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Thursday, March 30, 2017

As California goes ...

by digby

This is a great long-read by Harold Meyerson in the American Prospect about America's biggest state California getting ready to take on the Trump agenda at every turn. And why we might actually be able to do it.
CALIFORNIA IS THE TRUMP administration’s most formidable adversary, not only on matters of immigration, but on damn near everything. No other entity—not the Democratic Party, not the tech industry, surely not the civil liberties lobby—has the will, the resources, and the power California brings to the fight. Others have the will, certainly, but not California’s clout.

There’s no mystery to the clout. California is immense, a state of 40 million, home to an economy that is the world’s sixth-largest. But the will? Has the home state of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan truly become so overwhelmingly progressive?

It clearly has. What was remarkable about California’s performance in last November’s election wasn’t merely that it went for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a margin of four million votes; that’s partly just a testament to the state’s size. What was remarkable was that the share of its voters who cast ballots for Clinton—61.5 percent—was greater than any other state’s.

And this is hardly the only metric that spotlights California as the nation’s most progressive state. California is one of just six states that have a Democratic governor and Democrats in control of both houses of the legislature (California Democrats actually hold two-thirds of the seats in each house). No Republican has been elected to a statewide office (there are ten of them, counting the two U.S. senators) since 2006. In 2012 and again in 2016, state voters have approved ballot measures that made the nation’s most progressive state income tax even more progressive.

Since Jerry Brown became governor in 2011, he and the legislature enacted laws that expanded Medicaid so comprehensively (including a provision that extended it to undocumented minors) that the percentage of uninsured Californians dropped from 19 percent to 7 percent; raised the minimum wage to $15; created the nation’s first automatic retirement plan for workers (who numbered an estimated 6.8 million) whose employers didn’t provide one; registered as a voter every California citizen who showed up to get a driver’s license; set the highest fuel-efficiency standards in the nation; and appropriated $30 million annually for legal assistance for immigrants before Donald Trump was even nominated. Currently before the legislature, with a good chance of enactment, is a bill that would have the state cover all the costs—tuition, room, board, books—incurred by students at the University of California and the California State University system, and another bill, less of a sure thing, that would establish single-payer health care in the state.

The state’s leftward movement continues apace.

The state’s leftward movement continues apace. Hillary Clinton carried 46 of the state’s 53 congressional districts, including seven represented by newly nervous Republicans. She carried Orange County—ancestral home of the Goldwater Revolution—thereby becoming the first Democrat to do so since Franklin Roosevelt in his landslide victory of 1936. All four Republicans with Orange County districts will face strong challenges in 2018.

Californians know the state’s demographics explain a lot of this change, but only a relative few can tell you what the forces were, and are, that translated the rising number of Latinos and Asians into progressive political power. Both California and Texas, for instance, are 39 percent Latino, but in California, the nation’s most strategically savvy labor movement politically socialized and mobilized the Latino community as Tammany once did the Irish, while Texas, all but devoid of a labor movement, has seen no such development. California’s fast-growing Asian communities, which constitute nearly 15 percent of the state’s population, have moved left in recent decades, with more than 70 percent of their vote going to Democrats in recent elections. Add the Latinos and Asians to the state’s African American population and the large number of white liberals in the state’s metropolitan centers, and California’s newfound status as the nation’s leftmost state should come as no mystery. Indeed, among the world’s six largest economies—the United States, China, Germany, Britain, France, and the Golden State—California’s citizenry and elected leaders are clearly the most progressive.

And they have the wherewithal, along with the will, to fight the Trump administration on climate change, social insurance, immigrant rights, and much else...
The conclusion:

Middle-class white liberals, a mobilized Latino community, left-moving Asian Americans, a powerful environmental community, a uniquely vibrant union movement, a tech sector willing to fund at least some anti-Trump campaigns, women coming forth as candidates, properly enraged millennials, and some deft political leaders—these are the pillars of the California resistance. Together, they form Trump’s most potent opponent.

I know Californians aren't Real Americans and all, but there is a boatload full of us. And we're resisting.

Read the whole thing. California is a microcosm of the new America. It even includes a lot of white rural folks and conservative military types who vote Republican. But the majority is this demographic, class and racial mix that will be the future while Trump's throwback politics are the past.