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The OC GOP’s Delicate Dance in the Age of Trump

February 4, 2017

By Thy Vo : voiceofoc – excerpt

It wasn’t long ago that if you were looking for harsh rhetoric and hardline policies on immigration, you need look no further than Orange County…

…All of this contributed to the previously unthinkable happening in Orange County in November: Hillary Clinton won the county by a 51 to 43 percent margin. It was the first time a Democratic presidential candidate won in the county since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936…

Republican officials in the “reddest county in America” were not at all shy about deriding our porous borders and condemning those who advocate for amnesty for people in this country illegally.

Consider Costa Mesa Councilman Allan Mansoor, who gained both notoriety and criticism in the latter half of the last decade for his extreme positions, including pushing in 2010 a city council resolution to declare Costa Mesa a “rule of law” city committed to ending illegal immigration.

Mansoor had such a high profile on the issue that he was named an honorary member of the Minuteman Project, a radical anti-illegal immigration group founded by Laguna Niguel resident Jim Gilchrist.

And while Mansoor may have been among loudest local voices, he was certainly not alone.

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), one of the longest-serving members of the county’s congressional delegation, routinely staked out tough positions on immigration – an example being his support for a 2011 bill that would have required children born in the US to have at least one parent who is a citizen or legal permanent resident in order to receive citizenship.

Fast-forward to 2016, and the GOP standard bearer, Donald J. Trump, wins on an unabashedly “America first” platform that included some of most draconian policy prescriptions for immigration in recent memory. And the president made clear in his first week, with two executive orders that will radically change U.S. immigration policy, that he intends to live up to his campaign rhetoric.

The first order, signed last Wednesday, significantly increases the pool of people who can be deported by including not only unauthorized immigrants who have committed serious crimes, which was the threshold at the end of the Obama administration, but also those who have committed “any criminal offense” and those who have been charged but not convicted of a crime.

Then, on Friday, he issued another order calling for a temporary ban on refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. This order sowed chaos over the weekend, with scores of immigrants being denied entry at airports while protesters filled the terminals.

And though the actions have been cheered by Trump’s supporters and received nods of approval from a number of Republicans in Congress, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the reaction among Orange County Republicans – not only to the executive orders, but to the Trump presidency in general – has been muted.

Royce, who is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a statement this weekend regarding the refugee ban that was far from full-throated support, and could even be interpreted as veiled criticism

Acknowledging a Changing Dynamic

Republican political strategist Jon Fleischman is not surprised by such shifts. He says it’s now incumbent on local politicians to get out in their communities and make it clear where Trump’s successes reflect their beliefs, and when his rhetoric does not…

All of this contributed to the previously unthinkable happening in Orange County in November: Hillary Clinton won the county by a 51 to 43 percent margin. It was the first time a Democratic presidential candidate won in the county since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936…

The Republican Party is not the only party that is searching for its soul. The Democrats are similarly confused and dealing with their own sense of superiority and ill-defined objectives. Neither party is really listening to what the public wants. I blame this on the media for picking the conversations and questions instead of going to the people with an open mind and asking them what they want. When is the last time a party or media honcho asked anyone what they want? They always bring you a menu of options to choose from. This is how they frame public policy. We see this a lot in local government  so it is easy to recognize… (more)

The Republican Party is not the only party that is searching for its soul. The Democrats are similarly confused and dealing with their own sense of superiority and ill-defined objectives. Neither party is really listening to what the public wants. I blame this on the media for picking the conversations and questions instead of going to the people with an open mind and asking them what they want. When is the last time a party or media honcho asked anyone what they want? They always bring you a menu of options to choose from. This is how they frame public policy. We see this a lot in local government  so it is easy to recognize.

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