Placer County, Calif.—stretching from Sacramento east to Lake Tahoe—is this generation’s Orange County, and that bodes ill for conservatives, Tom Schaller writes on FiveThirtyEight.com. Placer’s demographics and voting record are similar to the Orange County of the 1960s, which birthed the modern conservative movement. But, Schaller writes, “Placer is simply too small and remote” to effect that kind of change again.
These days, Schaller continues, “Placer County is more emblematic—or symptomatic, to be precise—of the state of American conservatism than Orange County.” The population is one of the state’’s whitest, fueled by emigration from more diverse districts. But though its politics are reliably right-of-center, it is still just a “rural outpost,” Schaller writes, “a place to escape from, not push back against, the political changes occurring in America.”