Resisting Trump, amazing Frederick Douglass, Dems’ big ambitions

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


How best to resist President Trump’s American carnage: President Donald Trump and chief strategist Steve Bannon appear to be testing how far and fast they can go to change policy before resistance forces them to pull back. The early evidence is that strong and swift response can make a difference. It’s up to Congress, the courts, corporate CEOs and everyday Americans to check Trump’s extreme actions.

In praise of colleges that lift low-income students: Despite rising tuition costs and unconscionable interest rates on student loans, your parents were wise when they told you to study hard and stay in school. Here’s an addendum: Think about going to sea.


Erika D. Smith: On Wednesday, the first day of Black History Month, President Donald Trump walked into the Roosevelt Room of the White House and surveyed the faces of the black people seated all around him. They smiled. Trump nodded. Then he opened his mouth.

Dan Morain: It’s only February of what is supposed to be an off-election year. But campaigns are perpetual, and Democrats have big ambitions for 2018. They are starting with an angry base and are aiming at 23 House Republicans who were re-elected in 2016 in districts carried by Hillary Clinton. Republicans aren’t without defenses. One is their ability to raise money. Another is their opposition.

Dan Walters: The California Board of Equalization has been a hotbed of hijinks by its elected members. It’s time to abolish the board and the Franchise Tax Board and fold both into a department of revenue with professional expertise and accountability.

Marcos Breton: How the passion and emotion that drove Sacramento’s MLS bid nearly destroyed it.

Joyce Terhaar: Two mighty institutions in this region – the city of Sacramento and UC Davis – have assured the public and Sacramento Bee reporters over the last year that they are committed to transparency. Yet it would be charitable to say their responses to our Public Records Act requests have been bumpy at best.

Gregory Favre: Sally Yates, the acting U.S. attorney general, was fired because she said she could not defend President Donald Trump’s immigration order, which she believed was unconstitutional. Standing by your values takes moral courage.


Elaine Corn: On Super Bowl Sunday, Americans devoured nearly 105 million pounds of avocados for the game’s requisite dip. California avocados were at the party, but there were not enough.

Joseph Rodota and Bernard Munos: Progress from the stem cell agency should be measured in more than the creation of new research centers or in the progress of clinical trials. A better alternative to CIRM would provide funds directly to California-based companies developing new drugs to cure diseases and prolong healthy lives.

Jane Braxton Little: The Yurok Tribe, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are reviewing a project that would introduce California condors in North Coast’s redwoods as early as next year.

Rob Turner: Let’s reimagine a K Street pedestrian mall and create an outdoor cafe space like in New York’s Times Square. We can fill it with bold new public art. Let’s create designated areas for street musicians, maker fairs and farmers’ markets.

Richard L. Jolly: Californians are systematically underrepresented in every part of the federal government. Although California has a population about 66 times that of Wyoming, it has just 53 representatives to Wyoming’s one. This means that one Wyoming vote is worth more than 360 percent of a Californian’s.

Take a number: 35.5

Foon Rhee’s latest Numbers Crunch looks at the data and casts doubt on President Donald Trump’s description of sanctuary cities as festering with crime. As it happens, the crime rate is 35.5 per 10,000 people lower in counties that provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants compared to counties that cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Their take

Mercury News: California declaring independence from the United States of America and going it alone is a colossally stupid idea.

Orange County Register: Must a state politician live within his or her district to appropriately represent the citizens who live and work there? Though “the optics” of SB163 are bad, as they say in politicalspeak, particularly since the bill is coming from none other than Rod Wright’s successor, Steve Bradford, legislators and voters should not dismiss the proposal out of hand.

L.A. Times: Eric Garcetti deserves a second term as L.A.’s mayor. Rather than a placeholder mayor waiting for his next career move, Los Angeles requires a committed leader who is willing to invest the time and energy required to help L.A. evolve into a modern city. If Garcetti wins, he should stay put and do the job.

Lexington Herald-Leader: The death rate from cancer has declined across the nation – but not in Eastern Kentucky. So what did Kentucky’s Republicans in Congress do last week? Helped give the coal industry a green light to further pollute Kentucky’s water with more tons of toxin-laden leftovers from surface mining.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Instead of distancing themselves from police Officer Daniel Segura, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and the Police Department’s top brass should be giving him an official commendation.

Takes on Trump

San Diego Union-Tribune: We find Trump’s nominees for attorney general and education secretary – Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions and Michigan education activist Betsy DeVos, respectively – to be troubling.

L.A. Times: Putting Scott Pruitt in charge of the EPA poses an irreversible risk to the planet, and the Senate needs to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Miami Herald: Our workaholic president has been so busy and done so much in just two weeks in the Oval Office, that only way to keep up is to follow his lead. The Editorial Board presents its Twittertorials: White House racist Steve Bannon says media “should keep its mouth shut.” You first, Breitbart media minion. #doesthisguyevershave? #andmediaisplural

Raleigh News & Observer: Betsy DeVos is the wrong choice to be U.S. secretary of education. North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr received over $40,000 in campaign contributions from members of the DeVos family. And Burr and Sen. Thom Tillis as usual don’t care much about constituent input.

Wichita Eagle: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he advised the president to investigate voter fraud. How about they start by investigating how the votes of some Kansans weren’t counted last election? Or how Kobach’s rules and requirements kept thousands of other Kansans from registering?

Dallas Morning News: Steve Bannon’s elevation to a formal seat at the National Security Council is a dangerous break with precedent and shows the political strategist’s outsized influence in the Trump White House.

Sue Halpern and Bill McKibben, New York Review of Books: It’s a remarkable irony that the man who’s trying to stop these people from entering the country has never had to struggle a moment in his life and hence never developed any of the character we have seen constantly on display in America’s vibrant refugee communities.

David Freedlander, Politico: Will this man take down Donald Trump?

Jeff Bust, Chicago Tribune: I am a deplorable, and I’m happy I voted for Donald Trump.

Syndicates’ take

Nicholas Kristof: Canada transformed itself – because of determined political leadership, partly by Pierre Trudeau, whose son is today prime minister and extols similar ideals. Almost one-fifth of Canadians are what people here describe as “visible minorities.”

Maureen Dowd: Whether or not she intends it, Melania Trump, the woman who calls herself “a full-time mom,” is making a modern statement about the role of the first lady. She’s saying: I’ll do it on my terms.

Kathleen Parker: There have been many distortions to Judge Neil Gorsuch’s views, but one could argue that he is courageous in protecting the people and the Constitution by adhering to text and original intent without concern for his popularity.

Leonard Pitts Jr.: I can’t say exactly when it was. All I know is that the dawn broke and I realized I had forgotten something. I had forgotten that I am black.

Ruben Navarrette: Cracking down on immigrants and keeping out refugees is as American as schnitzel, chow mein, shepherd’s pie, spaghetti, bagels, tacos and falafel.

Dana Milbank: President Donald Trump gave Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (who is a total failure!) a good chewing out this week, telling him a refugee agreement between the two countries was the “worst deal ever.”

E.J. Dionne: We must resist a bad habit infecting political commentary that sees Donald Trump’s irresponsibility, bigotry and casual cruelty as a heroic form of “disruption” aimed at bringing down “the establishment.”

And finally,

Taylor Batten, The Charlotte Observer: Frederick Douglass did do an amazing job. Now seems like a good time to share some of his thoughts. Some are especially relevant in the age of Trump. Americans might even find some gems in here upon which they can all agree.