The success of Katie Porter’s sharply progressive candidacy in a place with so much Republican history and cultural mythology on its side has meaning even if she does not prevail.
"Chasing the Blue Wave in Orange County" by Dana Goodyear
Irvine, a little inland from the coast, is part of CA-45, where Katie Porter, a professor of consumer-protection law, had hoped to overtake the Republican incumbent, Mimi Walters, in a race that was supposed to be an indicator of the region’s changing political makeup. Porter’s name, in pink poster paint on a board emblazoned with dressing-room lights, adorned the entrance to a ballroom at the Hilton. Inside, supporters mingled, waited, checked phones, booed Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, when he appeared on a large screen, and drank. When my eyes grew fatigued from watching screens, they sought shoes: flip-flops, Birkenstocks, Converse, hiking shoes, a few pairs of party flats with bows, Vans. Polling, a notoriously inexact science, had called the race for the Forty-fifth a tossup. I had a fleeting thought that there might not be enough party-flat-wearing women in the crowd for a Porter win. In the hotel bar, where everyone was watching CNN, I heard someone at a table of Porter people say, about the nationwide results, “Honestly, it’s not going to be as much of a blowout as I thought. I thought it’d be a frickin’ landslide.”Ehssan is an IVC student - and his childhood friend, mentioned later in the article, may be as well. It's good to see our students engaged in the electoral process and to see them featured in such a high profile publication as the New Yorker. What would attract Ehssan and other students to Porter's campaign? Goodyear's answer:
Back in the ballroom, I asked two Porter volunteers, in Vans, friends since elementary school, what drew them to Porter. “I live below the poverty line with my father,” Shayan Ehssan, who is Persian-American, told me. He is nineteen and goes to a community college. “I like the liberal agenda,” he said.
Student debt is not part of the incumbent’s platform; she’s far more interested in the national debt, and how to reduce it by cutting government spending. Mimi Walters was the only Orange County Republican to vote for Trump’s tax plan. Defending it, she said that her constituents—business owners and those with 401(k)s and stock portfolios—were thriving. Her allegiances were clearly with high earners, not with community-college students living with their dads. “Remember,” Walters told CNBC, “Many people who are in the, let’s say $200,000-$500,000 range, they had the alternative minimum tax. We’ve done away with it.”Another great read this week: "An obituary for old Orange County, dead at age 129" by Gustavo Arellano published in the LA Times.
“Orange County,” the California collection of 34 cities and 3.2 million residents once described by President Reagan as where “all the good Republicans go to die,” died Tuesday. It was 129 years old.Finally, considering all that's happening on campus and in our community, it's worth noting Frank John Tristan's feature article in this week's OC Weekly: RISE ABOVE, UNMASKED: A FORMER WEEKLYINTERN RECALLS HOW HIS SURF CITY ASSAULT BECAME AN FBI CRIMINAL PROBE INTO AN ALT-RIGHT GROUP
Long famous for its wealth, whiteness and conservative values, Orange County is survived by its offspring, who include a population that is about 60% people of color, some of the most crowded and poor neighborhoods in the United States and a Republican Party that’s on the ropes. Once reliably red, the official cause of O.C.’s passing is a case of the blue flu, which turned its politics more purple than Barney the dinosaur....
The article closes at the recent screening of the PBS/Pro Public documentary: Documenting Hate: Charlottesville at Chapman University, sponsored by OC Human Relations Council and others, featuring journalist A.C. Thompson, Gustavo Arellano and many more. The article concludes:
In response to moderator Dr. Lisa Leitz’s question regarding what to do about the growing threat of violence from white supremacists, Arellano said, “The most important thing is to shed light. “Back when I was at the OC Weekly, we’d always get criticized: ‘Why are you reporting on these fringe groups? They don’t matter; they don’t do anything at all. They’re losers,’” he explained. “And our response was ‘Yeah, they’re losers, but somebody needs to keep an eye on them, and more important, somebody needs to expose them.’ As a reporter, you have to be able to expose these people, and you can’t stop.”
|Illustration by Richie Beckman|