After crushing losses and a steep slide in voter registration, California Republicans gathered this weekend in the desert, hoping to plot a path back to relevancy in a state where shifting demographics and President Trump’s low approval numbers are continual challenges.
The convention, held at a Coachella Valley resort, featured a schedule that seemed to take a page from the Democrats’ 2018 playbook, with training sessions on registering voters, collecting ballots and engaging Latinos, blacks and millennials — all groups with whom Trump is unpopular. Behind the programming was Jessica Patterson, the first woman to chair the party, a Latina and millennial who promised to make the organization more inclusive and broaden its membership.
But Patterson’s goals could be a tall order for a party whose activist ranks have moved further right in recent years, and predominantly comprise those loyal to the president and his policies.
At a session billed as a training on how to engage “black and urban” voters, panelist Errol Webber said volunteers should point out the value of strong immigration laws to address “the displacement of black people in our communities from illegal aliens who are snapping up all the already scarce affordable housing.” After announcing his intention to run against Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), Webber called the congresswoman the “overseer of the black Democrat plantation.”
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