The enmity that Donald Trump feels toward California is well known.
The enmity that a majority of Californians feels toward Donald Trump is well known.
He lost that state — badly — in the 2016 presidential election, and the man who knows how to hold a grudge is eager to remind the Golden State of that decision.
Political leaders within the state believe Trump has declared war on California. Considering that the recently passed tax cut has the real potential to hurt that state; the administration’s decision to curtail the state’s efforts at legalized marijuana seems especially harsh; and that the president continues to eye California as the place to crack down on illegal immigration, there is ample evidence that those leaders are not wrong.
Of course, the president’s supporters would be quick to say that it is California’s leaders and voters who started the war by wantonly pursuing policies in conflict with those of the President of the United States.
The Los Angeles Times, the premier newspaper in California, delivered a blistering attack on the president in 2017; its six-part series about the man’s shortcomings drew plenty of attention from Trump’s supporters and detractors.
Its editorial pages have remained critical of the president.
The New York Times also has been watching the dispute between the state and the president. It notes,
…the fight has metastasized into what could be the greatest contest over values between a White House and a state since the 1950s and 1960s, when the federal government moved to end segregation and expand civil rights. …
Mr. Trump is the first president since Dwight D. Eisenhower to not take a trip to California in his first calendar year in office, not even to visit his golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes, south of Los Angeles, or a mansion he owns in Beverly Hills, or to tour the vast damage left in the wake of a series of wildfires.
Now, full disclosure: I grew up in southern California, and though I’ve not called the state home in more than 20 years, I remain interested in what is happening there. I believe there is much in California that should be admired, and, yes, there is much to that state that is deeply troubling. The natural beauty of the state and the rich diversity of peoples and cultures are spectacular; the obscene housing costs and infrastructure concerns are not. While I still love California, I’ve told many people I cannot imagine myself calling it home again.
Now, returning to the more critical issue at hand: the fight between the state and the president.
At its base, this conflict comes down to one as hold as the nation itself: the rights of the states versus the rights of the federal government.
But in reality this is a fight about preferences.
The same people arguing that the federal government should stay out of the way of California’s efforts to help illegal immigrants are the same people who want Ohio to get in line with abortion rights.
The same people arguing that the federal government should steer clear of the marijuana discussion in California are the same people who want the Alabama to support gay marriage.
The same people arguing that oil drilling should never happen right off the coasts of California or Florida are the same people who want to ensure that the Confederate flag never flies in the south.
I could tell you where I stand on those six issues; in reality, my opinion or preference is no more right or wrong than yours. But it is important that you and I agree that one of America’s most important states and the President of the United States need to consider whether their deep divisions serve the nation as a whole.
Those differences embolden the bases, so to speak, but do they serve the country?