Joe Garofoli at SF Chronicle:
Catharine Baker was the only Republican representing the Bay Area in either the Legislature or Congress, until she lost her re-election bid to the Assembly in November. Now there is none.
The two-term incumbent practically ran as a Democrat, and still lost to a political neophyte. That raised the question: If Baker can’t win in the Bay Area, what Republican can?
The answer Baker found after spending weeks combing through post-election data and campaign trail anecdotes should be a red flag for Republicans in the Bay Area and beyond in California, heading into President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
“Ninety percent of the feedback we received was, ‘I can’t vote for you because you’re Republican,’” Baker said. “That message to Republicans is, ‘Your brand is toxic in this state.’ That’s why the party has a very faint pulse right now.”
At LAT, John Myers reports on a Berkeley election conference :
“It’s time to look at another path,” former Assembly GOP leader Kristin Olsen said to those who believe in traditional Republican principles. She told the Berkeley audience that it’s unclear “if the [state] party can outlast Donald Trump’s presidency.”
The once-powerful Republican brand — which helped elect all but three governors in the 20th century — has steadily weakened over the past 25 years, with Wilson —fairly or not — blamed for embracing the 1994 ballot measure aimed at curbing the costs of illegal immigration. The schism between Republicans and the state’s rapidly diversifying population widened with the passage of a 1996 statewide ballot measure attacking affirmative action and another in 1998 to limit bilingual education. A generation of Californians never forgot.
“The political forces that form your opinion when you’re young carry on,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the UC Berkeley poll.
California voters raised on the memories of 2018 could carry today’s political views for decades. And they’re already engaged: People 34 and younger cast ballots at a much higher rate in 2018 than in previous midterms, according to a new analysis by the for-profit research firm Political Data.
Perhaps just as consequential are those turned off by the Trump era. Political Data’s report found a number of young Republicans — generally more reliable voters than their Democratic-leaning peers — failed to show up in 2018. And broadly speaking, GOP voters in several key congressional races either didn’t vote or, as political strategist Mike Madrid pointed out, made the once-unthinkable decision to vote for a Democrat.
“I don’t think that will be healed for many election cycles to come,” Madrid, a former political director of the California Republican Party, told the Berkeley audience.