Much has changed in the state of California since Ronald Reagan left office as governor of the state in 1975.
In 1966, Democrat Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, who had served the Republican leaning state for two terms, was soundly defeated by Reagan by a million vote margin that surprised even the former actor’s most ardent supporters. The election of ‘66 left Brown only winning three counties (Alameda, Plumas, and San Francisco). Even Alameda and Plumas nearly went for Reagan.
Now Edmund Brown’s son, Jerry, has finished going on four full terms as governor (with a pause between the first two) and the state is no longer the state of Reagan but of UC Berkeley graduate, Jerry Brown.
California, the land of opportunity, has become a battleground for the clash of ideals between President Trump and his redstate America, and a state dominated by opportunistic progressives concentrated in two urban metropolises–the San Francisco, Silicon Valley area, and L.A.-Hollywood, what is lovingly called SoCal.
While trouble has been brewing for a while, the war between Trump and state leaders blazed to life after he won the presidency. The following morning State Senate leader, Kevin de León, and State Assembly leader, Anthony Rendon, said they “woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land.”
Since that the fight has morphed into what may well be the greatest contest over values between a state and the White House since the 1960s, when the federal government mobilized the National Guard to quell civil rights protests in the deep south.
Savvy Democrats have framed the current problems as a war that Trump declared on California. In fact, every edict made by Trump is in response to state officials who have done everything than can to circumvent the actions of the federal government.
IN fact, its California that’s declared a war on President Trump. State Senate leader de León has led the charge, along with the entire leadership of California, to thwart Trump’s policies. Mr. de León’s first act of defiance was to introduce the California Values Act that restricts state authorities from cooperating with federal immigration agents. Under the law, Federal agents are limited in their access to courthouses, churches, schools and hospitals or courthouses to detain undocumented immigrants.
Just this past week, de León introduced legislation in direct response to the tax bill passed by Congress and signed by the President. The bill would allow residents to pay state taxes in the form of a charitable contribution allowing those monies to be deducted when filing federal income tax. That act sets the stage for a sure showdown before the Supreme Court.
Such state legislation will not be ignored by Trump nor federal authorities. Thomas Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in an interview on Fox news last week that the state had better “hold on tight” because “they are about to see a lot more special agents, a lot more deportation officers.” He added, “If the politicians in California don’t want to protect their communities, then ICE will.”
Mr. Homan chastised California politicians who support sanctuary policies, suggesting they should be arrested. The mayor of Sacramento, California’s capital, responded angrily on Wednesday, when the tweeted “they certainly know where to find me.”
Flash points in this conflict include:
On the same day that the California state Senate passed the California Values Act (the so-called “sanctuary state” bill) the same lawmakers authorized the state to spend $12 million defending immigrants in deportation proceedings.
These moves come in response to Trump’s expansion of the types of immigrants targeted for deportation and his instructions to agencies to more aggressively enforce immigration laws.
Following their elected officials lead, a number of cities are actively undermining the border wall in every way possible.
San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland passed measures that would deny city contracts to firms that take part in building a proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen, the bill’s author said, “It goes beyond symbolic protest of the wall at the border and basically makes a statement through San Francisco’s action in the marketplace that the city will not be complicit with the building of this wall in any way.”
Only days after recreational marijuana became legal in California, Trump unleashed his administration in undoing Barack Obama’s edict for federal prosecutors to stay out of the states’ marijuana law enforcement.
Even though federal law classifies marijuana as a dangerous drug, eight states including Washington, Colorado, and California have legalized its recreational use within state boundaries.
The complication of opposing state and federal laws about marijuana have been mostly ignored until now. But this last Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Session made it plain that federal law will be enforced in California and other states.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-San Francisco, tweeted that Sessions should “leave California alone.”
Obama ordered increased restrictions on offshore drilling in the Atlantic, Arctic, Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific. Trump has ordered a roll back on those plans opening 90 percent of the nation’s offshore reserves for development.
There have been no new oil field leases off the coast of California since 1984 but now seven are in the works. Though a mandated public comment period is required, Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Secretary of State Alex Padilla have reacted angrily.
Climate Change Conflict
Governor Jerry Brown warned that if Trump cut funding for climate change research, “California will launch its own damn satellite.” When the President followed through on his campaign promises and release his proposed budget, Brown called for a conference with other states and countries on how to make up the difference. He promised what he called a “countermovement.”
Where will this insurrection end? Organizers of Cal, a move to secede from the country hope for a vote in the next two years. For now the majority of voters in the state do not support such a move but things move quickly in this State of unrest.