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Newsflash to Wingnuts: California is not in Play

I'm still trying to contain my laughter about this comment by DJ Drummond on Wizbang Classic:

But states with heavy military populations, are truly wild cards, and if the Democrats' war-hate gamble fails, states like California could flip and make the [Presidential] race a laugher for the Republican. If Petraeus is believed by the average American, the Democrat will not be supported in the election. So they fear him, because the consequences of their decision are more ominous for their personal egos than they ever imagined possible.

We would have to take a very wild leap of the imagination to believe that the Republican Presidential candidate has a chance at taking California in 2008. John Kerry trounced the incumbent George W Bush by a crushing 1.2 million votes in 2004. Al Gore's margin was similar in 2000 and Bill Clinton's was about twice as large in the two prior elections.

There are about 1.4 million people in all branches of the US military combined. I'm unable to find an exact breakdown of military population by state but let's assume a high end estimate that 50% of the military lives in California (it's more likely around 25%). That gives us 700,000 people. Then we would have to consider that voter turnout for any group of voters is typically around 50% or even lower. That would be about 350,000 military votes.

Even if we stretch the argument and assume that every single one of those California military votes goes for the Republican they would still be about 850,000 votes in the hole using the 2004 results as a base. And remember, the Republican was the incumbent in 2004. There won't be any incumbent running in 2008.

Drummond also makes that argument that "if Petraeus is believed by the average American" the Democrats will be in trouble. Well, I am happy to burst that bubble as well. In an earlier post I cited a CBS poll that showed 62% of the public refusing to buy Petraeus' argument that the surge is improving the situation in Iraq. The only people who believe Petraeus are the same narrow-minded and rigid 30% of people who have been buying the neoconservative crapola about Iraq for the last 6 years. The rest of us were unmoved.

Another huge problem for Republicans in California is the fact that 35% of the population is Hispanic. These voters have been deserting the Republicans in droves as explained by this Newsweek article:

In 2004, Bush got about 40 percent of that bloc--a high that largely resulted from an intense courtship by Bush and the now departed strategist Karl Rove. Yet in the 2006 midterms--held after a caustic immigration debate in Congress--GOP candidates got only 30 percent of that vote. Polls this year show Latino support for Republicans at similarly depressed levels. That doesn't bode well for the party, since Hispanic registered voters should hit 11.4 million in '08, compared with 7.5 million in '00, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). Moreover, they live in swing states like Nevada, New Mexico and Florida, where they could determine an outcome. "I am worried," Rove told reporters after leaving the White House in August. "You cannot ignore the aspirations of the fastest-growing minority in America."

While the wingnuts were popping the corks on their champagne bottles after defeating President Bush's immigration reform, Latinos across the country were quietly deciding that maybe the Republican Party didn't want them after all. This will create a particularly difficult problem for Republicans in the state of California next time around, and could also hurt them in the states mentioned above.

A socially liberal candidate like Rudy Giuliani could make the state somewhat more competitive, but I doubt that would be enough to overcome the strong and rising anti-Republican bias in the state. Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger did win the governorship of California but he is a liberal on many issues, has unparalleled star power, and faced particularly weak Democratic opponents.

Trust me on this one. California is not in play in 2008.

Update: In the comments Lee Ward has figures that show total military personnel in California (including reserves) of 212,000. Assuming 50% turnout that's 106,000 votes. That still leaves the Republicans with a 1 million vote deficit to overcome to put California in play. Good luck with that. I'm sure the Latinos will be turning out in droves for you guys.

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Comments (22)

Lee Ward:

The heavy military in California makes it a wild card?

What a dumbass...

Lee Ward:

Courtesy of Armed Forces News Service via About.com

U.S. Military Major Bases and Installations

Personnel Totals

* Army 7,697
* Navy & Marine Corps 80,572
* Air Force 21,428
* Coast Guard 4,811
* Active Duty Military 109,697
* Reserve and National Guard 98,292
* Total Personnel 212,800

What a dumbass...

Yeah well, I refrained from putting it exactly that way.

But if the shoe fits...

Lee Ward:

Seriously, the GOP has pissed away more Hispanic voters' goodwill in California than the entire number of military personnel in the entire state.

And Petraeus is gonna bring it all home for the red-shirts? lol...

I love the way the right wing jerks make up crap to support their fantasies -- I have an upcoming post that highlights this same phenomenon.


California is a defacto one party state. Governor schwarzenegger is not doing anything differently than what Gray Davis would have done. The Republicans have no prospect for winning state wide office in California and will continue to lose U.S. Congress seats and the last few state seats they control has whites move out of the state and the Hispanic populaiton grows.

The real question is what will the U.S. be like when it becomes just like California. What will politics be like in a one party U.S.? Will it be as dysfunctional as California is?


