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The future of California's Republican Party (#AT30)

Monday, March 2, 2015, 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Sunnylands Center & Gardens 37977 Bob Hope Drive Rancho Mirage, CA 92270 Map and directions

California makes and breaks national elections, but the results are never a surprise. The state that sent Republicans Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to the White House has ceased to be the proving ground for conservatives seeking national office. Likewise, candidates of all stripes travel here to raise money, but rarely come for votes.

That's the received wisdom. But as 2016 approaches, expectations are in flux. Former California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina may be mounting a presidential campaign. Prominent governors like New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Texas’s Rick Perry and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal are coming to rally votes, not just to collect checks from donors. And constituents who once were seen as automatic-Democrats, young voters and people of color, are more and more likely to call themselves independents.

As AirTalk celebrates 30 years on the air, we looked ahead to how political parties will shift in the decades to come. What are the issues that will matter most to voters in 2016? Will the GOP platform begin to accept gay marriage, legal marijuana, and other social issues that young voters overwhelmingly support?

What role will California play on the national stage? Will we see a tech millionaire candidate? Another star who turns to politics, like Reagan and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger?

We also examined the winning strategies in a state where large swaths of voters don’t feel represented by either party, and all the old affiliations may be up for grabs.

Our listeners joined us at Sunnylands Center & Gardens, next to the historic Rancho Mirage estate where eight presidents found private moments amidst the nation's problems.


Larry Mantle - Host of AirTalk


Ruben Barrales - President and CEO of Grow Elect, former California State Controller candidate

Charles Moran - Chairman of the California Log Cabin Republicans

Pete Peterson - Director of the Davenport Institute at Pepperdine University, former California Secretary of State candidate

Jack Pitney - Crocker Professor of Politics at Claremont McKenna College

Mindy Romero - Director of the California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis

This event is part of the AirTalk 30th anniversary tour.