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Kevin McCarthy Pushed Trump’s Anti-immigrant Agenda and Lost Half of California’s Republican House Seats

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Reaction to the Trump/McCarthy political strategy of fear and divisions cost California Republicans seven House seats in with significant Latino and AAPI populations

Los Angeles, CA – The high price Republicans paid in the midterm elections was most evident in California where GOP House members and candidates experienced devastating losses. With Democrat T.J. Cox declaring victory over Republican incumbent David Valadao in the race for California’s 21st Congressional District, Democrats have now flipped seven congressional districts held by Republicans. Those losses were abetted by the state’s leading Republican, Kevin McCarthy, who, as a top ally to Donald Trump, echoed the GOP’s anti-immigrant messaging, which backfired in California.

According to America’s Voice California Director, Adriana Ruggiero:

With the Republican losses in congressional districts across California, from the Central Valley where a large Hispanic populations’ concerns had been ignored for years to the complete wipeout in Orange County, which used to be considered a GOP fortress, Californians sent a clear message about the anti-immigrant message pushed by Trump and McCarthy. However, even now, Kevin McCarthy and the GOP are continuing to push for the border wall, despite the rejection by voters not only in California, but across the country. This is just further proof that McCarthy is a willing accomplice in the failing franchise quickly becoming known as the “Party of Trump.”

While Republicans at the national level focused on the Trump/McCarthy agenda of building the wall, opposing healthcare, and promoting the unpopular tax bill, community groups working on the ground were having real conversations with voters about the issues that were truly affecting them. McCarthy’s lack of political judgment led the Republican Party to a devastating election in California, which begs the question of why Republicans would keep following the lead of Trump and McCarthy.

As Ron Brownstein writes in a new piece in the Atlantic, mindful of Trump’s renewed calls to fund a border wall, “Republicans Didn’t Learn Anything From the Midterms.”

Yesterday, Latino leaders from California convened a roundtable discussion to examine successful results of their work in the midterm elections in the Golden State. Activists and advocates undertook unprecedented voter outreach efforts to increase turnout of Latino voters – and it worked. Also attending was Matt Barreto from Latino Decisions who discussed results from California in the American Election Eve Poll, which included full samples of Latino, APPI and Black voters in the state. He highlighted key findings from voters:

  • Minority and immigrant voters drove the Blue Wave in the U.S. House elections and especially in California
  • Reactions and emotions to President Trump were a driving factor for voters in the 2018 elections
  • A majority of voters of all races and ethnicities were upset by Trump, not inspired

In the weeks since the elections, it’s become very clear that California voters soundly rejected Trump’s politics of fear and division. McCarthy’s embrace of Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies was a major reason why.

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News back in October, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced the introduction of legislation chock full of anti-immigrant provisions. The bill, titled “Build The Wall, Enforce the Law Act,” included full funding for Trump’s border wall. At the time, McCarthy stated,  “President Trump’s election was a wake-up call to Washington. The American People want us to build the wall and enforce the law.”

Meanwhile, a Los Angeles Times piece from Mark Barabak and Sarah Wire, “As California Republicans confront a congressional wipeout, GOP leader Kevin McCarthy faces a reckoning,” shines a spotlight on McCarthy’s role in wiping out the GOP in California.

Embracing Trump and appeasing the hard-line conservative wing of the GOP were shrewd steps for McCarthy, who unsuccessfully bid for House speaker in 2015 but quickly bounced back, due in part to his strong ties to the White House. But being the president’s point person on Capitol Hill meant pushing policies that were out of step with voters back home — such as a measure to override state gun control laws — and corralling his fellow California lawmakers to help pass them.

…The irony is that in securing his position as the top House Republican, McCarthy may have helped ensure there will be fewer from California to serve alongside him.