Capitol Alert
By Christopher Cadelago
December 13, 2016 – 4:37 PM

Steve Schmidt, the Republican strategist who advised John McCain’s presidential bid and helped elect Arnold Schwarzenegger governor of California, imagines a not-too-distant future where the GOP here ceases to wield the influence of a major party and instead becomes the state’s largest interest group.

Schmidt, an MSNBC pundit back in Sacramento this week for a panel on the presidential election, is looking ahead to the time when Republicans, who currently account for 26 percent of California’s voters, fall behind independents, who comprise 24.3 percent. Dominant Democrats make up 45 percent.

As the state’s biggest interest group, Schmidt predicts, Republicans will no longer be capable of electing somebody to statewide office on their own.

In this brave new world, he envisions high-profile contests between a “public employee union Democrat” or “coastal-environment Democrat” and a more moderate, “working-class Democrat.” “A Central Valley Democrat versus a Silicon Valley Democrat,” Schmidt said.

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