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Orange County Could Vote Democratic in Presidental Election for First Time Since Great Depression

Nelida Mendoza Yanez, right, gives information about Democratic candidates to prospective voters in Santa Ana. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Nelida Mendoza Yanez, right, gives information about Democratic candidates to prospective voters in Santa Ana. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

It was the home of Richard Nixon, the cradle of Ronald Reagan’s career and, for decades, a virtual synonym for the Republican Party of California.

Now, for the first time since the Depression, Orange County stands on the verge of choosing a Democrat for president, potentially ending the longest streak of Republican presidential victories of any county in the state.

That possibility symbolizes how the American political map has been upended by Donald Trump’s campaign: He has sped up a decade-long shift in which the GOP has gathered strength in white, blue-collar regions that once routinely elected Democrats, but traditional Republican suburbs increasingly have turned blue.

From Chester County outside Philadelphia to Gwinnett County east of Atlanta and on to Fort Bend County near Houston and Tarrant County west of Dallas, big, affluent suburban regions seem likely to shift significantly toward Hillary Clinton this year, according to analysts who track county-level voting trends.

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