As of last month, the state of California officially is the world’s fifth largest economy.
The Golden State just passed the United Kingdom (Great Britain), and is now only surpassed by four nations: The United States, China, Japan, and Germany.
Who would ever have thought when the US fought Mexico in the late 1840s, gained control of California in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, and saw the Gold Rush begin, starting the development of California population so rapidly, that California became a state by 1850, that this mega state would develop an economy larger than all but four nations?
California today has 40 million people, one out of every eight Americans, and has a technology sector in Silicon Valley, and is the world’s entertainment capital in Hollywood.
California is also the nation’s major agricultural sector in the Central Valley agricultural heartland.
It also has become a major positive in the economy after the collapse during the Great Recession. Financial services, real estate, manufacturing, and the information economy are all major pluses in the California economy.
Its economy is one seventh of the entire nation’s economy, and the job growth from 2012-2017 is one sixth of the entire improvement of the country.
The major areas of economic growth are in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.
Its Congressional delegation, by far the largest, consists of 53 House Members and 2 Senators, and a substantial number of them—16 in the House—play a major role in Congress.
The outgoing Governor, Jerry Brown, is seen by many as possibly the greatest Governor in the nation right now, having presided over the revival of the California economy in the past eight years.
California has also led the fight against Donald Trump on such issues as immigration and sanctuary cities; gay rights and gay marriage; and climate change and global warming.
And Nancy Pelosi. the former Speaker of the House from 2007-2011, and Minority Leader since then; and Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader now angling to be the next Speaker of the House if the Republicans retain the majority, are both from California.
So California is, in so many ways, a nation onto itself, and could sustain itself if need be, but at the same time, the future could be three Californias, as the state initiative process has led to a possible ballot question in November, that would set up three states instead of one–Northern California; Southern California; and California, which would consist of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Each state would have about one third of the population of 40 million.
Whether this occurs or not, California will continue to be a major part of the world economy and the American political system.
(Quick note, 06.03.2018: I have been busy, recently, and I am commenting for the first time in a few months. I hope everyone is well. And please take good care. â€”D)
I really like this particular blog entry.
California is an interesting state. It has become a complex state. But, you mentioned a lot for which I donâ€™t feel the need to respond. (Iâ€™m referring to the parts about its incredibly large economy.)
From a political standpoint, I think California has influence as to how the nation goesâ€”but not as much as it used to.
From 1900 to 1996, a period of 96 years and 25 election cycles, California was carried by all presidential winners except in the years 1912, 1960, and 1976. Those were Democratic presidential pickup years for Woodrow Wilson, John Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter. In the first two, a native Californian was a presidential or vice-presidential for a political party which won the state but lost nationwide. In 1912, Progressive Party (and former Republican Party president) Teddy Roosevelt won California by on +174 votes and +0.02 percentage points over Wilson. In 1960, then-Republican incumbent vice president Richard Nixon carried his home state by +0.55 percent and Kennedy won his Democratic pickup of the U.S. Popular Vote by +0.17. In 1976, then-Republican incumbent president of the United States Gerald Ford carried California by +1.78 as Carter won his Democratic pickup of the U.S. Popular Vote by +2.06.
Wikipedia.org notes that Los Angeles County, California, with its county seat Los Angeles, has â€œmore than 10 million inhabitants as of 2017,â€ and has a â€œpopulation [that] is larger than that of 41 individual U.S. states.â€ From 1920 to 1984, a period of 64 years and 17 election cycles, Los Angeles County was carried by all presidential winners. That is a remarkable, unbroken streak. If I have this correctâ€”the longest streak any state has had with carrying for presidential winners is numbered at 16. Credit for that goes to New Mexico. (Ohio, from 1964 to the most recent in 2016, is currently at 14.) New Mexico first voted the same year it entered the unionâ€”1912. From 1912 to 1972, a period of 60 years and 16 election cycles, New Mexico was carried by all presidential winners. Los Angeles County pulled away from its bellwether status beginning in 1988. George Bush, the last Republican to carry California, won the state by +3.57 percentage points. Los Angeles County flipped for losing Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis and gave him a margin of +5.01. In successive elections, Los Angeles County pulled further away from that bellwether pattern and hardened its Democratic margins to a point in which it is now rock solid. In 2016, California carried for Hillary Clinton with a margin of +30 percentage points. Los Angeles County delivered a margin of +49.35.
This suggests that Los Angeles County, and the state of California, have been gradually pulling away from their electoral influence on the nation. During the 20th century, every winning Republican carried both the state and this county. With five elections since the year 2000, every winning Republican prevailed without California and without Los Angeles County.
The most influence I think California nowadays has, in the electoral arena, are on policies that may make their way through the rest of the nation. That is, whether they are done legislatively or battled over to possibly bring new legislation.
