The state's political transformation in recent years has been somewhat ideological, but it's been much more demographic. Namely, it's been driven by Latino immigration. Folks think of California and conflate its politics with San Francisco and Hollywood. White, affluent, cultural liberals. But that's not why California is reliably blue. In 2004, Bush had a five percent margin among white voters. Rather, California has a hefty minority, and in particular Latino, population:
In the aggregate, whites everywhere are somewhat conservative. But in other liberal states, they really do swing left. In Washington, Kerry had a six percent advantage among whites. In Vermont, he had an 18 percent advantage. Those are very liberal states. California, by contrast, is a very Democratic state, but somewhat less coherently liberal. It's solid blue because Latinos are solid blue, not because the place is packed with liberals. Nationally, California is defined by San Francisco and Hollywood, but its politics, for better or worse, really aren't driven by that mindset.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
How Blue is the Golden State?
Ezra Klein digs into the political geography - and the explanation behind it - of California: