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California GOP: Is It Too Late to Save This Elephant from Extinction?

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher votes

It wasn’t just a “Blue Wave” that swept over California on Nov. 6, according to former GOP state Assembly leader Kristin Olsen. She said it was more like a “Blue Tsunami.” Now, some California Republicans are afraid the only thing that can save their party is the extinction of the state GOP.

“The California Republican Party isn’t salvageable at this time,” Olsen wrote. “The Grand Old Party is dead.”

California Democrats, holding at least 60 out of 80 Assembly seats after the Nov. 6 election, will have a historic supermajority in 2019. Only eight of the 53 California U.S. House seats will be held by the GOP. In statewide races, no Republican got better than 40 percent of the November vote.

So, Democrats go into next year with the largest caucus since California’s legislature went full-time in 1966. “When the nation looks toward California, it will look like the sun is rising in the west. That’s our future, shining bright,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D) said in a statement.

But, the San Diego Tribune editorial board noted, “the bad news (for Republicans) doesn’t end there.”

“Republicans used to be able to count on anti-tax sentiment among state voters. But a measure to repeal gas tax hikes went down in flames this month,” the Tribune editorial board wrote. “Supporters can blame misleading ballot language if they want, but voters’ recent support of tax hikes is also telling.”

How could this be? Life in California is far from perfect. Californians are coping with a housing crisis. More than 130,000 California residents were homeless in September, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Californians also suffer under the yoke of the highest rate of poverty in the U.S. According to the California Poverty Measure, more than 19 percent of Californians, close to 7.4 million people, “lacked enough resources to meet basic needs in 2016.”

U.S. News & World Report in March ranked California’s quality of life as absolutely the worst in the U.S. The Best States ranking graded the 50 states on having a healthy environment and a sense of community.

But, paradoxically, San Diego Tribune editorialists said voters are not blaming the party in power, Democrats, for anything that’s gone wrong.

“Voters seem to endorse Democratic values so strongly that they don’t sweat the details about everyone’s lives improving,” the Tribune wrote.

So, what’s a Republican to do about so many heads buried in so much sand?

“I believe that the party has to die before it can be rebuilt. And by die — I mean, completely decimated. And I think [Nov. 6] was a big step,’’ California GOP political consultant Mike Madrid told Politico. “There is no message. There is no messenger. There is no money. And there is no infrastructure.”