Can you guess which election this map is from?
Here’s a hint. In the Almanac of American Politics, Michael Barone writes, “Once upon a time, people used to analyze California politics by distinguishing between Northern California and Southern California. Northern California—the Central Valley and the North Coast as well as the San Francisco Bay Area—tended to vote for John F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Jimmy Carter, and other Democrats. Southern California—Los Angeles County as well as the smaller suburban and desert counties—tended to vote for Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and other Republicans. Today the geographic divisions run the other way. The two sides are coastal California and interior California. Coastal California is defined as all of the counties that touch the coast or San Francisco Bay, plus tiny Napa and the Lake and San Benito counties.”
The map you’re looking is Kennedy-Nixon, an election held as the GI Generation was putting down roots in California and shuffling the state’s politics. Yesterday, Californians approved open primaries and two Republican tech executives were nominated. Maybe we’re heading for a another era of transformative politics in the Golden State?