Dan Walters

California’s attention-seeking politicos attack Trump, but hold weak hand

Scarcely a day passes without one – or more – of California’s Democratic politicians denouncing Donald Trump as the devil reincarnate and pledging “resistance” to his supposed intent to wage war on the state.

One example is what Kevin de León, the president pro tem of the state Senate, said as he and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon hired former Attorney General Eric Holder for $25,000 a month to shield California from Trump.

“Having the former attorney general of the United States brings us a lot of firepower in order to prepare to safeguard the values of the people of California,” de León told The New York Times.

Later, de León tweeted that it would be the “legal fight of a generation.” And Rendon also tweeted, “Our progress, from climate change to ACA to immigration, is on the line. We need to be prepared on day 1.”

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris joined in:, “The stakes could not be higher for all of us this year. We can either retreat or we can fight. I intend to fight for who we are.”

Gov. Jerry Brown worked himself into a veritable lather about Trump on several occasions.

“As Californians,” Brown said in one post-election blast, “We will also stay true to our basic principles. We will protect the precious rights of our people and continue to confront the existential threat of our time – devastating climate change.”

Brown nominated Rep. Xavier Becerra to succeed Harris as state attorney general, and Democrats frame his confirmation hearings as a forum for denouncing Trumpism and showcasing how he intends to fight it – although hiring Holder could be seen as an affront to Becerra.

Climate change, immigration policy and Obamacare may be major points of friction, but despite the overheated rhetoric and the expensive symbolism of Holder, the state holds a weak hand.

Were Obamacare to vanish, for instance, the state’s only recourse would be to spend many billions of dollars to maintain medical coverage for the many millions who would lose it.

The feds also exclusively control immigration policy, as the Obama regime’s vigorous deportations demonstrated and as the U.S. Supreme Court underscored when it overturned an anti-immigrant Arizona law.

California could, as some promise, give legal assistance to undocumented immigrants facing deportation, but we didn’t do it during the Obama years, and ultimately, who goes and who stays is up to federal officials.

Conversely, California can, for better or worse, wage its war on carbon emissions even if the federal government changes direction under Trump.

A certain amount – perhaps most – of the ain’t-it-awful handwringing from second-tier politicos is for internal consumption.

California will be electing a new governor two years hence, perhaps a new U.S. senator if Dianne Feinstein retires, and at least four other statewide officials.

In an overwhelmingly Democratic state, ambitious politicians are trolling for attention, even in the national media, with risk-free, vainglorious denunciations of Trump.