Fighting Back

You can file this under “thank goodness the news isn’t all bad”–or, if you are like the worry-wort who writes this blog, you can file it under “this is why the courts are so frigging important and we will lose the rule of law if Trump and McConnell and the GOP keep packing them with partisan ideologues.”

Timothy Egan recently had a column in the New York Times, titled “Revenge of the Coastal Elites.” In it, he celebrated the near-perfect “score” West Coast states have amassed in the numerous lawsuits they’ve brought against Trump and company.

Egan began with an “in your face” celebration in California.

LOS ANGELES — A big crowd showed up for the festive unveiling of President Barack Obama Boulevard here last weekend, at the intersection of “hope and resistance,” as one news outlet put it. Sure, it’s just a three-and-a-half-mile stretch of road, a living ex-president’s name added to streets honoring Jefferson and Washington.

But the ceremony also marked the latest, and one of the most joyous, of the not-so-subtle ways in which the West Coast continues to live free and prosper under a president doing everything he can to hurt the 51 million Americans in the three lower-48 states that hug the Pacific shore.

As Egan noted, Trump absolutely hates the West Coast, and it certainly looks as if the  states of Oregon, Washington and California return the sentiment.

His energy and environmental policies would hasten the collapse of some of nature’s finest handiwork, from a pristine coastline that he tried to open to oil drilling, to forests that will soon be aflame again because the president will not do anything to stall climate change.

His trade war is a bullet that could wound the nation’s most trade-dependent state, Washington, which produces apples and wine and software and coffee and jetliners and trucks andhealth care for the world.

To Trump, everything “Out West” is like occupied territory. Almost daily, he issues legal missives and executive orders intended in some way to make life worse on the West Coast.

But as Egan goes on to report, there’s “good news for E Pluribus Unum: He’s losing.” Consistently.

The West Coast is crushing it against Trump. Using the law to fight a bully, the Constitution to challenge an authoritarian, and facts against Fox News-driven fantasy, California, Oregon and Washington have stalled some of the most despicable of Trump’s retrograde policies.

California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, is currently leading an aggressive coalition to protect the Affordable Care Act, which allows 133 million Americans to keep their health insurance despite having pre-existing conditions. If that effort is as successful as previous ones, he’ll succeed.

Federal judges have repeatedly sided with California against Trump on air pollution, toxic pesticides and oil drilling. In April, the Interior Department was forced to suspend a plan to drill off the Pacific shore. Anda federal judge in Oregonhas so far backed a far-reaching attempt to hold Trump’s government responsible for averting climate change.

West Coast governors have defied Trump’s ban on transgenderAmericans serving in the military; they’ve opened their National Guard ranks to the people Trump is trying to shun from service.

Washington’s attorney general, Bob Ferguson, has filed 36 lawsuits against the Trump administration and has not lost a case. His first takedown of the tyrant halted, nationwide, the initial Muslim ban.

Egan ended his report by reminding the rest of America how economically successful those recalcitrant states on the West Coast have been, and comparing that success with Trump’s performance.

Under Trump’s guidance, the United States is running up debt faster than one of his bankrupt casinos. It’s what he does. By contrast, California, after raising taxes on the rich and wages for the poor, after extending family leave and health care, is projecting a $21 billion budget surplus for the coming fiscal year.

Talent and capital can go anywhere. It’s drawn to the West Coast, because creativity doesn’t grow well in nurseries of fear and tired thinking. Washington was named the best state for business in 2017, and the best place for workers in 2018.

We’ll soon look west for a replacement for Trump. By moving their presidential primaries up to March, California and Washington have assured that the one-in-seven Americans who live in those two states will have an early say. It’s only fitting, given how much they’ve contributed to the fight against the Trump blight on the Republic.

As wonderful as these successes have been, they highlight the critical importance of maintaining a competent, non-politicized judiciary. Without judges whose allegiance is to the Constitution and the rule of law, we have no checks and balances.


  1. West coast voters have done well for themselves by embracing progressive ideas and putting them into action. No “blue dogging” for them. Two presidential candidates from the West Coast, Sen. Kamala Harris and Gov. Jay Iinslee, give the rest of us a chance to help the country catch up to reality.

  2. So much for a Republic. We now have at least two choices: The California Federation and The Alabama Federation. George Kennan, our former Ambassador to the Soviet Union and the architect of our containment policy, predicted many, many years ago that the U.S. someday would, also, SPLIT UP.

