Ben Boychuk

In California’s war on Trump, everyone loses

Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protest outside the federal building in San Francisco on Sept. 5 after President Donald Trump began dismantling DACA.
Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protest outside the federal building in San Francisco on Sept. 5 after President Donald Trump began dismantling DACA. AP

For a state so enamored with passing laws, California can seem awfully lawless sometimes. Our progressive Legislature and elected leaders have decided to make political and litigious war on the duly elected president of the United States.

The Resistance is here!


Truth is, Donald Trump has driven them all a bit batty. Our legislators have become so unmoored that even Gov. Jerry Brown -- who just the other week signed the self-destructive “sanctuary state” law – had to step in and veto legislation requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns. Brown said that as politically appealing as such a law might be, he was uncomfortable with California setting election policy for the country.

It’s nice to see the light of reality break through the progressive miasma once in a while. If only some of that light could break through the state attorney general’s office.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Wednesday announced he’s seeking a restraining order to stop the Trump administration from ending Obamacare’s reimbursements to insurance companies. California is one of 17 states challenging the decision, which would cut off $10 billion in subsidies. The lawsuit is a fool’s errand, of course, but entirely in character with Becerra’s strategy of suing the administration at every turn, regardless of the merits.

Will low-income patients pay more money out of pocket without subsidies? Only if you believe Congress won’t come up with a fix as part of an overarching reform bill next year.

But that isn’t Trump’s fault. Blame President Barack Obama and his administration’s loose relationship with the Constitution.

The subsidies are flatly illegal and unconstitutional. Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution says “no Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by law.”

Now, the Affordable Care Act may be a mess, but the part of the law that deals with insurance company reimbursements is pretty straightforward: There is no money for it. The ACA requires insurers to cut premiums and copayments, and the federal government will help cover their losses – but only if Congress appropriates the funds every year.

Obama asked for the money. Congress declined. Obama went ahead and paid the reimbursements anyway. The House of Representatives sued in 2014. So far, the federal courts have ruled in the House’s favor.

Does the attorney general really think his argument will stand where the Obama administration’s case fell to pieces?

Whether it’s suing over health care or the president’s travel ban or the proposed border wall, California’s “resistance” is setting some terrible precedents at great expense.

Obviously, California is not Trump country. He lost the state by 4.3 million votes, which accounted for the margin of Hillary Clinton’s nationwide popular vote victory. (Thank God for the Electoral College.)

As James V. Lacy and Katy Grimes point out in their short, bracing new book, “California’s War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?” our progressive leaders “have decided that rather than work on fixing their own state, it is more important to declare war on Donald Trump and all of his policies.”

The book is not a polemic or a screed. Rather, it makes an argument that the war against Trump is really a war against constitutional government. Our federal system wasn’t built to allow a powerful, populous state like ours to effectively dictate policy to the rest of the country.

You don’t have to like Trump to understand that victory in this particular “war” would be a loss for everyone.

Ben Boychuk is managing editor of American Greatness. He can be contacted at or on Twitter @benboychuk.