Trump’s War on California

Politico Magazine
By Michael Grunwald
February 21, 2019

It’s undoubt­ed­ly a blue-state bas­tion. But far from being a social­ist hell­hole, the Gold­en State is thriv­ing after years of malaise.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump loves bash­ing California—its “ridicu­lous” sanc­tu­ary cities, its “gross mis­man­age­ment” of its forests, even the “dis­gust­ing” streets of San Fran­cis­co. He also enjoys slag­ging Cal­i­for­nia lib­er­als, like House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee Chair “Lid­dle” Adam Schiff, House Finan­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair “Low IQ” Max­ine Waters, and House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi, who “has behaved so irra­tional­ly & gone so far to the left that she has now offi­cial­ly become a Rad­i­cal Demo­c­rat.” On Wednes­day, after Demo­c­ra­t­ic Gov­er­nor Gavin New­som decid­ed to scale back the state’s trou­bled high-speed rail project, the pres­i­dent glee­ful­ly mocked it as a green fias­co: “Send the Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment back the Bil­lions of Dol­lars WASTED!”

Now that pro­gres­sive Democ­rats are push­ing for a Cal­i­for­nia-style Green New Deal to fight cli­mate change, and pro­gres­sive Cal­i­for­nia Sen­a­tor Kamala Har­ris has become a front-run­ner for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­na­tion to chal­lenge Trump, the president’s allies have begun fram­ing 2020 as a last stand against the hip­pie-lefty Cal­i­for­ni­ca­tion of Amer­i­ca. Turn­ing Point USA founder Char­lie Kirk has warned that “Democ­rats want Cal­i­for­nia to be the blue­print for Amer­i­ca,” while Dan Patrick, the Repub­li­can lieu­tenant gov­er­nor of Texas, has sug­gest­ed that Trump’s reelec­tion slo­gan should be: “I’m not going to let the Democ­rats turn Amer­i­ca into California.”


But while the prob­lem of unaf­ford­able hous­ing is a real drag on growth, and a real threat to the social and eco­nom­ic mobil­i­ty that dri­ves the Cal­i­for­nia dream, it’s the kind of prob­lem that only desir­able places have. There’s plen­ty of afford­able hous­ing in Siberia. “We attract peo­ple that places like Mis­sis­sip­pi can’t,” Lieu boasts. Nan­cy Pfund, a Bay Area ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist and “impact investor” who took ear­ly stakes in Tes­la and Pan­do­ra, says Cal­i­for­nia is still a mag­net for tal­ent, because it’s still a breed­ing ground for dis­rup­tion. She’s now invest­ing in local com­pa­nies like Zola Elec­tric, which is tak­ing Sil­i­con Val­ley solar tech­nol­o­gy to Africa; Apeel Sci­ences, which has cre­at­ed nat­ur­al plant-based coat­ings that keep pro­duce fresh for longer, attack­ing the food waste prob­lem in a dif­fer­ent way; and even the Real Real, the lux­u­ry con­sign­ment plat­form that helps con­sumers recy­cle their brand-name fash­ion and reduce the demand for man­u­fac­tur­ing more of it.

In Cal­i­for­nia, we’ve got the com­bi­na­tion of cap­i­tal, inno­va­tion, and reg­u­la­tions that reward invest­ments in progress,” Pfund says. “And that’s cre­at­ed an ecosys­tem of entre­pre­neurs who want to spread the progress around the world.”

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