That big blue wave crashed on Orange County again this week with the news that for the first time ever, registered Democrats now outnumber registered Republicans here.
“It’s official: Orange County is now BLUE,” Ada Briceño, who chairs the Democratic Party of Orange County, said in an Aug. 7 email to supporters. “For the first time in generations, there are more registered Democrats in our county than Republicans. In the last few years, we’ve done what was long considered ‘impossible’, and we’ve achieved a political transformation in OC, the birthplace of Richard Nixon and the political launching pad of Ronald Reagan.”
While a great and historic achievement, as we’ve reported before it’s still way too early to say Orange County is now “blue.” The latest registration figures from the Orange County Registrar of Voters at press time show that there are currently 548,070 registered Democrats and 547,779 registered Republicans, meaning Democrats now account for 34.03 percent of the OC electorate to the Republicans’ 34.01 percent. That, as the political scientists say, makes OC a purple county.
What’s more, a new book says what we’ve been insisting for years now: Orange County was and remains the spiritual and political home of Trumpism. In fact, the journalist and Lutheran pastor Angela Denker is apparently making exactly that case in her new book, according to this recent interview in World Religion News.
Here’s the portion of the interview that concerns our beloved county:
Pastor Angela Denker: I initially pitched to Fortress a book entitled Bibles and Boob Jobs, a study of Orange County (CA) Christianity, how flashy OC megachurches led to the opening of Evangelicals to electing someone like Donald Trump, and the fracturing of my own congregation over political lines during the 2016 election. My original editor at Fortress, Tony Jones, suggested – instead of just Orange County (CA) – a book covering the entire country and Christian Trump voters in red counties across America. As a sportswriter and rare female pastor working primarily with men, I’ve spent a lot of time in conservative spaces and around Evangelicals. I have found there much love, warmth, and illustration of the Gospel. I find that too in my own family, which includes many Trump supporting Christians. Even as I find much in American Evangelicalism that conflicts with my understanding of Jesus – and I find much in Trump’s presidency that conflicts with the Gospel, I wrote this book to tell true stories about Jesus, about America – and yes, a little bit about myself, too.
That’s right, kids: Denker originally wanted to call her book about how Orange County evangelicals gave rise to Trump and the gaudy and grotesque Trumpism Bibles and Boob Jobs. While I don’t believe there’s a better encapsulation of Republican Orange County than that, it’s hard to tell if Denker’s subsequent book, which covers the entire country instead of just OC, is worth it given that the rest of her interview makes no mention of the Holy Trinity of Trumpism: racism, misogyny, and the repeated telling of self-serving lies, or the fact that evangelicals really aren’t expressing any displeasure with any of that.
Still, that would have been one hell of a book on OC.
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He spent a dozen years as Editor of MauiTime, the last alt weekly in Hawaii. He also wrote three trashy novels about Maui, which were published by Event Horizon Press. But he got his start at OC Weekly, and returned to the paper in 2019 as a Staff Writer.