Fading into irrelevance
The party of Nixon and Reagan holds not one statewide office in America’s most populous state
California gave America two of its five most recent Republican presidents. But the state party has fallen on hard times since the days of Nixon and Reagan. After having fallen for decades, the number of registered Republican voters in California now stands at just 30% (see chart). With the number of voters expressing no party preference rising fast, the party is in danger of slipping into third place in the state. No Republican holds statewide office in California, and the Democrats enjoy wide majorities in both chambers.
The picture is no prettier when it comes to elections for national offices. Republicans have not won a Senate election in California since 1988. The party now accounts for just 19 of the state’s 53 congressmen. The last Republican presidential candidate to take California was George Bush senior. As the most populous state, California holds over one in ten electoral-college votes. But neither Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, nor Barack Obama will bother to campaign here—although both regularly drop by to raise funds.
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