Fresno, Bakersfield, Ontario and San Bernardino are rapidly becoming the Bantustans — the impoverished areas designed for Africans under the racist South African regime — in California’s geographic apartheid. Poverty rates in the Central Valley and Inland Empire reach over a third of the population, well above the share in the Bay Area.Kotkin's comment that the region has little political influence is correct. Interior CA often elects Republicans to the state legislature. They might as well not go to Sacramento, they have so little influence.
By some estimates, rural California counties suffer the highest unemployment rate in the country; six of the 10 metropolitan areas in the country with the highest percentage of jobless are located in the central and eastern parts of the state. The interior counties — from San Bernardino to Merced — also suffer the worst health conditions in the state.
Full disclosure: I am a WY resident who lived in interior CA for over 40 years, north of the region he describes. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.