According to Steven Greenhut, who I admire greatly, even though he is a philosophical Libertarian, one reason the Tea Party has not been so effective in California is that the state, being so large, requires candidates for statewide office to be so wealthy they can fund their own campaigns. That means the “grass roots” cannot really affect statewide elections very much. I would add that the cultural appeal of the Tea Party has been mainly to white Anglos, who comprise 45 per cent of the population. That doesn’t mean the other 55 per cent cannot, in the long run, be educated to America’s founding principles. They can. But anyone who saw the results from the Prop 8 election [in which it is declared that marriage is between two people of the opposite sex – a position held by every culture and religion in history before 20 years ago] saw that the proposition carried the Latinos and actually lost among the Anglos. This means that the Republican Party has to choose between being a White Peoples Party and being a socially conservative party; it cannot have it both ways. Now, of course, the wealthy haute-bourgeois elements would like to steer the GOP to being neither of those two. But this is not a good option either; Latinos and blacks are liberal economically and conservative socially; the reverse of the views of most of the haute bourgeois. My own fantasy is to see the California Republicans sit out a couple of election cycles entirely and nominate no candidates at all! That way the hidden tension between the East LA Democrats, interested in pocketbook issues, and the Hollywood Democrats, who have very different priorities, would be exposed to the watching world.
Related: “Where Are the Angry California Voters?” by Steven Greenhut at NYTimes.com