Hope you enjoyed the party, because you may not be invited back in November.
The upshot of the most hotly contested California primary since bell-bottoms were in -- the first time -- was a hardening of the state's Democratic tilt and a proportionate drop in Republican support here.
Add in the ability of independent voters to cast ballots in the Democratic primary Tuesday -- allowed by party leaders who believe those voters will stay loyal in November. With all that, it is at best questionable whether California will be a contested state in the general election.
Democrats, easy winners of the last four presidential elections here, laugh off the suggestion that the state will be seriously contested come fall.
"If the Democratic nominee has to spend a dime in California, we're going to lose the election," said Ben Austin, a Democratic strategist backing Barack Obama.
Even Republicans say that for California to be, in November, the focus it has been in February would require a confluence of events: John McCain as the nominee, character as the defining issue and a decision that the cost of running a campaign here is worth the exceptional expense it would take.
"To an objective observer, the trend is not the GOP's friend in California," said Don Sipple, a Republican veteran of national and statewide campaigns.
A look at registration figures bears him out: Democrats gained four voters in the last two months to every one gained by Republicans. That left Democrats at just under 43% of the registered voters. Republicans note that is a historic low. The trouble is that Republicans are lower: just over 33% of registered voters. (The fastest-growing segment, independents, constituted 19.37%.)
A survey of 12 key counties, moreover, showed the difficulties facing Republicans. In all but one, Democratic registration inched up between September and the close of registration Jan. 22. The exception was bellwether San Benito County, where Democratic registration fell by a tenth of a percent.
In all of the counties, the percentage of voters who are registered Republicans dropped. That included counties like Riverside, where the GOP has hoped that growth in the spreading subdivisions would be their bulwark against the preponderance of Democrats in the cities. There, Republican registration dropped by almost a point. Other declines came in Kern, Fresno, Orange, San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego and San Benito counties.
Overall, as the presidential campaign heated up through the fall and winter, Democrats gained almost 150,000 voters statewide, while Republicans lost a little more than 25,000.
State Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring said that while the registration numbers have gone Democratic, that is only one factor in determining the future.
"The world is not run by those who are registered, but by those who show up," Nehring said. "When you dig down, where Democrats have a registration advantage, Republicans have a turnout advantage."
Presidential elections always begin with campaigns pledging to run hard in every state. But, money being what it is, the targets of opportunity are gradually narrowed under a formula that weighs the electoral votes that are in play versus how much it would cost to win them.
In recent years, California has lost out either on the first question or the second: Can the Republican nominee win here? Isn't it cheaper to get those electoral votes somewhere else?
The result: In each of the last four presidential campaigns, Democrats won by double-digit margins.
Central to the question of whether they do it again will be independent voters. Since September, their ranks have gained almost 63,000 voters.
They are not averse to Republican candidates, having supported Arnold Schwarzenegger in his two elections. Those voters are seen as more entranced with hard-to-measure attributes like character and leadership than are party regulars, who tend to put weight on obedience to orthodoxy.
Independents' presence gives Republicans hope, but there is a consensus that they will vote Republican only if McCain is the nominee. McCain, the former prisoner of war in Vietnam who has made his name as a burr under the saddle of official Washington, is far more in their mold than other recent candidates.
"He does not carry the baggage that Republican candidates carried before," said Tony Quinn, a GOP demographer. "He's an environmentalist; he's not dripping with Southern morality like George Bush was."
McCain spent time last week campaigning at a solar energy firm with Schwarzenegger; he alone of the GOP candidates has talked at length about global warming. His residence in Arizona gives McCain an ease with Western issues, Republicans believe.
As for Mitt Romney, he ran as a moderate Republican when seeking the governorship of Massachusetts, but in this campaign has hewn to strict conservative positions.