Understanding the Weird World of California Conservatives

To be conservative in California can be frustrating. Republicans haven’t won a statewide election here in a decade. Conservative policy prescriptions—such as they are—don’t have much of a constituency where most Californians live. And the place is thoroughly, maddeningly, insufferably, sometimes stiflingly “progressive.”

Which, if you think about it, makes those of us on the political right something of a counterculture. Far out!

More than that, California conservatives apparently have an outsize voice in national politics. Vox, the self-styled explanatory journalism website, published a story Monday that attempts to explain how California conservatives came to form the intellectual impetus for Donald Trump’s unlikely political ascent.

Reporter Jane Coaston “traveled the length of the Golden State, stopping at conservative outpost after conservative outpost”—which seems to have spanned from the San Fernando Valley to Claremont, about 50 miles east of L.A.

Never mind the geographical quibbles. What she discovered is a conservatism of defiance, “isolation,” and “powerlessness,” articulated by people “who believe their views will never become the view.” Sounds like a bummer.

Yet somehow, Coaston contends, “California conservatism” has become “simply conservatism writ large.”

That seems to be the thesis anyway. As explanations go, however, it’s puzzling. It doesn’t really work. Here’s why.

Read the rest in the Sacramento Bee.

Photo Credit: Rich Polk/Getty Images for Politicon 

About Ben Boychuk

Ben Boychuk is managing editor of American Greatness. He is a former weekly syndicated columnist with Tribune Media, and a veteran of several publications, including City Journal, Investor's Business Daily, and the Claremont Review of Books. He lives in California.

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