Has the worm really turned on federalism? Can blue states successfully resist the ultra-conservative agenda emanating for Republican-controlled Washington? A lot depends on California. In the words of one observer (see link below):
“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.”
Yes, the GOP and Trump have been slow and incompetent at enacting their program. But it is still coming, and some of it will hit California hard (and is aimed specifically at us), including on climate and energy policy, immigration, health care, and even housing and transportation. A lot has already happened. Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and others have been talking tough – and passing laws and filing lawsuits – on almost every conceivable front. This week’s links give some of the details.
How successful CA’s “resistance” to Trump/GOP will be in the long run will depend on all of the usual factors in federalism disputes: Law, legal strategies, and judges; public opinion; congressional priorities; media coverage and sympathies, and so forth. It also will depend on wild card factors of a kind that has become an exhausting staple of the Trump era: Things like the President’s volatile personality, congressional GOP foibles and schisms, and God knows what else.
On Monday, I will go over a few of the main policy battleground areas and talk a little bit about the shape of the legal and political terrain ahead. I’m not up to date on all the details in the news, but maybe some of you who focus more on state politics are.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS –
- What are the main Trump/GOP policies that will be aimed at CA and its interests? Which ones require new law v. merely regulatory changes?
- Which ones are top priorities for the GOP and/or Trump? What’s coming next?
- Pols: What has California done so far to oppose specific GOP/Trump actions? Other states? How is GOP trying to crush it?
- Points: Who’s winning so far? Who decides and (how) will the fight end?
- People: Do Californians support all of these actions? The broader U.S. public? Does public opinion really matter?
- Principles: Is federalism just a tool for hypocrites? What actual and enduring principles are at stake here and is anybody being consistent?
SUGGESTED BACKGROUND READING –
- Not all Californians:
- GOP is going to crush blue state federalism just because they have the power. Recommended.
- CA Democrats suddenly love federalism.
- Climate/energy: CA is…
- More: Internet privacy, national monuments, and the all-important 2020 census. The list is endless.
NEXT WEEK: Is there a “New American Nationalism?”