By George Skelton
Los Angeles Times

A further dissection of the November election vote provided solid evidence that President Trump had cost seven seats to California's Republican Party in Congress.
It was half of the Gop House's already thin contingent. Democrats are now outnumbered Republicans 46 to 7 in the California delegation.

More specifically, it is the fact that Republican candidates bow to the very unpopular president and his congressional program which has cost them the support of local voters.

It turned out that even the little-known governor candidate, John Cox, behaved better in six of his districts than the Republican candidates in Congress. And four were well-established incumbents with a long history of electoral victories.

The smart thing to do for the Republican Party of California would be to stop living in denial and accept the costly lesson: to survive in the competitive districts of the California Congress, a GOP candidate must stay as far as possible from Trump.

If the president asks for a vote, jump on the other side. If he's flying in California, run under cover.

This of course involves different risks. An elected elected supporter who repeatedly crosses the leadership of a party – particularly if he is composed of a president or a governor – is likely to lose money. money from the campaign, important committee mandates and any hope of passing bills.

But a wise political leader – for example, the legendary Speaker of the Assembly, Willie Brown (D-San Francisco) – would advise his members to vote as necessary as he is to be reelected and maintain the party at power.

It is clear that House Republicans in California have not received this advice from Trump or their then-majority leader, McCarthy Representative of Bakersfield.

"Republicans are now at this historic level in California, but it will only get worse if Trump leads the race in 2020," said Republican political scientist Tony Quinn last week in the Fox & Hounds blog. .

«All republican [for reelection] Next year, it is hoped that Trump will be indicted and convicted, with Vice President Pence at the top of the list. "
Quinn is editor of the California Target Book, a non-partisan organization, which handicaps the parliamentary and legislative races. Rob Pyers, Target Book researcher, analyzed the votes in each district. Quinn reported the numbers in his blog.

Republican losers were Costa Mesa's Dana Rohrabacher, Irvine's Mimi Walters, Steve Knight of Palmdale, David Valadao of Hanford and Jeff Denham of Turlock, as well as two former incumbent lawmakers, Young Kim of Fullerton and Diane Harkey of Dana Point. .

In all districts except Valadao district, Cox, underfunded, performed better than congressional candidates. Former Republican Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner did the same for his former non-partisan freelance position. In addition, proposal 6 of the proposal to repeal the GOP-sponsored Gasoline Tax covered all GOP-controlled districts.

"If the Republicans had run with the repeal of the tax on gasoline, they would have won three seats instead of losing seven," Pyers said.

The crucial mistake for the Republican losers was to vote for Trump's tax cuts – which were actually tax hikes for many of their constituents – and to kill the popular Obamacare. Only Rohrabacher is opposed to the tax bill.

The Obamacare tax and votes have tightly bound the members of the Republican House to Trump and made them big targets.

Democratic candidates wisely reflected on health care, pledging to preserve the ban on insurance companies refusing coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions.

The so-called tax cut has particularly affected middle-income Californians. Many reside in the suburbs of Orange County that Republicans were trying to defend. This has hurt these voters by capping state and local tax deductions at $ 10,000 on federal returns.

It's not as if the seven candidates to the House of Republicans had not been warned about Trump's toxicity. In each of their districts, Trump lost in 2016 against Hillary Clinton. But they have not adapted, which is symbolic of the GOP itself in California.

GOP leaders blamed their pass, except for Trump: Democrats collected more money, they were better organized, they used a new law to "harvest" votes – collect sealed ballots and hand them over .

"Republicans can point to anyone they want, but unless they do it themselves, they will not learn the lesson of the 2018 elections," says Darry Sragow, a longtime Democratic strategist. who publishes the target book. "The lesson is what the Republican Party sells in California under Donald Trump, voters simply do not buy. the [border] the wall is an example.

"Secondly, for some perverse reason, he has taken the habit of sticking a finger in the eyes of California. Beyond politics, it has become personal.
"The numbers," says Sragow, "give a clear idea of ​​why Republicans acted so badly in California."

"It's hard to dispute that and I'm not going to try," says Republican consultant Wayne Johnson, Cox's election campaign guru. "If the election was a referendum on Trump – and to some extent it was – it was a losing hand in California."

According to Johnson, the GOP congressmen "have been confronted with a Beltway message, which speaks of low unemployment, business is running well, tax cuts." Well, none of this is n & rsquo; Has been translated by California voters.

"Cox's message was exactly the opposite: we have problems in California. The homeless population is skyrocketing, we have the highest poverty rate in the country, a high cost of living … "

Cox is made to have by Democrat Gavin Newsom. Yet he still won about half a million votes more than Trump's lemmings in Congress.

George Skelton is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. © 2018, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.