[Ed. – Despite Democrats’ dreams, it doesn’t seem likely.]
California wasn’t always a one-party state — as its new Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, was eager to note in a recent interview. “America in 2019 was California in the 1980s and 1990s,” Mr. Newsom said. “The xenophobia, the nativism, the fear of the other, think back to Pete Wilson and Prop 187” — a 1994 ballot initiative that aimed to combat illegal immigration. “That would make Donald Trump blush.”
Pete Wilson, 85, begs to differ. He was the Golden State’s Republican governor from 1991-99. “There has been this ceaseless fiction perpetrated,” Mr. Wilson tells me, “that I conducted a racist campaign. That is flatly slanderous.”
True, during Mr. Wilson’s tenure California’s conservatives waged polarizing battles over immigration and multiculturalism that echo in today’s culture war. And over the long run, they lost — badly. Democrats today control every statewide office, roughly 3 of 4 state legislative seats, and 46 of 53 U.S. House seats. California has long been considered a bellwether, so it’s easy for progressives to look at this history, as Mr. Newsom does, and hope that Donald Trump’s GOP is headed for the same fate as Pete Wilson’s.
Yet Mr. Wilson says such complacency can “backfire on them.”…