  3. Marv,
    I agree with George Kennan’s prediction that someday the US would split up. What too many in the rest of the country do not get is that the West Coast does not need us. We need them.

  4. Maybe the enormous debt the republicans have run up on the federal credit card can be used against them in the 2020 election as we show them what the
    West Coast has achieved by raising taxes on the rich and demanding labor be paid living wages. Has anyone been bombarded by news stories of west coast elites complaining about paying higher taxes?

    This actually gives me hope this morning. Thanks!

  5. Theresa,

    “What too many in the rest of the country do not get is that the West Coast does not need us. We need them.”

    “As Maine goes, so goes the nation” is a phrase that at one time was in wide currency in United States politics.”

    Maybe it now should be: ” As Indiana goes, so goes the nation.” You’re neither Alabama or California.

  6. Marv,

    No, but shamefully, Indiana is a lot closer to Alabama than California.

  7. More ideologues are coming our way daily. I fear that by January 2021 there will be no Federal court vacancies left for a new President to fill or that, if the Democrats don’t take the Senate, none will be approved for at least two years.

    BTW, I am aware of the prosperity on the west coast, as are many who are regular readers of this blog, but that word hasn’t generally made it into the hearts and minds of the great masses of Americans who watch Fox. They regularly post pictures purporting to be some part or other of California, showing massive poverty and tent cities and citing that as what it means to live in California. MARKETING is a necessary evil!

  8. Every city and town should designate a highway, building or school as a Barack Obama named entity. This should continue until Trump’s head finally explodes.

    Stacking courts is risky, because sometimes that presumed ideologue discovers his/her backbone and patriotic conscience and actually rules to the Constitution. Then again, with McConnell doing the picking that is highly unlikely.

  9. I am going to disagree with my friend Theresa: I don’t think we want to get comfortable with the idea of a divided country or a “civil war”.

    I totally get it that there are very different attitudes in the country- but the truth is that even California feels very divided and un-governable. They have floated idea of breaking into 3 states. Northern California thinks that the bay area has lost its mind.

    As a country, we need to resist the idea of splitting up into camps. The larger world is a very hostile place. Very similarly to the anti-vaxers underestimating communicable diseases, we haven’t ever experienced a time where the US was just a bit player on the world stage – politically, militarily or economically. We will see China become much more powerful even if we remain the same and Russia is expanding influence around the globe. We sure don’t need to do anything to shoot ourselves in the foot.

    Rather than focusing on breaking into camps, I think we need to spend much more time and attention with areas of the country that seem to have fallen so far behind. We are weak as a country when so much of our population lacks education, good jobs, etc.

  10. Peggy; my best friend lives in Santa Clara, CA, near San Francisco. She has lived there for 60 years and been a political activist; the prosperity there even boggles her mind and the poverty even more. She is an Indianapolis native who grew up in poverty. Just as the California prosperity is at levels we here in Indiana cannot imagine; the depth of the poverty does the same. Our middle-income earners here would be struggling against poverty there.

    If we are actually in the act of “Fighting Back” we are receiving ammunition for the few weapons we have had at hand from the reading of the Mueller report by House Representatives. Overriding Trump and Barr’s wall of illegal estoppage of Congress or the public knowing what is in the long awaited Mueller report; two federal judges have stepped forward to demand the unredacted report and the actual tape of a reportedly threatening, middle-of-the-night Voice Message to one of Flynn’s attorneys.

    Those “Coastal Elites” from the three west coast states are vital at the grassroots level; but there are 47 other states and 5 territories whose voices need to be heard calling for the release of the full, unredacted Mueller report to fight the top level who are running this show. The mass anti-abortion action in so many states is sidetracking us; another well planned diversion by the Trump/Pence/McConnell triad. Face it; the entire GOP is much better organized than the rest of us.

  11. Theresa, truer words have never been spoken, “No, but shamefully, Indiana is a lot closer to Alabama than California.”

    The USN just rated the states…Indiana ranks a dismal 36th. Alabama was nearly tied for dead last in the 49th spot.

    Cali was 19th struggling with a high cost of living. A price many are willing to pay.

    Blue vs. Red once again?

    Our Nanny state-backed economist keeps slamming socialism even though most of the highest rated states were left-leaning. LOL

    We need a governor like Pete and a whole bunch of 20-year-old legislators.

