Charlie Mahtesian over at Polico has a mystery - how did the GOP in California fade into irrelevance?:
According to the latest figures from the Secretary of State's office, Democratic registration is 43.5% to 30.3% for Republicans.
The GOP actually has a majority of voters in 30 of California's 58 counties. But that number is misleading. If you look at the list of the 10 counties with the highest percentage of Democrats, they tend to be some of the more populous in the state – places like Alameda (Oakland) Los Angeles (LA), Contra Costa (Bay area), and San Mateo (Bay area) counties.
The 10 counties with the highest percentage of Republicans tend to be among the least populous counties, all of them located inland.
Wow - over a 13 point Democrat advantage in registration. How can this be when California is the state that gave us Reagan and Nixon both won two terms and carried the state each time? What has happened to cause the incredible turn around? Have the former GOPer's of the state finally seen the error of their ways and gone over to the dark side?
Well to answer this I put on my deerstalker hat and found an article by The Wall Street Journal's Allysia Finley who interviewed Joel Kotkin a leading U.S. demographer. In the article Mr. Kotkin makes the case that over the past 20 years the Democratic Party has done nothing short of running anybody who is productive out of the state:
Now, however, the Golden State's fastest-growing entity is government and its biggest product is red tape. The first thing that comes to many American minds when you mention California isn't Hollywood or tanned girls on a beach, but Greece. Many progressives in California take that as a compliment since Greeks are ostensibly happier. But as Mr. Kotkin notes, Californians are increasingly pursuing happiness elsewhere.
And when Mr. Kotkin talks about red tape he means it. For example, look at the state's current cap-and-trade law AB32 will raise the cost of energy and drive out even more manufacturing jobs without making even a dent in global carbon emissions. Meanwhile California's electricity prices are already 50% higher than the national average. Golly, if I had a manufacturing company that relied on electricity to produce my product I might look elsewhere if I were looking to relocate.
But just how bad is the net population loss problem for California? I mean we are talking about CALIFORNIA here, the land of milk and honey for crying out loud, how bad could it be? Mr. Kotkin again:
Nearly four million more people have left the Golden State in the last two decades than have come from other states. This is a sharp reversal from the 1980s, when 100,000 more Americans were settling in California each year than were leaving. According to Mr. Kotkin, most of those leaving are between the ages of 5 and 14 or 34 to 45. In other words, young families.
Of those 4 million that have left the state! - I'm just asking here, how many do you think were the homeless folks watching porn for free in a San Francisco Library? I'm gonna go with exactly zero. My guess is that the people leaving are those gosh-darn productive folks who are being punished with draconian regulations and taxes (10.3% top rate for millionaires and 9.3% top rate for those who earn over $48,000). More from Kotkin:
And Democrats want to raise taxes even more. Mind you, the November ballot initiative that Mr. Brown is spearheading would primarily hit those whom Democrats call "millionaires" (i.e., people who make more than $250,000 a year). Some Republicans have warned that it will cause a millionaire march out of the state.
That said, "It's really going to hit the small business owners and the young family that's trying to accumulate enough to raise a family, maybe send their kids to private school. It'll kick them in the teeth."
Well at least the GOP's loss isn't to conversion but rather flight. According to the United States Census Bureau Texas, Arizona, Washington and Arizona are the top destinations for Republicans Californians leaving the state. All of which coincidentally are much more business friendly. And I for one do not think it is a coincidence that both Republican numbers and the general population are decreasing in the Golden State.