A state struggling with high unemployment; a depressed housing market that shows no signs of turning around any time soon; widespread voter discontent with the president and California's U.S. senators—all of them Democrats.
That's enough for the state's Republican Party to declare, as it opens its fall convention in Los Angeles today, that "it's a new day in California politics."
But the thousand or so party members are meeting as the party faces a host of serious long-term challenges: declining Republican voter registration; a troubled relationship with the state's rapidly growing Latino population; and newly drawn legislative districts that could cost the minority party some of the seats it holds in Sacramento and Washington.
"The thing about the Republicans is that they have nowhere to go but up," Jack Pitney, Crocker Professor of Politics at Claremont McKenna College, said in an interview Friday with KQED News host Cy Musiker.
"They're pretty much at rock bottom when it comes to seats in the Legislature, registration in the electorate, and certainly they don't hold a single statewide office."