  12. Theresa,

    “No, but shamefully, Indiana is a lot closer to Alabama than California.”

    That’s why Indiana is so important. It is closer to Alabama, but it is not Alabama. You’re not in the “Bible Belt.” You can change, Alabama can’t.

    Dallas changed. Jacksonville hasn’t. Dallas was just outside the “Bible Belt” whereas Jacksonville is still in it. There is no Sheila Kennedy in North Florida, nor any other place in the “Bible Belt.”

    It all comes down to FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Indiana still has it, we don’t.

  13. Kurt,
    I don’t believe that my comments promoted the idea that we get “comfortable” with the notion that the country split. I was simply agreeing with George Kennan’s prediction that such a thing would someday happen. And yes, we should all be working towards making the union work, although at the moment that seems a daunting task for sure.

  14. A bit concerned to read that folks think that CA and WA are heaven. They have their own hells caused by rampant gentrifrication delicate ecosystems disrupted by climate change. Politically and socially they make look like paradise, but living there can be challenging for the non-tech-elite.

    It ain’t all CA or AL….look what Bullock has done in Wyoming re Medicaid expansion and work on election financing…

  15. Egan says: “Under Trump’s guidance, the United States is running up debt faster than one of his bankrupt casinos.“ Just a reminder, the federal government is not like a state. It is a sovereign currency issuer which cannot run out of its own money.
    BTW, Trump is horrible, a true champion of the worst. But let’s focus on legitimate issues.

  16. Marv,

    The Bible belt bible thumpers are loud and proud in Indiana and throw around a LOT of power. They have managed to get away with a lot of BS in this state and when pence was governor they went crazy trying to push their religious doctrine on everyone. Those cockroaches crawled out of the woodwork and attempted to infest everything. They actually were quite successful in many areas, so don’t count out Indiana yet as a Bible Belt state. We seem to be moving in that direction.

  17. It’s interesting that Trump’s newly announced immigration policy would prejudiciously favor the kind of people that makes the east and west coasts so economically successful and discourage those more like the people in the heartland.

    Of course his DOA plan would also increase the education level of any criminals or terrorists wanting to migrate here.

    On the other hand if it did become law there would by no more Melania’s here.

    The fate of America rests on the rate at which the generation out to ruin the country dies off and gets replaced by relatively unprogrammed youth.

  18. Nancy,

    I agree with you. But let me be more pointed. Racism is everywhere, the “Bible Belt” isn’t everywhere. Down deep the “Bible Belt” is the Confederacy. Metropolitan Atlanta is an exception, otherwise, Georgia is just like Alabama. At the present time, there is no chance, WHATSOEVER, for a change without “bloodshed” in the “Bible Belt.”

    As a contributor to this blog for the past four years, it doesn’t sound like it, to me,
    that Indianpolis has fallen to the enemy, not yet at least.

  19. I’m with Kurt: ” Rather than focusing on breaking into camps, I think we need to spend much more time and attention with areas of the country that seem to have fallen so far behind.”

    And touting the Coastal Elites will get Trump reelected for sure.

  20. Regardless of what you thought about Donald Trump before this, his career, his track record, just think about Donald Trump as a human being.

  21. Thank you Sheila,

    Sure wish George F. Kennan was still around so he could explain just how this country should break up instead of leaving it up to the total dunderheads that are currently leading this outrageously stupid parade. To bad he can’t send us another telegram penned by “X” to help us all out! Many thanks to Marv for mentioning this fabulous man!!!

  22. Tom,

    Security and freedom are not synonymous. I’m afraid most Americans believe they are. Until this perception is changed, “……this outrageously stupid parade” will continue to grow and grow in numbers.

  23. JoAnn –

    “Face it; the entire GOP is much better organized than the rest of us.”

    I don’t think so – too much evidence to the contrary especially with the triumvirate.

  24. It’s a lot cheaper to subvert the electorate in the Midwest that it is on the coasts. The Koch’s and their ilk have poured a significant amount into the middle states to get them to support their libertarian politics. California is not a paradise . We have a strong farm workers union. “ Si, se puede.” Or Yes, we can. Pickers here make 25 an hour. if minimum wage had ever been adjusted for inflation that would be a little bit better than minimum (22). Collective action is much more effective than individual. Collective bargain, individuals beg. Still in places like San Fran which has a restricted space and too many people to fit in that space the homelessness is almost overwhelming .

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