San Francisco is not Fresno.
Fresno is not San Francisco.
San Francisco and Fresno are both part of Northern California.
They are 158 miles apart as the drone flies.
Make that 186 miles if you travel by car.
The quickest route between the second largest city and third largest city in NorCal takes you through Turlock, Ceres and Manteca.
It is a 3-hour and 18-minute drive if one obeys the speed limits and you’re not caught in the Bay Area commute crawl.
San Francisco — along with San Jose — anchors the No. 1 tech region in the world.
Fresno — along with Bakersfield — anchors the No. 1 agricultural region in the world.
San Francisco is a white collar kind of town.
Fresno is definitely blue collar.
In the County of San Francisco, 62.5 percent of the registered voters are Democrats 6.75 percent Republican.
In the County of Fresno, 39.42 percent of the registered voters are Democrats, 32.28 percent Republican.
A higher percentage of the population eligible to vote is registered in Fresno County — 82.65 percent compared to 76.48 percent for San Francisco County based on early 2021 data.
Fresno is about as deep red as you are going to get in California.
San Francisco is so blue it is deeper than the Mariana Trench.
Yet when historians look back at an era in United States politics that split Congress almost exactly 50-50 in terms of politicians filling the seats, they may wonder about how the persons that occupied the third most powerful position in the United States over a period of time that were light years apart politically were separated by a mere $168 Uber ride based on the RideGuru quote app on Thursday.
That’s because if the Republicans do indeed control the House of Representatives by only a slightly less small margin than the Democrats had prior to Tuesday’s election, Kevin McCarthy is poised to be Speaker of the House.
Then he will replace Nancy Pelosi as the third in line for the presidency.
This means the vile coming from the reptilian responses of the most fervent among those of the opposing party will continue to be hurled at California.
Keep in mind that there are Democrats nationally that believe Pelosi is not far enough to the left as well as Republicans nationally that think McCarthy is not far enough to the right.
Both, by the way, redefine abrasive political rhetoric, although Pelosi with her ripping apart the president’s State of the Union address on live TV may be more attuned to showmanship than McCarthy although it isn’t because of his lack of trying.
The “San Francisco Limousine Liberal” taunt with its accompanying cheap shots about wine and hot tubs could give way to “Fresno Tractor Tyrannosaurus” taunts with cheap shots about raisins and swimming holes.
What does this say about California where the last Republican in statewide office went the way of the Tyrannosaurs in 2006?
This could just well end up being the state where hues of blue and hues of red will not stay separated much like oil and water. Instead, for the most part, they may merge into a true purple.
California, since 1949, has been the first wave of new trends crashing into the shoreline to wear away at conventionality. Those in the Golden State — when compared to other states and countries on the yardstick of time — do not stay rigidly anchored to one viewpoint or way of doing things for a generational eternity.
Yes, every nook and cranny in America evolves over time. But none can match California overall for the relative swiftness of our evolution that draws from the widest possible ingredients in terms of ethnicities, cultures, values, and people in the American melting pot.
The next big thing California could very well be inching toward being at the forefront of is leading the country out of its futile Spy vs Spy mentality Mad Magazine so artfully captured.
That’s because from where a lot of Democrats and Republicans sit, that is exactly is what is going on now. There are many aspects where once you pull back the political posturing and some of the cultural issues there isn’t that much that is different from a party animal that parades around in blue or a party animal that parades around in red.
It is true that those on the far left and those on the far right are a different story. But they are also the ones that yell the loudest and play in the proverbial reindeer games while everyone else is working to raise their families and build stronger communities.
And the epicenter of the purple future is the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
Those fleeing here to partake in the Bay Area affordable housing solution are also embracing a lifestyle that those anchored in the Central Valley have enjoyed for decades.
The mountains of the Diablo Range that separate the two regions — the Bay Area and the Central Valley — are not insurmountable.
But they are enough of a divider that what grows on this side of the Altamont Pass will not be a carbon copy of what is on the west.
Josh Harder said as much in an interview a few years ago.
He saw the Northern San Joaquin Valley as the cutting edge of melting pots, a microcosm of California and thus a cultural/socio-economic bellwether for the United States.
The driving forces here are varied and many.
In one neighborhood in Manteca within blocks of each other there is a nuclear scientist that works at Livermore Lab, a truck driver for Amazon, an Oracle engineer, and a farmer.
Yes, a farmer. Not all farmers live on the land they farm.
And not all high-level tech workers live in San Jose or San Francisco.
America may seem to have divisions that are light years apart.
The reality, based on the “people’s house” — the House of Representatives — it is more like years given the 158 miles separating the hometowns of the woman (and apparently soon to be man) standing as the third in line to the presidency.
And that reality includes the fact that between the World of Pelosi and the Land of McCarthy there are places like Turlock, Ceres, Manteca, Ripon, Tracy and Mountain House where the twain, contrary to popular perception, are meeting.