The 2017 California state legislative session began with the metaphorical roar of “resistance” to President Donald Trump’s policies, but is ending with a weak whimper.
According to a piece published on the CalMatters blog, the “resistance” movement launched with so much fanfare that “[a] hashtag went viral: #stateofresistance.”
CalMatters’ Laurel Rosenhall reports (original emphasis):
Yet with their opportunity to pass bills for the year coming to a close on Friday, California Democrats have a mixed record when it comes to turning their anti-Trump talk into action. A high-profile sanctuary bill meant to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation was significantly scaled back this week. A proposal to make it harder for the feds to build a wall on the California-Mexico border has stalled. An attempt to provide state-run health care for all Californians—intensely demanded by progressive activists—was put on hold. And approval of a bill meant to preserve tough environmental standards in California even if the federal government weakens protections nationwide looks iffy as it awaits action in the Assembly.
“It’s mostly bark and not so much bite,” said Democratic political consultant Steve Maviglio. “There is really only so much (lawmakers) can do.”
And so or all the time and energy California Democrats spent on crafting legislation and calling press conferences to stymie Trump’s agenda and denounce him as a “racist,” they have little or nothing to show for it.
Part of the issue is that the power of the legislature is limited to actions within the State of California, and part of it is that the President carries a big stick with the threat of cutting off federal funds.
On the “sanctuary city” issue, Trump sent Attorney General Jeff Sessions to threaten California into compliance. That worked to slow down the so-called “resistance,” as cities, counties and other entities worried about losing federal matching funds.
For example, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) board talked a big game, then backed off declaring the highly-subsidized transit service a “sanctuary” when the board considered the risk of losing its federal funding.
The much lauded “Sanctuary State” bill (SB 54), introduced by Senate President pro Tem Kevin “half my family is here illegally” de León, ostensibly as a way to protect all illegal aliens from deportation, turned out to be little more than symbolic flipping of the bird to President Trump as the bill was largely gutted at the request of Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown, who refused to sign a bill that so obviously protected criminal aliens at the expense of public safety.
When it came to doing anything substantive to resist Trump’s move to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords, once again the response by California’s Democrat leaders was more symbol than substance. Other than extending and expanding California’s existing “Cap and Trade” program, California sent Jerry Gov. Brown to China and Russia to try to convince those countries to hamper their own economies with the same green agenda that has retarded California’s growth.
Perhaps the nail in the coffin was the attempt by California’s most progressive Democrats to pass a “single payer” healthcare system to replace ObamaCare, and include coverage for illegal aliens. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) — who admitted earlier this year that he was “tired of trashing Trump”‘ — killed the bill, and may pay for it by losing his seat.
What is ironic is that all of this infighting has deepened the divide within the party that dominates the once-Golden State, and the Democrat civil war launched in 2016 shows no sign of ending anytime soon.
For all its bombast at the start, California’s cry of “resistance” has been nothing more than “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”