California Today: California Today: Democrats See a Launching Pad in Trump

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Kevin de León, left, the leader of the state Senate, has been a relentless critic of the Trump administration. Credit Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Good morning.

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Today’s introduction comes from Adam Nagourney, our Los Angeles bureau chief.

Democratic leaders in California are in near-constant combat with President Trump these days, pushing back on his policies on immigration, health care and the environment. They are girding for massive cuts in financial assistance, dirtier air and the potential of drilling along the Pacific Coast.

Yet by one rudimentary measurement — climbing up the political ladder — Mr. Trump may not entirely a bad thing for Democrats here. At a time when this state’s political leadership is in the midst of a generational transition, top Democrats — while clearly in fundamental disagreement with much of what the new president is doing — see in him as a way to draw attention and position themselves in crowded fields to run for governor, lieutenant governor and, potentially, United States senator.

Hence, the frequent assaults on Mr. Trump from a chorus of Democrats running for higher office, or thinking about it: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom; the attorney general, Xavier Becerra; the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti; and his predecessor, Antonio R. Villaraigosa, to name a few.

Basking in the Trump spotlight this week is Kevin de León, the leader of the state Senate. Mr. de León took the lead in announcing ambitious legislation that would accelerate California’s drive to reduce carbon emissions, requiring the state to get 100 percent of its retail electricity from renewable resources by 2045.

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“He is clearly eying a next step,” said Raphael Sonenshein, the executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs.

Mr. de León, in an interview, was quick to point out that he has, since Election Day, been one of the leading critics of the new president. “I’ve always been strong on these issues regarding Trump,” he said. “It’s not as if I took advantage and became opportunistic and jumped in front of the parade in a New York minute to lead the resistance. Look at my record.”

That said, because of term limits, Mr. de León has to step down next year. Asked what the next step in his own political career is, he responded obliquely.

“I’ll let you know when I know,” he said.

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Representative Darrell Issa, seated middle, a Republican from Vista, attended a celebration at the White House after the passage of the Republican health care bill. Mr. Issa had publicly said this week that he was undecided on the measure. Credit Carlos Barria/Reuters..

• The House voted to repeal and replace Obamacare, with yes votes from every California Republican. [Los Angeles Times]

• Donald Trump, as president, hasn’t been west of the Mississippi. Now he’s punishing the region. [Opinion | The New York Times]

• “I don’t support sanctuary cities,” said Gov. Jerry Brown in 2010. Has he changed his mind? [CALmatters]

• Legislation was passed that would move California’s presidential primary elections earlier, enlarging the state’s influence. [The Associated Press]


Students at the University of California, San Diego, where an organization of Chinese students is protesting the invitation of the Dalai Lama as a commencement speaker. Credit Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times

• At the University of California, San Diego, an invitation to the Dalai Lama has revealed the hidden power of China on American campuses. [The New York Times]

• A lawsuit filed in the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack accused Google, Facebook and Twitter of enabling the Islamic State. [The Sun]

• A Garden Grove woman was fatally stabbed. As she was dying she named her killer, police said — her 13-year-old son. [Orange County Register]


The ride-hailing service Uber is under investigation over a software tool it used to evade law enforcement trying to crack down on its service. Credit Eric Risberg/Associated Press

Uber is being investigated by the Justice Department over a program it used to deceive regulators. [The New York Times]

• Another airline uproar broke out. This time Delta Air Lines apologized after kicking an Orange County family off a plane. [Los Angeles Times]

Hundreds of sharks have been washing up dead on San Francisco Bay shores. Foul water is suspected. [San Francisco Chronicle]

• As the vast Sierra snowpack melts, flooding is a big worry in the Central Valley. [Los Angeles Times]


Credit Illustration by Giacomo Gambineri

• The visual effects industry is being lured away from California. Here’s why. [The New York Times]

• Los Angeles-born Eve Babitz’s prose reads like Nora Ephron’s by way of Joan Didion — with more lust, drugs and tequila, writes the book critic Dwight Garner. [The New York Times]

And Finally …

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