President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Ladd’ÄìPeebles Stadium, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

By Martin Wisckol, The Orange County Register
Posted: 12/18/16 – 12:58 PM PST |

A new president usually lifts all boats in his party.

But Donald Trump lost California by a 2-1 margin, the worst loss for a major-party presidential nominee here since 1936. The Republican share of the state’s voters is 26 percent and shrinking, and the party faces a deep divide on how to reverse its fortunes.

Many say the party needs to soften its posture on undocumented immigrants and social issues to attract more Latino, Asian and young voters.

Others, particularly in the GOP’s traditional voter base, counter that Trump’s victory nationwide is proof that a stronger stance is called for.

At stake is the very relevance of the Republican Party in California.

“Logically, they cannot win elections the way they’re going,” said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of CSU Los Angeles’ Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs. “But if they go a different direction, it’s going to create a big fight within the party.”

The dilemma reared its head Dec. 5, the first day of the state legislative session.

The 72 Democrats in the Assembly and Senate all voted for a resolution critical of President-elect Donald Trump’s various campaign proposals on immigration. Two Republicans supported it, voting with Democrats, and 19 abstained. Only 17 Republicans stood with the incoming GOP president and voted against it.

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