Monday, November 27, 2006

GOP Losing in the 'Burbs... What Does That Mean for Us in SoCal?

Remember the suburbs? Those quiet, pleasant neighborhoods... Those perfectly manicured lawns... Those white picket fences... And all those conservatives afraid of the "evil ways of the big, bad city"? Well, the neighborhoods may still be pleasant, and white picket fences are still up, but the Republicans are moving out!

In today's edition of USA Today, there's a nice article showing how the Republicans are now losing the Battle of the 'Burbs.

Democrats carried nearly 60% of the U.S. House vote in inner suburbs in the nation's 50 largest metropolitan areas, up from about 53% in 2002, according to the analysis by the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech.

They received nearly 55% of the vote in the next ring of "mature" 20- and 30-year-old suburbs, with 45% going to Republicans and third-party candidates. In 2002, the last midterm election, Democrats received 50% of the vote there.

Hmmm, looks interesting. Wonder why the suburbs, especially the older suburbs closer to town, are steadily turning blue? Perhaps because they're not as "lily white" as they used to be:

Well-established or "mature" suburbs increasingly are turning Democratic, Lang said. He said the trend probably is permanent because such suburbs have become denser and have drawn more foreign-born residents as Republicans have moved farther from urban cores.

Now the USA Today piece goes on to talk about suburban Philadelphia, but I'd like to discuss what this means for us in Southern California. Remember the bad old days of the "conservative San Fernando Valley"? Remember when LA County was a "swing county" due to all the "GOP-leaning suburbs"? All that has changed over the last few years... In fact, as of now the GOP has been almost entirely shut out of LA County, except for the far-out reaches of the Antelope Valley, east San Gabriel Valley, and Palos Verdes Peninsula... And now they're even at risk of eventually losing those areas!

Even my own Orange County is changing. For quite a while now, many of the older towns in the central and northern parts of the county have begun to trend Democratic over the last few years. Santa Ana, which was once a little "country town" 100 years ago, is now the ninth most populous city in the state, as well as the most Latino major city in the US. Irvine has a growing Asian-American population that is changing the nature of the once "lily white" master-planned suburb. Slowly but surely, Orange County is becoming a minority-majority area. It's not the "Orange Curtain" our parents were once frightened by!

Apparently, the OC Democratic Party is looking for a new field director... Good for us! We need to look at these encouraging trends, and start reaching out to all those suburban voters!

No comments: