Nearly 4.5 million voters in this state cast their ballots for Donald Trump in the November election. More than 47 other states and just a fraction fewer than Texas and Florida.
Unfortunately for these Californians, their vote total was dwarfed by the 8.75 million that went for Hillary Clinton from the Golden State, as her 61 percent vote share constituted the biggest landslide since FDR carried the state in 1936.
So if you’re a Trump supporter in California, for the most part you try to keep your political affiliation incognito. That means no bumper stickers on your car. No lawn signs on your property. No post-election parties. You keep your gloating and hopefulness behind closed doors.
It’s that way because doing anything otherwise could be downright physically unsafe and socially damaging. Never mind the outright violence that greeted Milo in Berkeley, even a small gathering of Trump supporters in Huntington Beach (in Orange Country, the last GOP stronghold in coastal California) was marred by unruly, and possibly criminal, agitators.
The social and professional cost could be profound for some Trump supporters. In a Los Angeles Times profile, Ed and Maggie Ring spoke about a nearly 20-year friendship that abruptly ended after the couple’s support for Trump became known.
“ ‘I don’t want you around my children,’ ” Ed Ring recalled his former friends’ message via Facebook ending their relationship as he recounted to the Times. “That really hurt.”
Honestly, however, the Rings’ story is a dime a dozen across a state that’s effectively under one-party rule, with the Democrats owning super majorities in both state legislatures and every state-wide office. In November, two Democrats – Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez – faced off for the U.S. senate seat vacated by Barbara Boxer as no Republican made it through the primaries that go to the top two vote-getters regardless of party affiliation.
Your own humble correspondent has his own share of stories to tell. Without boring you with too much detail, I’ve seen first-hand several friendships broken up and business relations ruined during the lead-up to and after the November election. I’ve lost a good friend (I think), as I have not heard from him since he was jolted by the one-two punch of Trump’s victory and my decision to join Breitbart.
Even my own dear sisters, one of whom campaigned for Barack Obama in 2008, had to retreat to their own respective safe spaces for awhile after November 8. They still love me, so that’s a hopeful sign for humanity that there’s still something thicker than politics.
But the obstacles facing California’s Trump supporters, conservatives, or just anyone opposed to the Democratic agenda are no joke. While the rest of the nation can look forward to the rollback of all the excesses and abuses of the Obama years, California’s one-party machine is doubling down on all those disastrous policies, including continued harboring and supporting of illegal immigration, out-of-control environmental regulations, and more onerous tax increases.
Just this past week, Gov. Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown announced a $5.2 billion tax hike to fix the state’s broken roads. The increase will come from raising the gas tax to nearly $1 per gallon and also vehicle registration fees. The funds are needed because for years the state has socked away gas-tax revenue into general funds to pay for, among other things, generous welfare benefits.
Not to mention the $68 billion high-speed rail to nowhere.
Adding insult to injury, the worst indignities suffered by Trump supporters in California sometimes come from friendly fire. Yes, we’ve heard all the jokes about how California should just fall into the Pacific Ocean… we should just secede from the union and no one will miss us… maybe the wall shouldn’t be built on the Mexican border but along the Sierra Nevada that divides the state from the rest of the country.
But know this: There are a lot of us out here in the once glorious Golden State. It’s just that most of us are hiding in plain sight.
Follow Samuel Chi on Twitter @ThePlayoffGuru.