If there’s ever been a presidential campaign to show there are two Americas, this was the one. Welcome to a country of red states, blue states and the handful of swing states that made Donald Trump the next president.
In the bitterness of this election, Americans seemed determined to disagree about almost everything.
What wasn’t in doubt was what a majority of Californians believed about Trump. The Republican candidate lost the nation’s most populous state by more than 3.8 million votes. He received barely one in five votes in Sonoma County, fewer than one in six votes in Marin County, fewer than one in 10 votes in San Francisco.
This is what happens when a candidate and a majority of Californians disagree about all kinds of issues, including climate change, environmental protection, health care, trade, immigration, marijuana and abortion.
Kevin de León, the president pro tem of the state Senate, and Anthony Rendon, the speaker of the state Assembly, spoke for many Californians when they posted a statement on the day after the election: “Today, we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land, because yesterday Americans expressed their views on a pluralistic and democratic society that are clearly inconsistent with the values of the people of California. We have never been more proud to be Californians.”
One unhappy group even proposed that California secede from the union. To which we can all reply, good luck with that.
This isn’t complicated. Trump and the people who voted for him have a different view of the world than the majority of voters in California.
So it goes. But like people in the red states, people in California now have the right to stand up for what they believe.
Did we mention that California boasts the sixth largest economy on earth — bigger than France, Brazil, India, Italy or Russia?
As many have noted, California sends more tax money to Washington than it receives benefits in return, while some of the self-proclaimed conservative states pay less in taxes than they get back from the federal government.
You’re welcome, Mississippi. You’re welcome, Montana. We hope the new Republican administration doesn’t eliminate those federal subsidies you like so much.
California also is home to the smartest and most creative companies in the world, and they choose to be here because, well, it’s California.
In technology and agriculture, too, California is an economic powerhouse. It’s also home to towering redwood groves and sunset beaches, spectacular mountains and broad valleys, world-class universities and world-class wines, Lake Tahoe, the Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite. Name your favorite place.
An op-ed writer in the New York Times noted last week that California has 38.8 million residents, Wyoming has 580,000 residents, and each state is represented by two United States senators. We know that’s not going to change, but let’s not pretend this arrangement (or the Electoral College) gives equal value to every citizen’s vote.
In the days to come, these will be among the issues to be contested:
— Will Trump and his fellow climate change deniers keep their promise to free the coal and oil industries from environmental restraints? And how would that affect California’s ability to defend more stringent state laws?