Do those figures also include extended family and friends of those in the service? Oh, wait a minuite, the left discounts the troups constantly why not their families also.

Was his article based on only the ammount of military votes? Better read it again.

Steve Crickmore:

I have a feeling, that California like the rest of the nation are getting terror/war fatigue..Another 17 months of unstinting Bush/Cheney proclamations and news of the unending war in Iraq should be enough to discredit what remains of any support for Bush's rigid myopia...Arnie recognizes this. At its semiannual convention,(yesterday) Schwarzenegger said "the GOP is losing voter support because it remains too ideologically rigid on issues such as healthcare and global warming -- subjects on which he says polls show that a majority of the state's Republicans favor substantial government action."

Steve Crickmore:

As for the military constituency don't forget Blackwater..It's about to enlarge it's operations in California.

MOS 13A:

After the Republicans defeated the common sense Webb proposal that would still have allowed the President to waive deployment conditions and would still have allowed the troops to volunteer, the Democrats can pound the GOP into the sand.

Little does the GOP realize that they have pissed away the military voter with this single issue.

At every campaign stop, Hillary Clinton should start off with "Help is on the way" and the first thing she will do in office is to sign the Webb Amendment with the help of a larger Democrat Senate.

DJ Drummond:

I wrote that days ago. Sure seems to have made a strong impression, if you're still worrying about it now ...


But hey, don't worry. NO WAY you can lose Cali, right?

You'll keep your most important state, the one you absolutely have to have in order to win, without doing anything different or better, right?


DJ Drummond:

Then we're agreed, Larkin - the GOP should make a push to take California, while the Democrats should just relax and not do anything more than the ordinary. After all, it's a sure thing, right?

- chuckle -

And that's why you are still writing about California, days after I touched the subject?


DJ Drummond:

Oh, and Larkin? If you want to know what I'm getting at with a few extra veterans making a diff in Cali, read up on the the word "catalyst".

Or just keep telling yourself it can't happen.


Lee Ward:

Catalyst - lol - As in a chain reaction of some sort?

What an idiot...

DJ Drummond:

Oh well, Lee, that's a remarkably predictable response from you. I guess they didn't teach the history of cultural momentum where you went to school?

Or it proved beyond your scope of attention?

In any case, I am - truly - delighted to see that my considered opinion is so casually discarded by your side of the aisle. The Left could be formidable in certain venues, but its hubris always brings its plans to ashes.

And just a reminder from the original post I made; you have to win California - we do not. We can hurt you simply by forcing your side to invest resources there to keep it safe. But again, perhaps that is beyond your scope as well.

Lee Ward:

Cultural momentum - lol Check the polls, pal - what has the momentum been for the last 12 months?

Yeah, DJ - your droolings are beyond my attention, and in worthless. Absolutely worthless.

...and if that's your best effort at a considered opinion, thanks for confirming my comment #14 above.

good grief, what a drooling moron....

Peter F.:

I promise to appear on YouTube doing a "Leave Lindsey Alone!" video (Britney's already been done) if CA ever elects a Republican Presidential candidate.

Not. Gonna. Happen. Ever.

DJ Drummond:


The mistake you're making Larkin, is actually the same mistake Rove made in early 2006; listening only to the noises you like.

The race in '08 is to get to 55. That is, neither the Democrat nor the Republican is going to get more than 55% of the Popular Vote. As we know from History, even 38% can win if it's the right place and states, but in terms of strategy, it also means playing to your strengths and denying opportunity to your opponent. A smart Republican will have studied Bill Clinton to see how he won in 1992 and 1996, and no it's not just the South. A smart Democrat will study Dubya's campaigns with diligence and respect, that is if he or she plans to do better than the numbers the Democrats have seen in the past 42 years. Since 1964, only one Democrat has crossed the 50% line, while Republican candidates for President have done it 5 times in that time. You'd better have a good idea why that is so.

I pointed out that since 1992, GOP candidates have been constantly improving their share of the Popular Vote in California. Even though in the last two elections the opposite was widely predicted. You can make noises Larkin, but those are hard numbers, not just some opinion polling spun to make someone look good.

And I would remind you again not to trust opinion polls too much, especially this far out from the general election.

Just remember in November 08, Larkin, I warned you.

Lee Ward:

Somebody Bookmark this -- I want to see DJ eat these words...

DJ Drummond:

Well, I already figured Lee wouldn't qualify for 'smart Democrat', but he just doubled that appraisal.

Honestly, I've seen sharper marshmallows.

Lee Ward:

I can't imagine there's much you can see without a flashlight, judging from where your head resides, DJ...

DJ Drummond:

Wait & see, Larkin. But as I said, it's not just about winning California, it's also the fact that resources spent protecting California will not be available in other states. And while that fact is beyond Lee's comprehension, I am sure you realize that is a salient point.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Lee Ward:

Wow - you found a flashlight that quickly...


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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