Despite being in a congressional district that rejected Trump in 2016, embattled Congresswoman Mimi Walters’ (R-Irvine) voting record is increasingly in line with the far-right wing of the Republican Party, according to a new rating from the American Conservative Union (ACU). The ACU gave Walters an 89 percent rating for 2017, markedly more extreme than her first two years in Congress, when Walters hovered in the mid-70s.
The ACU is probably best known for hosting the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, every year in Maryland, close to Washington, D.C. This past year, CPAC was immersed in controversy when the head of the ACU made outright racist comments about former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele. One of the CPAC speakers, Seb Gorka, has Nazi sympathies. And even though he lost his bid for the U.S. Senate, when alleged pedophile Roy Moore was criticized by a panelist, the crowd booed loudly.
Since going to Congress, Walters has quickly aligned herself with this group’s philosophy, judging by her voting record. In 2017, Walters voted just like the ACU wanted on major issues such as repealing the Affordable Care Act, loosening gun control, and the unpopular GOP tax bill.
Those votes, while they may please high-priced lobbyists in Washington, D.C., were not popular in California. Thanks to the efforts of Walters and other Republicans, health care premiums are going to be even higher than they would have been in 2019, increasing by 11 percent. And more than four million people around the country have lost health insurance in the past few years.
The tax bill is set to raise taxes on Orange County homeowners, as well as about a million Californians. The bill provides massive benefits to wealthy corporations and the richest one percent, but does little to help average workers. In fact, many polls show most workers haven’t even noticed a difference in their paychecks.
As Walters is voting more in lockstep with the Trump wing of the party, Orange County is becoming a much more moderate district. The year 2016 was the first time in 80 years that Orange County supported the Democratic candidate for president, voting for Hillary Clinton over Trump. Voter registration data show Republicans losing their edge in the district. And polling shows voters unhappy with Trump and likely to oust one of Trump’s most loyal members of Congress, Walters.
Yet as all indicators show a moderating district, Walters’ votes are increasingly extreme. She is even avoiding in-person town halls in the district, preferring to rub elbows with Speaker Paul Ryan and Republican consultants halfway around the country.
Based on her voting record, the longer she is in Washington, D.C., the more out of touch with her district she’s becoming.