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Vive la Trumpsistance!

Six ways the state should prepare to stare down—
gulp—the feds.


Editor’s note: Read more post-election reactions here.

Goal: Keep the economy booming
How to do it: Strike side deals on trade
California’s Democrats aren’t going to cower in the face of Trump. Instead they’re bound to fight back with the state’s greatest weapon: its $2.5 trillion economy, the sixth biggest in the world. Immediately after the election, state assembly speaker Anthony Rendon led a 12-day trade delegation to China, where he met with dignitaries to cement a special relationship through the state’s trade office to protect the more than $3 billion California received in Chinese investment in 2015. If Trump wages a trade war, California will do its best to undercut it. 

Goal: Protect Left Coast values
How to do it: Swing even further left
Expect to see more state laws or ballot initiatives aiming to supercede national Republican priorities. If, for instance, Trump tries to push through a plan to allow those with open-carry gun permits in one state to use them in others, California lawmakers will likely push back. They may also expand state protections that prevent offshore oil drilling or, if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, establish a statewide equivalent. And should Trump move against the state’s landmark carbon emissions and fuel standards laws, expect it to trigger a massive lawsuit.

Goal: Play offense—creatively
How to do it: Find the new gay marriage
Few realized how it would resonate when Gavin Newsom threw open City Hall’s doors to same-sex couples in 2004. The Bay Area ought to seize on another under-the-radar issue, says San Francisco State professor of political science Jason McDaniel. That spark could come from Black Lives Matter or the environmental justice movement. For example, Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf, who represented the city at a UN forum on climate change in Quito, Ecuador, this fall, is thinking about what more her city can do—along the lines of a recent City Council decision to block coal shipments through its port. 

Goal: Be a better bubble
How to do it: Embrace Trump’s victims
Politically speaking, we may live in a bubble, but we’re a necessary one. The Bay Area “is one of the few real bubbles of safety for people who experience marginalization,” says Rebecca Rolfe, the executive director of the San Francisco LGBT Center, who expects to see more homeless LGBTQ youth streaming here if hate crimes and Trump-inspired bullying surge. Civil rights attorney Zahra Billoo, who helped organize a town hall meeting at a Santa Clara mosque after the election, says that the simple act of being together was important, “so that people know they are not alone.”

Goal: Focus outrage outward
How to do it: End the Google bus wars 
Trump’s election didn’t erase the disagreements about displacement, gentrification, and local housing policy, but it sure did put them in perspective. “Everyone knows I have my issues with the mayor and other folks,” outgoing progressive supervisor David Campos says, “but the gravity of the situation requires that we come together.” Supervisor Mark Farrell echoes that point, saying that “in San Francisco, despite our infighting, there is so much more that unites us than divides us.” Collectively defending and expanding the city’s sanctuary immigration policies, environmental laws like the ban on plastic bags, healthcare programs like Healthy San Francisco, and police reform—especially now that the Department of Justice is more likely to turn away from the issue—could unite us, at least until the next election.

Goal: Practice togetherness
How to do it: One day at a time
Capping off a week of marches in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley, thousands of people holding hands ringed Lake Merritt the Sunday after the election in protest, but also to remind one another that they were unified in defiance. Expect protests to continue, especially on January 20—Inauguration Day.


Originally published in the December issue of San Francisco

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