NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T alk to almost any Californians (that is, to any who’ve been in the state since before the ’90s) and they’ll tell a simple story of conservative decline. A crucial 1994 ballot initiative that attempted to enact stricter restrictions on illegal immigrants, Proposition 187, was pushed by a radicalizing GOP in a diversifying California. This initiative was a draconian effort to lash out against minorities’ political gains, and it especially enraged and energized Latinos, long a sleeping giant in California politics. In short, overreach tinged with racism caused Republicans to go the way of the grizzly on the state flag: extinct.
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