Santana: Trump Fuels Historic Democratic Turnout in OC

Donald Trump helped Orange County Democrats do something last Tuesday they haven’t pulled off since World War II.

Out vote the GOP.

Turnout in Orange County for Democrats blew up for the June primary election, accounting for 55.2 percent of the vote while Republicans only accounted for 42.2 percent of turnout.

OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker is downplaying the Trump factor – arguing recently at the annual election wrap-up analysis at Concordia University’s Center for Public Policy that Orange County’s lax Republican turnout was due to an uncompetitive presidential primary in California.

But come on.

Just consider the results from the 65th State Assembly District between Republican incumbent Young Kim and Democrat Sharon Quirk Silva.

Silva, a one-time incumbent herself who was knocked off by Kim two years ago, easily bested a well-funded Kim campaign this June.

Note that the last time Quirk Silva won office, she was considerably behind in the primary when she went up against incumbent Assemblyman Chris Norby.

If that doesn’t convince you, consider the results in the First District Supervisorial race where incumbent Supervisor Andrew Do spent a considerable sum to avoid the runoff he now faces against Democrat Michelle Martinez.

Now, OK…had Garden Grove City Councilman Phat Bui not run (he garnered 19 percent of the vote, which took from Do’s tally), Do may have won outright.

But the telling mark here is that Martinez didn’t even run much of a campaign.

And she almost beat Do for the first slot.

In the 74th State Assembly, incumbent State Assemblyman Matt Harper lost to a relative unknown candidate, Karina Onofre. Both now go to November.

And in the 46th Congressional District, I kept hearing that a name like Joe Dunn would work in that district.

Instead, it was Correa who easily bested the field.

You don’t have to look over a poll to know that November’s Latino voter turnout will be massive.

Just walk down Fourth Street in Downtown Santa Ana, where you’ll see the Trump-faced Pinatas on display. The other day I noticed a “Fuck Trump” stenciled on the back of one car headed down First Street near Main Street.

At this rate, Trump may end doing a better job of getting Latinos vote than even Cesar Chavez.

“We’re seeing a lot of anti-Trump votes coming out,” said Orange County Democratic Chairman Henry Vandermeir at the Concordia event.

“If Trump remains, it’s going to be good for us,” he said.

While Whitaker isn’t wildly cheering Trump on in front of public audiences like the one at Concordia, he didn’t hesitate at all to say he would support Trump if he becomes the Republican nominee for the November election.

Now, Vandermeir figures that it will take another five to six years for Orange County to completely flip in terms of a permanent voter registration advantage for Democrats.

But who knows?

With new district elections being adopted in cities like Anaheim, Fullerton and Garden Grove – and an increasing number of candidates from communities that haven’t historically voted – Republicans might find themselves in minority status faster that expected.

One of the big pillars of Republican Latino outreach in Orange County, Whitaker said, is to target county school board elections on the charter school issue, arguing that many urban schools are failing Latino families.

Whitaker also pointed to the county board of education election – which saw incumbent Republican Robert Hammond come out on top of a field of candidates despite a controversy with the LBGT community because of Hammond’s remarks on recent legislation around gender choice and bathroom access in public schools.

Many Republican officials like Whitaker believe gender issues also may help them in the Latino community, hopeful that buzzwords like what he calls “traditional culture” will work with Latino voters.

Indeed, during the last election, I recall then-OC GOP Chairman Scott Baugh and OC GOP Treasurer Mark Bucher knocking on doors in Santa Ana around the gender issue in Latino neighborhoods.

Their problem, as usual, is they never went back.

Yet no problem: this November, Latinos will likely leave their own knock on the GOP door.

And Orange County may never be the same again.

Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated that Karina Onofre and Matt Harper are competing to represent the 72nd State Assembly District. We regret the error.

  • Kevin Perkins

    Less about Trump, and more about dissatisfaction with incumbency. Which, is immune to party, IMO.

    • octaxpayer

      agree, I switch a long time ago after working for the County and seeing all the corruption decided all these idiots have to go. I didn’t even see another choice other than spitzer to which I wrote in Mickey Mouse. I’m not partizan, but not sure I will ever vote for a Republican again.

  • Cynthia Ward

    Norberto, you are smarter than to make such an asinine connection. Primary turnout had no impact on supporting or defeating candidates from the other party. Pubs stayed home because there was nothing left to decide on the up-ticket race. Delaying one’s arrival home from work on Tuesday night became especially “disincentivized” when voters saw long lines created by Bernie voters being given provisional ballots and creating a cluster at the polling places. Dem numbers inflated by first time voters drawn by Bernie may not hold for the November election. Your assumption that anyone registered Dem will vote for the Dem candidate is way off, sir. Sorry.

    A Bernie vote in NOT, by default, a Hillary vote, and while a Bernie voter may not become a Trump voter, we are far more likely to see the burned out Bernie faction play stay-home-and-pass-me-the-boxed-wine come election night. In contrast, Pubs have WAY WAY WAY more incentive to show up for the anti-Hilary vote in November, when their vote DOES make a difference in the outcome. Even those like myself who detest Trump hate him slightly less than we hate Hillary. This is where the DP screwed up, BIG. The idea that only Hillary can beat Trump is laughable. The Dems are presenting the ONLY person possibly in the entire political system less desirable than Trump, while blowing off a kindly old man who might have been a nutty but harmless alternative to Trump. Come November the anti-Hillary GOP will have reason to show up that was missing in the primary, while the anti-Hillary Dems have more reason to stay home. (seriously, anyone really want to make the case that Hillary cares more about women than Trump? Yes Trump says horrifically hateful things to and about women, Hillary DOES horrifically hateful things to women, neither is excusable but I would guess hateful words are preferable to hateful actions.)

    Now that I have made readers good and upset, I have two more items to add.

    ONE: we hear that Trump has activated a bunch of latinos to register to vote or even to get their citizenship they have long been eligible for, in order to vote against him. But then we blame the GOP for holding down Latino interests. Hmm….bunch of folks don’t vote, then blame others for their lack of representation? Last i checked neither Trump nor his GOP predecessors were preventing those folks from becoming citizens or voting in past elections. Something for discussion.

    TWO: AGAIN I detest Trump…BUT I know a lot of Pubs who feel the same way who will show up and vote for him BECAUSE (not only a deep hatred for Hillary) but every time the media depicts thugs standing on top of cop cars waving a Mexican flag it drives undecided voters TO TRUMP! How those idiots don’t understand the negative messaging they are dumping on their own heads is beyond me. I do not know a single voter who has been convinced to denounce TRUMP based on the anti-Trump protestors, but a whole lot of folks who had been sympathetic to the anti-Trump message became unsympathetic thanks to those images. Punks with bandanas tied over their faces are shooting themselves in the foot, reloading and firing again.

    If you want to see who is electing Donald Trump, it is NOT the GOP, many of us are horrified, it is the Dems, who failed to offer an alternative that was even remotely palatable, (how hard is it to find someone less offensive than Trump? Really….come on) and then doubled down with negative imagery backfiring on the message intended.

    May God help America, because we have screwed ourselves big time and I see no way out at this point. We are in for four years of misery no matter what happens in November. But Norberto, your analysis comparing the primary to November is way way off, using measurements that will not be in place in any form come November.

    • Smeagel4T

      Some of your analysis I agree with in regard to the Ds having a reason to vote and the Rs not. HOWEVER… as a Bernie supporter and donor I suggest you not make the mistake about whether they’ll vote for Hillary. I shall be voting for Hillary as soon as I possibly can. I believe the majority of Bernie voters will likely act as I shall be acting. You appear too willing to discount the anti-Trump vote.