Devin Nunes Isn’t a Joke Back Home

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A figure of fun to many in Washington, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has a strong base of support back home in California’s Central Valley. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

He’s become a figure of great fun in Washington, even among his fellow Republicans (e.g., Senator Lindsey Graham, who mocked his “Inspector Clouseau investigation” of the Trump-Russia connection). HBO comedian John Oliver said he had managed somehow to make “Stupid Watergate” (Oliver’s term for the Trump Team’s alleged dealings with Russia) “even stupider.” Lord only knows how many jokes have been made about his House Intelligence Committee proving itself to be anything but. And he’s from California, that fierce zone of resistance to All Things Trump! So shouldn’t Representative Devin Nunes be in trouble back home?

Afraid not, Democrats. If anything, Nunes’s Central Valley district, where many people feel looked-down upon by the rich tree-hugging hippies of the coast, is offering him respite from the scorn. When several hundred protesters showed up outside a speaking venue last time Nunes was home, and then gathered outside the gated community where he lives, with signs and bullhorns, his neighbors were fiercely protective. I’m sure they thought the protesters were, well, rich tree-hugging hippies from the coast.

In any event, Nunes’s 22nd Congressional District is not one Democrats are seriously considering a target in 2018. Republicans have a 43-33 registration advantage in the 22nd. In eight general elections, Nunes has never won less than 60 percent of the vote. And despite Donald Trump’s unsavory reputation in much of California, he won the 22nd by a near-landslide 9.5 percent (Romney won the district by 15 points in 2012.)

The only shadow on the horizon for Nunes is that the 22nd is plurality Latino. But Nunes, unlike most of his fellow Portuguese-Americans (a very significant community in the Central Valley), doesn’t mind being called Latino or Hispanic himself, though he thinks the terms are “too broad.”

All in all, if Nunes continues to be treated as a joke in Washington, it’s a joke his constituents mostly don’t find all that funny.

Devin Nunes Isn’t a Joke Back Home