In just 40 years, an immigration explosion has turned California’s Orange County – formerly a predominantly red Los Angeles urban sprawl area – into a new blue stronghold for Democratic candidates.
“The Democratic capture of four Republican-held congressional seats in Orange County in November – more than half the seven congressional seats Democrats won from Republicans in California – toppled what had long been a fortress of conservative Republicanism,” The New York Times reported in an article titled, “In Orange County, a Republican Fortress Turns Democratic.” “The sweep stunned party leaders – among them Paul D. Ryan, the outgoing House speaker. Even Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor-elect of California, won the county where Richard M. Nixon was born.”
The longtime conservative suburban haven no longer resembles what it looked like in decades past.
“To appreciate the vast cultural and political upheaval across Orange County over the last 40 years, look no further than Bolsa Avenue,” The New York Times’ Adam Nagourney and Robert Gebeloff explained. “The auto body shop, the tax preparer, a church, a food market, countless restaurants – all are marked by signs written in Vietnamese … or head seven miles west to Santa Ana, where Vietnamese makes way for Spanish along Calle Cuatro – a bustling enclave of stores and sidewalk stands serving an overwhelming Latino clientele.”
With California becoming a “sanctuary state” a year ago – not long after San Francisco became a “sanctuary city,” the embrace of Democratic pro-immigration policies by leftist politicians has made California into a safe haven for immigrants, who have taken over many communities in the previously conservative Southern California region.
“But the results [of November’s midterms] reflected what has been a nearly 40-year rise in the number of immigrants, nonwhite residents and college graduates that has transformed this iconic American suburb into a Democratic outpost, highlighted in a Times analysis of demographic data going back to 1980 – the year Ronald Reagan was elected president,” Nagourney and Gebeloff continued. “The ideological shift signaled by the most recent election results – on the heels of Hillary Clinton beating Donald J. Trump here in 2016 – is viewed by leaders in both parties as a warning sign for national Republicans, as suburban communities like this one loom as central battle grounds in the 2020 elections and beyond.”
The sharp demographic shift that has taken place in the county that is the home to Disneyland is the result of an immigration explosion that drastically changed the area – especially in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
“There was a steady decrease in white voters in the seven congressional districts that are in and around Orange County between 1980 and 2017, according to census data,” Breitbart News divulged. “In 1980, whites made up 75 percent of the population in the district … by 2017, that number dropped to 30 percent.”
And the number of immigrants in Orange County is expected to continue to grow with immigrants’ far-greater birth rates in the region.
“The county’s immigrant population grew five times as fast as the general population between 1980 and 2000, and while the pace of immigration has slowed, the Latino and Asian populations continues to increase – driven by the children of immigrant families born in the United States,” Breitbart’s John Binder noted.
It was pointed out by Marcia Godwin – a public administration professor at the University of La Verne in Los Angeles – that the registration advantage in Orange County once claimed by Republicans has considerably narrowed over the past few decades.
“You went from a solid Republican county to one in which Republicans were just barely the majority, and it fell pretty quickly in the past two years,” Godwin asserted. “You have had continued demographic changes. This is a county that went from majority-white to having a majority that are Latino and Asian-American. So, that has gone hand-in-hand – particularly with the rising Asian-American population – to voting more Democratic.”
Numbers at the polls are accurate indicators that Orange County is no longer the place it used to be, due to immigration.
“By every measure, this is a far different place than it was in the 1980s,” Nagourney and Gebeloff asserted. “The population of Orange County has grown from 1.9 million in 1980 to nearly 3.2 million in 2017; it is the third largest county in the nation’s most populous state.”
The flood of population increases for two ethnic groups has literally turned the political landscape in Orange County upside-down – as witnessed at the polls.
“In the 48th Congressional District – which voted out Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a fixture of Orange County Republican politics for nearly 30 years – the Latino population jumped to 145,585 in 2017 from 38,803 in 1980, or 8 percent, accounting for 21 percent of the district’s population,” the Times recounted. “In another corner of Orange County – where Representative Mimi Walters, a Republican, was upset by Katie Porter, her Democratic challenger – the Asian-American population jumped from 14,528 in 1980, or 4.4 percent, to 175,540 in 2017, making up just under a quarter of the total population.”
With the immigrant takeover in many Orange County communities, Democrats – such as Gil Cisneros, who stole a House seat formerly held by Ed Royce (R-Calif.) – are now winning handily at the polls.
“Because it’s becoming more diverse, it’s becoming more Democratic, because the Democratic Party is more inclusive,” Cisneros claimed, according to the Times. “This is no fluke at all. It’s been this way for a long time, and it’s going to continue to trend this way for a long time.”
America’s political landscape changing?
This trend is not only evidenced in Orange County, as it has been contended that there are now “two Americas.”
“Republican districts have far fewer immigrants,” Axios.com informed last year.
It is contended that immigration policy is mostly responsible for ethnic communities voting Democrat.
“House seats held by Republicans generally have significantly lower foreign-born populations than those held by Democrats – a likely indication of why the two parties are so far apart on immigration – especially in the lower chamber,” Axios’ Caitlin Owens and Chris Canipe explained at the time.
With Dreamers, amnesty and deportation being hotly debated last year, a large proportion of America’s ethnic minorities have put their trust in the Democratic Party’s open borders pro-immigration stance.
“The clock [was] ticking [last year] on protections for immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and Congress [was pressed to come up with] a solution,” Owens and Canipe stressed. “It’s obviously members’ job to reflect the interests of their constituents. [so] when the majority of a district’s voters don’t have any skin in the game, meeting in the middle can be tough.”