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U.S. Congress

Orange County, California's diversity emboldens Democrats

Pushy midday shoppers nose their carts through the Korean market, stocking up on bottled kimchi and seaweed spring rolls. A few doors away, customers grab pho to go at a Vietnamese takeout counter. Across the street, lunchtime diners line up for tacos "al pastor" — spit-roasted pork — at a Mexican-style taqueria.

It's a snapshot of how much Orange County, California, has changed.

For decades, the county southeast of Los Angeles represented an archetype of middle-class America, a place whose name evoked a "Brady Bunch" conformity set amid freeways, megachurches and Disneyland's spires. The mostly white, conservative homeowners voted with time-clock...

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