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December 21, 2014
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Ear to the Ground

A Republican San Francisco Ahead?

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Posted on Feb 21, 2014

kevin dooley (CC BY 2.0)

“If the national Republican Party stops being a home for theocrats, war-mongerers, and xenophobic white men and drifts closer to a small-government, libertarian worldview that eventually makes peace with immigration, LGBT rights and abortion, it might gain traction in affluent, secular, and largely non-white San Francisco,” a contributor at The Bold Italic writes.

The article continues:

For now, California’s state GOP still includes many extreme conservatives, and Nancy Pelosi’s last challenger was a Tea Party sacrificial lamb who performed worse than antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan in 2008. Still, demographics don’t lie. If present trends continue, an ever-richer city with fewer black and Latino residents will definitely become more Republican.

But admiration for rule-by-algorithm and impatience with government shutdowns or NIMBY-riddled sluggishness doesn’t turn people conservative as much as apolitical, and many techno-libertarians reject politics altogether. Billionaires like Peter Thiel want to create floating countries, and Mark Zuckerberg pioneered FWD.us, a pro-immigration “super PAC” that takes positions all over the political map, but focusing on the super rich obscures the rank-and-file. Google’s borne the brunt of the backlash, and yes, its PAC supports both Republicans and Democrats, but individual Googlers heavily favored Obama over Romney. The trend extends to other prominent tech companies, like Facebook, Cisco and Hewlett-Packard: actual corporations spread their money around roughly evenly while actual workers skew heavily Democratic. Whoever lives in your bedroom after you’re evicted probably won’t be a Ted Cruz fanboy, but their employers might push for visa reform that does little for agricultural workers.

And merely voting Democratic isn’t enough to stop the harrumphs, as any glance at the apartment listings will tell you. If the next Republican presidential nominee is a batshit crazy person, San Francisco will probably vote liberal. But if the GOP nominates someone who accepts universal health care and same-sex marriage, they might only lose 60-40. (Phew!) It’s possible the next generation of artsy idealists will gravitate somewhere else altogether because of homogeneity and cost. But it’s unlikely the Republicans will ever move their offices to a penthouse in the Mission.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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