Editorial - Room with a View

Room with a View: Fundraising on flipping Orange County from red to blue

Republican Travis Allen beat Republican Troy Edgar to represent Assembly District 72, currently held by Republican Tyler Diep, who beat out Democrat Josh Lowenthal, son of Democrat Alan Lowenthal, who represents California Congressional District 47.*

Tyler Diep’s victory was one of the few Republican wins locally in last year’s general election. It looks like the 2020 election will see a re-match between Diep and Lowenberg fils.

Troy Edgar served out his maximum number of terms as a Councilmember for the City of Los Alamitos, then jumped to Washington, DC, to serve as a Numbers Guy in the Trump Administration as Chief Financial Officer at the Department of Homeland Security.

Travis Allen went bananas and ran for governor. When that didn’t work out, he tried for the Chairmanship of the California Republican Party. No go on that, too — but he’s still trying to raise funds and counterpunch.

The subject line of his latest email read We just lost OC. The body of the email begins:

Republicans have always had a tight grasp on Orange County – the last truly conservative pocket of Southern California.

But in 2016, Hillary Clinton beat President Donald Trump here by by more than 8 percent, marking the first time since 1936 a Democrat beat a Republican for President in Orange County.

We also saw four Republican-held OC congressional seats flipped from red to blue in what should have been inevitable defeats for the Democrats … but it just got worse.

This week, Democrats officially passed Republicans in number of registered voters in Orange County.

I beg to differ with Travis.

First, no cause is truly lost because no cause is truly won. So the melodrama of the subject line is misplaced. (But it works better as a fundraising line than “Republicans no longer majority of registered voters in Orange County.”)

Second, the “just” in the subject line asserts that the loss took place recently — “only now.” Of course, it refers to the recent startling (to some) fact that the number of voters registered in Orange County as Democrats has overtopped the number of voters registered in Orange County as Republicans. I don’t argue with the unadorned and unfootnoted numeric comparison, but it leaves a lot out. Democrats have conducted a systematic effort to increase the number of voters registered as Republicans in Orange County. Where is a similar Republican effort?

The current ghastly overtaking by registered Democratic voters of registered Republican voters is merely the latest result of the 2010 redistricting that chewed up Orange County. Democrats played the long game in California, and they will try to further that with a new redistricting after the 2020 Census that will entrench them even more strongly. If you liked the results of the 2010 redistricting, you’ll love the results of the 2020 redistricting. (Rep. Alan Lowenthal, who owes his safe Congressional seat to the 2010 redistricting commission, wants to make redistricting commissions required throughout the nation. That is a Bad Idea.)

Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley is a Numbers Guy, too. Anybody who likes to play with numbers can spend hours and hours playing with Kelley’s Election Data Central, but for our immediate concerns here are the current partisan registration numbers:

Democrats 548,524
Republicans 547,996
No Party Preference 440,497

(The data show four other parties plus miscellaneous but the numbers can be ignored for our discussion because they are much smaller.)

For the numerically challenged, here is a pie chart showing the above partisan voter registration:

Partisan voter registration in Orange County on August 10, 2019. Which slice is Democrats? Which Republican? Which No Party Preference?
Partisan voter registration in Orange County on August 10, 2019. Which slice is Democrats? Which Republican? Which No Party Preference?

My immediate questions are:

  • Were those voters newly registered as Democrats registered in any fashion before?
  • Why are Republicans letting 440,497 NPPs slip through their fingers?

My own opinion is that the current woeful state of the Republican Party, locally and state-wide, is due to complaisance, pessimism, and passivity. People avoid a Gloomy Gus — ask Resting Sad Face John Kerry! Voters shun candidates who ignore them — ask Dana Rohrabacher!

And some of us really, really, really don’t like the way President Trump conducts the country’s business. Twitter storms and juvenile insults and policy flip-flops are not papered over by nominating solid conservative judges and rescinding “Dear Colleague” letters and enforcing e-Verify requirements.

As a conservative Constitutional originalist, I am pleased that Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh are serving on the Supreme Court, and a host of similar judges have been confirmed for lower-level courts by the Senate under Mitch McConnell.

But I wince whenever I hear President Trump speak, or read about his Twitter monkeyshines, or am reminded of his praise for Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un.

And I truly grieve that conservatives like classicist and historian Victor Davis Hanson find it in themselves to defend Trump’s bad behavior.

The flip side of flipping Orange County blue

Of course, Democrats are also raising funds based on The Blue Wave in 2018 — they are crowing about beating out Republican voter registrations.

They want to keep The Blue Wave rolling in 2020.

I find their triumphalism hard to take, and their take on anyone unsupportive of their political and social agendas hard to stomach.

We are, for instance, not allowed to control our own police departments — as California law on charter cities says we can. We must follow diktats from Sacramento. If we do not, we are racists, or homophobes, or homophobic racists.

We are, for instance, not allowed to hold at-large elections in our cities or school districts. We must move to district-based elections. If we do not, or do so reluctantly, we are racists, or homophobes, or homophobic racists.

We are, for instance, not allowed to object to curricula in our public schools. Those curricula were decided on by our betters, who have doctorates to prove that they are better than us. If we protest, we are racists, or homophobes, or homophobic racists.

As an NPP, I feel rather like one of the unpopular kids sitting on the sidelines of a school cafeteria food fight between the in-crowd and the jocks.

* The original version of this editorial had both Josh Lowenthal’s and Alan Lowenthal’s name wrong. While I disagree with their politics, I should get their name correct.