Many of the discussion in Blue circles is a debate about whether the Democratic Party is weak or strong right now. So often, it depends on whether you’re asking a Hillary supporter or a Bernie supporter, but the evidence out there suggests Democrats — especially in OC — are growing stronger. With the relative impatience of the American electorate and the rising civic protests in deep red districts, it would not surprise me at all of the House went Blue in 2018 — 24 seats are a lot to flip but it can be done.
Today’s New York Times suggests that trends in Orange County show GOP weakness in what were solidly red seats. All that’s needed are great Democratic candidates and ones who can raise money. From the story:
But if you want to meet the voters who will decide the biggest political story of the 2018 congressional elections, you might have to fly right over the blue-collar workers of Youngstown, Ohio, and go talk to the real housewives of Orange County, Calif.
Yes, it’s early. But if we’re already breathlessly checking in on Altoona, Pa., then add the O.C. to the mix.
Orange County was the heart of Sun Belt conservatism and one of the most reliably Republican bastions of the 20th century. It voted Republican in every presidential election from 1936 until 2016, when it voted for Hillary Clinton by a nine-point margin.
It’s hard to think of a place that was less relevant to Mr. Trump’s fortunes in 2016. Mrs. Clinton’s success in Orange County, and in well-educated and Hispanic areas elsewhere in the Sun Belt, helped her win the popular vote — though there was no payoff in the Electoral College. But it’s districts like these that will decide whether the Democrats can make a serious run at control of the House.
But whether the Democrats can do it will come down to places like Orange County, which is more populous than Iowa. Four congressional districts that have at least some territory in the county still have Republican representatives, and all four were carried by Mrs. Clinton.
It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that the road to a Democratic House begins and ends at Laguna Beach.
DPOC Chair Fran Sdao seems to echo this in an exceptional piece in the Voice of OC; we link to it here. From her article:
What a great time to be a Democrat in Orange County! It is easy to lose sight of that when we read or watch what the President is saying. However, that is also exactly why it is a great time to be a Democrat here. The moment is ours.
Democrats turned out in record numbers to vote last November. For the first time in 80 years the Democratic candidate for President won in Orange County. Frustrated Democrats are now turning out in record numbers to Democratic club meetings, State Party delegate elections and to meetings/events in our communities. We must capture this energy and enthusiasm, and focus on protecting the values and principles of the Democratic Party as we prepare for the 2018 elections.
I love the optimistic tone of Sdao’s piece which very much plays offense compared with GOP chair Fred Whitaker’s “play defense” companion story (you’ll have to go to VOC; I’m not linking to it here).