Democrats in Rancho Santa Fe?


When I tell people I am associated with the Rancho Santa Fe Democratic Club, reactions are predictable: “Rancho Santa Fe Democrats: Isn’t that an oxymoron?” Or: “Isn’t that a contradiction in terms, like guest host, jumbo shrimp, military intelligence, business ethics, pretty ugly, and the living dead?”

A critical biographer referred to John F. Kennedy as a master of “contrived casualness” and “planned spontaneity.”

Shakespeare gives Romeo a speech that includes, “O heavy lightness! Serious vanity!/Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!/Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!”

BTW: The word oxymoron is itself an oxymoron. It derives from the Greek oxus, meaning sharp or keen, and moros, meaning dull or stupid. The seldom-used plural of oxymoron is oxmora. This is useful information if you are ever a contestant on “Jeopardy” and the category is “Useless plurals.”

Although the political contributions of the two Rancho Santa Fe ZIP codes (92067 and 92091) go overwhelmingly to Republicans, the Rancho Santa Fe Democratic Club is thriving. This is all the more remarkable in light of the fact that several North County Democratic clubs have come and gone over the years.

The RSF club was established in 2007. It now has about 100 members and a mailing list of about 400, with 60-70 people attending most meetings.

The club was active in 2012 in the successful campaigns of Congressman Scott Peters, Supervisor Dave Roberts, SD Mayor Bob Filner and Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, state Senator Marty Block, and Assemblywoman Toni Atkins. Mayor Filner was the speaker at the May program. Senator Block will speak to the Club on Friday, June 21. Club meetings routinely attract elected officials, political candidates, and political junkies.

Past speakers include now-Congressman Scott Peters, state Controller John Chiang (Full disclosure: He signs my paychecks!), state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, and political scientist Carl Luna.

You need not live in Rancho Santa Fe or Fairbanks Ranch to be part of this club. It also has members from Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Carmel Valley, and surrounding areas.

The official motto of the RSF Democrats is, “Bringing North County Together.” Paraphrasing the US Navy, I like the slogan, “A Regional Force for Good.” But my favorite motto is “Rancho Santa Fe Democrats: Not an oxymoron any more.”

For information about the club and its programs, visit

Gordon Clanton teaches Sociology at San Diego State University. He welcomes comments at