The Take: Donald Trump, taxes, Electoral College, and checks and balances

On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Our take


Donald Trump could force a California tax discussion; that could be good: As part of any tax discussion, state policymakers should look for ways that assist Californians who work for low pay, and people who aspire to be working in good, high-wage jobs.

Why constitutional checks and balances are more crucial than ever: As the presidency becomes more powerful, it becomes more essential that our system of checks and balances works to protect the republic. With Donald Trump – who blithely crosses long-established lines and who styles himself a strongman – it’s even more important that the legislative and judicial branches closely watch the executive branch – and block it if necessary.


Shawn Hubler: If Donald Trump was a Democrat, Republicans would be up in arms, rightly. He may seem a mere character now, but on Jan. 20, the entire U.S. military and a massive surveillance state will be at his disposal. Bullies become tyrants with power like that. Electors, you do have a choice. Something wrong happened in this election. You don’t have to go along with it.

Joyce Terhaar: DeMarcus Cousins unleashed profanities at Bee columnist Andy Furillo in latest attempt to control the media. No credentialed journalist should be excluded from postgame interviews because a player is unhappy with coverage. Kings management shouldn’t allow it, much less enable it. The entire reporting pool should walk out when that happens. Any other response and it becomes an insidious intimidation of those covering the team.

Marcos Breton: Donald Trump can’t deport my family, but he’s done something worse.


Jessica A. Levinson: The Electoral College on Monday has the last chance to stop Donald Trump. If a majority of the Electoral College chooses Trump, he will be our next president. At that point, the only way to stop Trump will be to end his presidency early through impeachment proceedings.

Phil Angelides: CalPERS was right to divest from tobacco companies. It would be bad for public health and for the pension fund’s bottom line to go back.

Matt Weiser: What will Donald Trump’s impact be on California’s environment? Trump, the first real estate developer ever elected president, will have many opportunities to twist federal policy to his advantage. Indeed, issues of the environment and public lands offer a president and his appointees enormous latitude to alter federal policy.

Peter Asmus: How will Donald Trump impact California’s energy policies? A bold energy strategy for the country would be to follow the California blueprint, especially when it comes to the smaller, cleaner and smarter power sources that can truly democratize our energy economy.

Micah Weinberg: As Congress debates a plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, it should look to California’s success in implementing the law.

Lien Hoang: Novelist defies Vietnam War histories written by the losers.

Mike Eaton: Hard work, smart science contribute to salmon’s success on Cosumnes River.

Take a number: 576,000

Locking up nonviolent and drug offenders costs taxpayers money without improving public safety much. A study estimates nearly 40 percent of the people behind bars don’t need to be there, or 576,000. Foon Rhee asks in the Numbers Crunch whether Donald Trump will reverse President Barack Obama’s push to reduce mass incarceration.

Their take

L.A. Times: Uber is setting up a false choice for cities and states. They can and should be pro-technology and pro-safety. If Uber doesn’t like the California DMV’s rules – which, admittedly, are a work in progress – it doesn’t have to test its cars here. But it can’t have it both ways. If it wants to gather data about its experimental cars on California’s streets, it should get a permit.

San Diego Union-Tribune: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newson and Treasurer John Chiang’s posturing notwithstanding, CalPERS should reinvest in tobacco stocks. We disagree.

Raleigh News & Observer: Republicans, with Pat McCrory obediently going along, have laid waste to Democratic initiatives, and they remain in vetoproof control of the General Assembly. So these actions were excessive and unnecessary, and a thumb in the eye of the citizens of the state.

Charlotte Observer: With a scope never before seen in North Carolina politics – and with an all-too-familiar disrespect for democracy – Republicans in Raleigh are engaging in a stunning reach for power.

Syndicates’ take

Gail Collins: For those of us who spent our childhoods getting drilled on how to be prepared to die for our faith in the event of a communist takeover, it was a relief when the Soviet Union broke up and nobody felt obliged to worry about Moscow any more. But now things are getting scary.

Kathleen Parker: The parable of Mother Emanuel and Dylann Roof.

Nicholas Kristof: Vladimir Putin was trying to elect an American lap dog.

Andres Oppenheimer: Donald Trump’s corporate Cabinet looks like plutocracy.

Trudy Rubin: Where is the U.S. infrastructure boom?

Paul Krugman: Useful idiots galore allowed Russian hack of U.S. election.

Timothy Egan: The narcotic of Donald Trump.

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Beneath the surface of the controversy over Russia’s efforts to help Donald Trump become president is a dramatic reconfiguration of opinion on foreign policy.