There were many nasty shocks for California Republicans in the midterm elections of 2018. And now President Donald Trump is being blamed — not just for losses of congressional seats but also for causing the Republican Party of California to suffer a “political nuclear holocaust.” According to some political experts the GOP in the Golden State is at or near death, and will have a very hard time recovering.
After their devastating midterm losses Republicans are now admitting the long term implications of those losses. They agree what they are looking at is not pretty, and they are pretty much unanimous in concluding that their extensive electoral losses were caused by President Donald Trump.
Democrats were successful in “flipping” seven congressional districts in the most populous state. They won every statewide race also as Gavin Newsom was elected governor.
“This is the death of the Republican Party” in California, Republican consultant Mike Madrid lamented to POLITICO.
“There’s no coming back from this for at least a generation, if not more,” he added.
California Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel called the election results in his home state “a political nuclear holocaust for Republicans.”
Most troubling for Republicans is that they lost every single congressional district in the former conservative stronghold of Orange County, the birthplace of Richard Nixon and modern conservatism.
“The nightmare results were the end result of a toxic brew of overconfidence and presidential unpopularity, as some Republicans failed to recognize and reckon with the unprecedented negative reaction to President Donald Trump in districts from Orange County to California’s agriculture-heavy Central Valley,” POLITICO explained.
Expressing a popular belief, U.C. Irvine professor Matthew Beckmann told the Los Angeles Times:
“If Hillary Clinton would have won in 2016, these seats would still be Republican.”
The 2018 midterm losses sent a message to Republicans that their party is in deep trouble. They have held exclusive power in Washington, D.C., but they have squandered and abused that power. People are not happy with their policies which serve corporate interests more than the American people.
One long-time GOP strategist, Stuart Spencer said that his party now needs to make some big changes if they hope to win back the House. The 2018 midterm losses, he said, are “a sign to me that things are going south for Republicans and if they don’t change the way they do things, they’re going to go even further south.”
It’s possible that the 2018 midterm disaster was caused by Donald Trump, but it’s equally possible that it was caused by the policies of the Republican Party. These policies are designed to appeal to a racist, white base of voters who do not want a democracy if it includes giving minority voters equal voting rights.
Right now there does not appear to be much hope that the Republican Party will adopt any meaningful changes. As a result, many in the party will continue to blame Donald Trump for their losses, whether it is true or not. And if that happens, it will only mean more opportunity for Democrats to win even more seats — and possibly the presidency — in 2020.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.