There is more to say. But, it is more appropriate for a separate comment.
Welcome back, D!
We have missed you, and always appreciate your insights, so keep them coming now, please!
After the presidential election of 2016, I updated a historical standing of how reliable states have been at carrying for presidential winners historically. In December 2016, I posted a detailed comment on this in â€œThe Cycle Theory of American History Again in Playâ€: http://www.theprogressiveprofessor.com/?p=29045 .
There have been 58 presidential elections. The average percentage of carried states is at 69.32. By todayâ€™s numbers of 50 states, that is a historical average of 34 states. (No estimated whole number.)
Since 1992, a period of 24 years and seven election cycles, the average number of carried states have been 29. (We are currently underperforming historically.) If you like take a nice, easy number for a mathematical exercise, you can use the number 10 and count Elections 1980 to 2016, which are the last four consecutive decades (including the most recent having concluded this decade), and the 44 and 49 states won by Ronald Reagan and 40 states by George Bush brings that up to an average of 34 carried states.
Where California, which has solidified Democratic Party support, is at is 80 percent. (It had a streak of five consecutive elections, the 1980s and 1990s, as did a many others.) For the hell of it, I will list where all states performed during this period.
Given that, since the 1990s, were are on an average not of landslides (4 of every 5 states getting carried) but an average of 3 of every 5 states getting carried, you can get an idea which states seem more recently to be very precious.
It helps to have a period in which a state is willing to carry for presidential winners from both major parties. And, by the way, if Ronald is up for it: A piece about which states would be most pivotal for Election 2020 may not be bad idea. My conclusion: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan will decide 2020. No Democratic pickup winner will unseat Donald Trump without flipping them. And Republican incumbent president of the United States Donald Trump will not win re-election with holding all three. They were to 2016, and will be to 2020, what Colorado and Virginia were for Barack Obama with Elections 2008 and 2012â€”tipping points, with Colorado back in 2008 and 2012 and Wisconsin in 2016, and bellwethers to the nation. Colorado and Virginia voted for all four winners during 2000 to 2012. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan will end up having done that during 2008 to 2020. California, by comparison, but similarly to other heavily partisan states, has carried no more than two consecutive winners since after the 1990s.
Here it is…
â€¢ TAKE TEN: ELECTIONS 1980 TO 2016 â€¢
The following scoring system is with respect to having two popular-vote winners during this time period. It is to give states which sided with a presidential winner full credit. In elections in which the presidential and popular-vote wins did not align to the same person, I give applicable popular-vote carried states half-credit. (Their indicted in between bracket. Those particular applicable should not be fully penalized when evaluating their records.) In the elections in which the Electoral College and U.S. Popular Vote were won by the same person, those that did not side with a winner get no credit.
100% â€” Grade: A+
â€¢ Ohio: 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016
* * *
95% â€” Grade: A
â€¢ Nevada: 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012; 
* * *
90% â€” Grade: A
â€¢ Florida: 1980, 1984, 1988, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016
â€¢ New Mexico: 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2004, 2008, 2012; [2000, 2016]
* * *
85% â€” Grade: B+
â€¢ New Hampshire: 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2012; 
â€¢ Pennsylvania and Michigan (with Maine #02): 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2008, 2012, 2016; 
â€¢ Colorado: 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012; 
â€¢ Iowa: 1980, 1984, 1992, 1996, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016; 
* * *
80% â€” Grade: B
â€¢ Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Missouri, and Arkansas: 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2016
â€¢ Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Illinois, Maine [statewide; #01], and California: 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2008, 2012; [2000, 2016]
* * *
75% â€” Grade: C+
â€¢ Virginia: 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012; 
â€¢ Wisconsin: 1980, 1984, 1992, 1996, 2008, 2012, 2016; 
* * *
70% â€” Grade: C
â€¢ Montana: 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2016
â€¢ Arizona: 1980, 1984, 1988, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2016
â€¢ North Carolina and Indiana (with Nebraska #02): 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2016
â€¢ New York, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington: 1980, 1984, 1992, 1996, 2008, 2012; [2000, 2016]
â€¢ Maryland: 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2008, 2012; [2000, 2016]
* * *
65% â€” Grade: D+
* * *
60% â€” Grade: D
â€¢ South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska [statewide; #01; #03], North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, and Alaska: 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000, 2004, 2016
â€¢ Georgia: 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2016
â€¢ West Virginia: 1984, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2016
â€¢ Rhode Island and Hawaii: 1984, 1992, 1996, 2008, 2012; [2000, 2016]
* * *
Less Than 60% â€” Grade: F
â€¢ Minnesota (and District of Columbia): 1992, 1996, 2008, 2012; [2000, 2016]
A Note on Minnesota: Since its first vote in 1860, it has historically carried for presidential winners 75 percent. (It is tied with Oregon and four other states.) The last ten elections resulted in six won by the Republicans and four by the Democrats. Minnesota has not carried Republican since Richard Nixon was re-elected with 49 states in 1972. The score for Minnesota is, just as it is with the rest, with a focus specifically and respectfully on the last ten presidential elections of 1980 to 2016.
