The California Republican Party needs to engage in some serious soul-searching in the aftermath of Tuesday's election. Instead, their leaders appear to be locked in a pattern of denial that has made them an increasingly irrelevant force in statewide politics.
It could have been a Republican sweep year in the Golden State, as it was in much of the rest of the country. Yet from Carly Fiorina in the U.S. Senate to Andy Pugno in Assembly District 10, GOP candidates lost in a year when they should have triumphed.
Democrats locked up all but one of the statewide offices. The final one – attorney general – could well go to Democrat Kamala Harris once all the votes are counted.
Why did the GOP tsunami stop at the Sierra Nevada?
Part of the reason is the California Republican Party doesn't quite realize it is operating in California.
When a party's leaders stake out positions opposing gay rights, gutting environmental laws, deporting housekeepers and cutting taxes for the wealthy, they alienate independents and crossover Democrats. When they enforce rigid no-tax pledges and ostracize Republicans who are more open-minded, they miss chances to elect moderate GOP talents, such as Roger Niello and Abel Maldonado (both of whom lost Tuesday).
On the Flash Report and other GOP blogs, Republican consultants are trying to blame the Democratic near-sweep Tuesday on Arnold Schwarzenegger. The prevailing spin is that Republicans lost because Democrats successfully tagged Meg Whitman as a sequel to Schwarzenegger, which dragged down the entire ticket.
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