President Donald Trump has shifted California politics even further to the left than it already was.
That’s the view of San Francisco Chronicle senior political writer Joe Garofoli, who noted on the one-year anniversary of Trump’s presidency that California’s politicians had embraced more radical policies, and California’s voters had become less tolerant of Republicans, as the state took the lead in the so-called “Resistance” against the new administration.
If Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election, few people would be talking up freshman Sen. Kamala Harris as a Democratic candidate for president in 2020. Senior Sen. Dianne Feinstein likely would be enjoying another cakewalk to re-election. Instead, a prominent fellow Democrat, state Sen. Kevin de León of Los Angeles, is challenging her, saying she hasn’t been tough enough on Trump.
Single-payer health care might not be as high on Sacramento’s agenda if the Affordable Care Act weren’t threatened by Trump and the Republican Congress. Without Trump pushing to build a border wall and flip-flopping on what to do about “Dreamers” — those immigrants brought into the country as children — California might not have felt the need to pass a statewide sanctuary law.
If America hadn’t elected a president who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and had 19 women accuse him of inappropriate sexual behavior, there would not have been a Women’s March nor the cultural support for the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements in Hollywood and Sacramento. And perhaps there wouldn’t be a record number of Democrats, including many women, running for Congress here.
It’s unlikely that veteran Republican congressmen like Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista (San Diego County) and Rep. Ed Royce of Fullerton (Orange County) would be retiring rather than face a wave of well-funded Democratic challengers. In fact, it’s unlikely that wave of challengers would even have emerged in heavily GOP districts.
Garofoli could have added that the Trump era has seen the revival of proposals to have California secede from the Union. The “#CalExit” phenomenon was enough of an issue last year that Democratic leaders had to criticize it.
There are several contrary developments, however, that Garofoli overlooks. One is the fact that Democrats have actually lost their supermajority in the California State Assembly in the year since Trump took office, thanks to the resignations of Democrats accused of sexual misconduct. Democrats may also lose their supermajority in the State Senate thanks to a recall election that is targeting freshman State Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) over his vote for Governor Jerry Brown’s new gas tax, which imposes new burdens on the already-suffering California middle class.
The gas tax is also facing repeal through ballot initiatives, especially one being pushed by Republican State Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach). And despite the surge of Democratic congressional challengers, Republicans could survive if Democrats split the “jungle primary” vote and allow all-GOP general elections.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.