying the bellwether, one may occasionally divine the course of the future.

Orange County in California is a bellwether district2. Many outside of California will be surprised to hear that California is anything other than a deep (and uniform) blue. Nevertheless, California has been, for many years, a split of approximately sixty-forty; almost the entire coast is blue, whereas much of the inland portion of the State remains red. Alone, Orange County has been the exception to this rule: a bright red spot on an otherwise uniformly-blue coast. Until this immediately prior election.

The entire congressional delegation from Orange County is now blue. Let me say that again: The entire congressional delegation from Orange County is now blue. If you are not from California (or at least deeply involved in politics), this may not immediately mean much of anything to you. Part of California went blue: So what? So everything.

Orange County was the home State of Presidents Nixon and Reagan; further, it hosts Nixon’s library (in Torba Linda), whereas Reagan’s library resides one county over (in Simi Valley, Ventura County). Republican fundraising efforts have long run through Orange County. The county went Democrat for Hillary Clinton in 2016, the first time since the 1936 reelection of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and one of only three times in history3. To give an idea of just how Conservative Orange County has been: In 1964, Orange County voted for Barry Goldwater. The modern Conservative movement was born in Orange County, and, on 08 November 2018, the Democrats broke its spine.

In the 39th Congressional District, Republicans poured millions into Young Kim4, who was defeated by Democrat Gil Cisneros. In the 45th, Katie Porter defeated Mimi Waters. In the 46th, Lou Correa won in a contest against another Democrat. In the 47th, Alan Lowenthal won reelection. In the 48th, Harley Rouda defeated former Reagan Special Assistant and speechwriter Dana Rohrabacher, who first won election in 1988; the seat had been Republican for decades. In the 49th, Mike Levin defeated Diana Harkey, who was defending Darrell Issa’s seat. In short (and, perhaps, at risk of ad nauseam): Orange County’s congressional delegation is entirely blue.

Of course, this tells only part of the story. The true story is not that Orange County went blue, but how blue it went. The aforementioned Democrats did not defeat their Republican opponents5 by employing the standard Democrat tactic of pretending to be ‘reasonable’ or a ‘moderate’; rather, they ran on the sort of positions one would expect from New York or San Francisco (e.g., staunch support of Planned Parenthood, single-payer healthcare, Medicare-for-all, and an increase in the Federal minimum wage). Orange County did not just go blue, it went blue.

How did the Left accomplish this transformation? The same as they are doing everywhere: demographics. Democrats are not shy about what they are doing. In fact, they openly state that they are winning because of changing demographics and that they support such changes.

The densely populated county ― which comprises cities like Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, and Huntington Beach ― has been growing more diverse and less conservative for years.

— “Orange County, A Conservative Bastion, Turns Blue For The First Time In Decades“, HuffPost (17 Nov 2018)

But now, Sdao added, “The demographics in Orange County are changing. The older white Republicans are dying off — not to be mean, but they are. And you know new younger folks are moving in and in looking at things very differently.

“So now we’re loud and proud. We are out of the closet. We are on the street corner. We are marching in the streets, we’re on the beaches, we’re the malls,” she said.

— “Democrats ‘Come Out of the Closet’ in Historically Red Orange County“, KQED (17 Nov 2018)

Then again, why would they be shy? The results speak for themselves:

Vote Percentages and Totals (Presidential Elections, 1952–2016)

Year Republican % # Democrat % # Other % #
2016 42.35% 507,148 50.94% 609,961 6.71% 80,412
2012 51.87% 582,332 45.65% 512,440 2.48% 27,892
2008 50.19% 579,064 47.63% 549,558 2.17% 25,065
2004 59.68% 641,832 38.98% 419,239 1.33% 14,328
2000 55.75% 541,299 40.36% 391,819 3.89% 37,787
1996 51.67% 446,717 37.88% 327,485 10.46% 90,374
1992 43.87% 426,613 31.56% 306,930 24.58% 239,006
1988 67.75% 586,230 31.09% 269,013 1.16% 10,064
1984 74.70% 635,013 24.27% 206,272 1.03% 8,792
1980 67.90% 529,797 22.65% 176,704 9.45% 73,711
1976 62.16% 408,632 35.33% 232,246 2.52% 16,555
1972 68.27% 448,291 26.93% 176,847 4.80% 31,515
1968 63.14% 314,905 29.85% 148,869 7.00% 34,933
1964 55.89% 224,196 44.01% 176,539 0.11% 430
1960 60.81% 174,891 38.95% 112,007 0.24% 701
1956 66.82% 113,510 32.31% 54,895 0.87% 1,474
1952 70.29% 80,994 28.98% 33,397 0.73% 844

Republican Percentage

In essence, Orange County has merely fallen victim to the same forces that flipped California decades ago, and are now working to flip a number of other States (among them, Virginia, Florida, and Texas). In short: Demography is destiny.

The term “bellwether” comes from Middle English; it refers to a “wether” (i.e., a castrated ram) that wears a bell and is placed at the head of a flock of sheep. It has entered modern usage to mean a person who or a thing that leads or indicates a trend. California, once a Republican-run paradise that routinely and reliably voted Conservative, is not a virtually-impregnable stronghold for the Left; it is a one-party State run by the most radical members of the Democrat Party.

If you would know the future the left have planned for you, look no further than California. They would make you a tiny minority, a stranger in your own land, oppressed by a hostile Government controlled by foreign hordes. You may flee, but they will follow you, and they outnumber you. Orange county is the third most populous county in California and the sixth in the country; it has a larger population than twenty-one States. If they can flip Orange County, they can flip anything, given the time, and time is not on our side.

The hour is late and the sky grows dark. We must choose, and soon, whether or not we will go gently into that good night, whether we or they will control the future, and there can be no starker difference in vision. To describe, in a word, the future the Left have planned for you and for your children: None.

  1. And even masters are, in the end analysis, merely students. 
  2. Technically, it is a county composed of a number of districts, but, for a number of reasons, it is better to call it a “district” for our purposes here. 
  3. The other being 1932 (also for the Franklin D. Roosevelt). 
  4. Mrs. Kim would have (had she won) been the first Korean woman elected to Congress. 
  5. Read: “enemies”.