Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's (R-Calif.) Campaign advertisement covered what you would expect from a politician who walked in Southern California to the shots he took with his surfboard on the beach. Rohrabacher, who was first elected in 1988, lost his proposal to represent the 48th District of California in the next Congress. Orange County turned blue in 2016 for the first time in 80 years, and this shift to the left continued with Rohrabacher's demise of Democrat Harley Rouda. The Associated Press called the weekend race as it became clear that the notoriously slow vote counting process in California failed to save the incumbent.
Rohrabacher was not the only coastal republican in Southern California who lost. And also Diane Harkey, who hoped to occupy the place that the Republican Darrell Issa had withdrawn. She will not
What's special about Tuesday's results is that there are only two Republicans representing all districts that touch the Pacific Ocean. One is MP Don Young (Alaska), the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives. The other is the deputy Jaime Herrera Beutler (Washington), who represents the 3rd district in Washington. It gained about six points last week, less than President Trump's profit in the district two years ago.
With Issa's resignation and the loss of Rohrabacher, the west coast of the continental United States spans approximately 38 miles, represented by a republican Herrera Beutler district.
Compare that to the East Coast, where the picture is very different. The Republicans held onto the second district of Maine, but did not control any other part of the coast until they reached Long Island. There, the Republicans stuck with a margin of less than 10 points. Staten Island, the 11th district of New York, switched to the Democrats, which means that there are no congressional districts represented by Republicans in the largest city in the country.
If you drive further south, the Republicans are better off. Democrats could take over the 3rd district in New Jersey (the Democrat Andy Kim has a narrow lead over the deputy Tom MacArthur), but the 4th district remains republican. The first districts of Maryland and Virginia are still republican – as are most coastal districts to the tip of Florida. (Democrats picked up one: the 1st district of South Carolina, currently held by Rep. Mark Sanford (R), who lost his precedence.)
Why is the west coast so blue while the east coast is violet? A few reasons.
First, there are fewer areas on the west coast that touch the sea – and fewer states. It is easier to monopolize a smaller number of districts, and there are only three states in the mix, which means that districts can more easily stretch over long stretches along the coast.
Second, the southeastern US is much more conservative than the west coast. Florida, for example, supported Trump in 2016 and is ready to elect Republicans to the Senate and as governor. Most congressional districts of the state touch water.
From Florida to the west along the Gulf Coast, the area is almost exclusively red. The Democrats have two seats in South Florida, otherwise they are mostly red until you come to South Texas.
This revised map brings the derogatory term "coastal elite" into a new context. It is generally an acronym for the Northeast, Los Angeles, and San Francisco Bay. But the rest of the coasts have also become bluer from southern California to Florida to the shores south of New York City.
Even Charleston, S.C., is now in the territory of the "Democratic Coastal Elite." Please remember that the next time you disable the coasts,