The Washington Times is reported that President Donald Trump was headed for what is for him enemy territory, which is to say California. The former Golden State may be at a tipping point thanks to too much liberal dysfunction.
“President Trump traveled Tuesday to the belly of the Democratic beast — California, the prime target of his clashes on sanctuaries for illegal immigrants, a powerful foe of his auto-mileage proposal, a flashpoint in his battle over federal funding for abortion and the home of what he calls House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s disgusting slum district in San Francisco.”
One number that is indicative of the extent that California is hostile to the president is the fact that his approval rating is only 33 percent in that state according to a recent Morning Consult Poll. California is ruled from top to bottom by liberal Democrats, from Gov. Gavin Newsome to the city governments of Los Angeles and San Francisco, which have turned those communities into sanctuary cities where law enforcement does not cooperate in the enforcement of immigration laws.
Trump’s support of immigration laws has made him an enemy to the political class in California, and perhaps a friend to the long-suffering conservatives who still reside in that state. He has not only targeted California’s status as a sanctuary city but also plans to give illegal aliens free healthcare. The border wall is another flashpoint between the Trump administration and the governing class of California.
California’s attempt to force hospitals and doctors to provide abortions no matter what their private beliefs on the life issue constitutes another area of disagreement between Trump and California. Trump wants medical professionals to be able to opt-out. California insists that a woman’s right to choose is absolute.
The problem of homelessness has exploded in California cities. Once beautiful downtowns in Loa Angeles and San Francisco have become blighted by homeless camps with streets littered with body waste and used heroin needles. In this area, Trump is offering assistance as well as criticism. He got a rare thanks from California’s last Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, with whom Trump has had a personal feud.
Trump’s purpose in visiting California is to receive an update on the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, meet with farmers in the Central Valley over the long-simmering fight for water rights, and to attend two fundraisers. While California has not been a ready source of votes for Republican presidents since George H. W. Bush won the state in 1988, it is still a treasure trove of campaign cash.
Could Trump win California back from the Democrats in 2020? He lost the state by an almost two to one margin to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Local Republicans suggest that he may have a chance, polling and the domination of the state by Democrats to the contrary.
One indication that Californians may have had enough is part of a report by City Journal about the revolt over a state law called AB5. AB5 has had the effect of wiping out hundreds of thousands of jobs in the so-called gig economy, from rideshare drivers, to writers, to musicians.
“Since AB5 took effect on January 1, hundreds of thousands of Californians are finding their businesses in tatters. Musicians can’t join bands for a one-night gig, chefs can’t join forces with caterers, nurses can’t work at various hospitals, and writers must cap their submissions per media outlet to 35 per year. Under the law, these freelancers can no longer conduct the same business-to-business transactions they have for years or even decades. Clients with whom they fostered valuable relationships are gone—as are their successful careers and incomes. “
Many of the people affected by AB5 were liberal Democrats who always voted a straight party ticket. But the law is becoming illustrative of the old definition of a conservative as a liberal who has gotten mugged, in this case by their state government. The phenomenon may affect the 2020 elections in ways that few people now imagine. Even if Trump does not win California, he may cut down the margin of his defeat by a considerable amount, according to pundits. The dominance of Democrats of the formerly Golden State may be shaken.
Trump and the Republicans may have been handed a wedge issue to make California, if not great again, at least competitive again.