As one can also see from a few numbers of states, like clusters, their are some similar voting patterns. I have taken note of companion states: Alabama and Mississippi (all but once since 1820); Nevada and New Mexico (all but one since 1912); California and Illinois (all but one since 1920); New York and Massachusetts (all but once since 1952); Colorado and Virginia (all but once since 1948); and especially cite my home state Michigan with Pennsylvania, which are two historical companion states which, since the Republicansâ€™ first win in 1860, have carried the same in 37 of the last 40 elections. (They have agreed more than 90 percent.) Thatâ€™s a whole other subject. I will leave it at this.
D, again, you dazzle me with your statistics! WOW!
Thank you, as well, Ronald!
In my first response, I wrote that the state with the longest unbroken streak of having carried for presidential winners historically is New Mexico. Actually, I have the number correct. It is 16. But, tied with New Mexico is Nevada. (I forgot as I submitted itâ€”the two states have voted the same in all elections since 1912 but with the exception of 2000.) Nevada and New Mexico carried between 1912â€“1972 for all presidential winners.
This motivated me to go ahead and look into all states for their longest, uninterrupted streaks of having carried for presidential winners. (It does have me wondering if Ohio, now on top with 14 consecutive election cycles, will keep it up or if it may be peaking.)
Some of the results are surprising.
â€¢ STATES WITH THE LONGEST UNBROKEN STREAKS â€¢
â€” 16 â€”
â€¢ Nevada (1912â€“1972)
â€¢ New Mexico (1912â€“1972)
â€” 14 â€”
â€¢ Pennsylvania (1828â€“1880)
â€¢ Montana (1904â€“1956)
â€¢ Idaho (1904â€“1956)
â€¢ Illinois (1920â€“1972)
â€¢ Ohio (1964â€“2016â€”currently retained!)
â€” 13 â€”
â€¢ Missouri (1904â€“1952)
â€” 12 â€”
â€¢ Arizona (1912â€“1956)
â€¢ Minnesota (1920â€“1964)
â€¢ Delaware (1952â€“1996)
â€” 11 â€”
â€¢ North Dakota (1896â€“1936)
â€¢ Wyoming (1900â€“1940)
â€¢ California (1916â€“1956)
â€¢ Washington (1916â€“1956)
â€¢ Utah (1916â€“1956)
â€¢ Kentucky (1964â€“2004)
â€¢ Tennessee (1964â€“2004)
â€” 10 â€”
â€¢ Kansas (1900â€“1936)
â€¢ Texas (1928â€“1964)
â€” 09 â€”
â€¢ New York (1880â€“1912)
â€¢ Indiana (1880â€“1912)
â€¢ New Hampshire (1896â€“1928)
â€¢ Maryland (1912â€“1944)
â€¢ Massachusetts (1932â€“1964)
â€¢ Rhode Island (1932â€“1964)
â€¢ Louisiana (1972â€“2004)
â€¢ Arkansas (1972â€“2004)
â€” 08 â€”
â€¢ West Virginia (1920â€“1948)
â€¢ Virginia (1928â€“1956)
â€¢ Florida (1928â€“1956)
â€¢ Oklahoma (1928â€“1956)
â€¢ North Carolina (1960â€“1988)
â€” 07 â€”
â€¢ Wisconsin (1888â€“1912)
â€¢ Nebraska (1912â€“1936)
â€¢ Colorado (1912â€“1936)
â€¢ New Jersey (1920â€“1944)
â€¢ Oregon (1920â€“1944)
â€” 06 â€”
â€¢ Georgia (1800â€“1820)
â€¢ South Carolina (1800â€“1820; 1968â€“1988)
â€¢ Vermont (1804â€“1824; 1860â€“1880)
â€¢ Maine (1860â€“1880)
â€¢ Michigan (1860â€“1880)
â€¢ Iowa (1860â€“1880)
â€¢ Connecticut (1892â€“1912)
â€” 05 â€”
â€¢ Mississippi (1828â€“1844; 1972â€“1988)
â€¢ South Dakota (1920â€“1936)
â€¢ Alabama (1972â€“1988)
â€” 03 â€”
â€¢ Alaska (1964â€“1972; 1980â€“1988)
â€” 02 â€”
â€¢ Hawaii (1960â€“1964; 1972â€“1976; 1992â€“1996; 2008â€“2012)
[â€¢ District of Columbia (1992â€“1996; 2008â€“2012)]
D, all of us who read or contribute to this blog, including myself,wish to thank you profusely for this detailed analysis!