California GOP “A White Man’s Party”

The latest PPIC poll is out and it shows Democratic candidates Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer still ahead of their Republican opponents. PPIC has Brown over Whitman 44-36 and Boxer over Fiorina 43-38. Those numbers are roughly similar to the SurveyUSA numbers from earlier this week, although Boxer’s lead is larger according to PPIC.

Before we get to their polling on the ballot propositions, it’s worth spending a moment to explain why Brown and Boxer have leads. As Calbuzz points out:

Despite her massive spending – which is expected to reach $180 million – Republican Whitman has been unable to break away from Democrat Brown except among Republicans, conservatives and Southern Californians outside of Los Angeles….

In the race for  U.S. Senate, Boxer commands Democrats, Women, Latinos, liberals and – importantly – moderates. She also kills Republican Fiorina in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

They also note that whereas Whitman and Brown are evenly tied among men and whites, Fiorina has a lead with both groups, keeping her in the game, if ever so slightly.

Perhaps in 1910 California that would have been enough – since white men made up the majority of the electorate (women couldn’t vote and nonwhite men were a small portion of the electorate). But here in 2010, California is a far more diverse place. And you can’t win an election by being what Allan Hoffenblum called “a white man’s party”:

Allan Hoffenblum, a former Republican consultant who publishes the California Target Book, which handicaps legislative and congressional races, says the GOP “is still perceived as a white man’s party. And the fastest-growing group of voters is people of color. Every time they hear angry rhetoric about immigration, it’s coming out of Republicans.”

As we’ve explained numerous times here at Calitics over these last 5 years, this is an accurate description of the California Republican Party. It is a party whose base hates Latinos, does not believe women deserve basic rights to control their own bodies, and wants to treat LGBT Californians like second-class citizens. That is not a party that is electable in this state, and the Democrats’ dominance of statewide elections since 1996 merely reinforces the point.

This is something that Arnold Schwarzenegger well understood. He realized that a Republican could not get elected statewide if they espoused anti-Latino, anti-gay, anti-woman sentiments. And yet the only reason Arnold became governor was he did not have to run in a GOP primary on his way to becoming governor.

Meg Whitman did. And therein lay her downfall. She had to prove to her “white man’s party” base that she too hated Latinos, and she tried to do so during her battle against Steve Poizner while not going so far toward racism that she alienated the Latino votes she would need to win the general election. As it turned out, Whitman’s anti-Latino attitudes persisted into the general election, with her shocking attack on a Latino student being just one example of how Whitman shares the anti-Latino values of her base.

Carly Fiorina has been even more overt in her courting of the “white man’s party” base, praising teabaggers and denying global warming. And while it’s given her a small lead among those white men (thankfully not all of us are ignorant bigots) it’s not enough to win in a state as diverse as California.

Prop 19 Prop 23 Prop 24 Prop 25
Yes: 44 37 31 49
No: 49 48 38 34
So that’s the good news from PPIC. What’s the bad news? Well, the ballot propositions aren’t looking so great, as you can see at right. PPIC polled those four propositions (wish they’d also polled Prop 26) and found that voters aren’t really fired up about any of them. Prop 19 is in worse shape here than in SurveyUSA, and Prop 25 is “stuck in neutral” according to KQED’s John Myers. Prop 23 is failing, thankfully, but Prop 24 should be doing much better.

There’s still a long way to go over the next dozen or so days before the election, and it’s very important that progressives get engaged to make sure we win.

7 thoughts on “California GOP “A White Man’s Party””

  1. In the State Senate race, Republican candidate Canella is running ads in Monterey against Anna Caballero, whose appearance and name are obviously Latino, with this tagline:

    “Elect one of us.”

    Is that explicit enough?

  2. I don’t recall seeing anything.  The anti-26 campaign does seem to be getting some legs under it at last, although it seems a little odd that it took people so long to realize that 26 would impact AB32 along with everything else.  It’s really quite the power grab.

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