California positions itself to lead a blue state rebellion

The country’s most populous and economically independent state looks willing to push back against the Trump administration in a way not seen in decades.

Published Dec. 8, 2016

California Gov. Jerry Brown is probably not going be standing in any schoolhouse doors blocking immigration officials from entering, but the Golden State looks willing to challenge federal authority in a way not seen since the days of George Wallace.

More than 50 years ago, the Alabama governor, flanked by state troopers, stood in the doorway of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama, physically barring federal officials from allowing two black students to enroll in the all-white campus.

Things may not come to that in California, but there are signs that the liberal bastion feels comfortable taking the lead in an ideological fight with a conservative Washington over who has the right to impose its will on its residents.

“The state’s political leaders have essentially declared war on Washington, D.C.,” says Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California. “They’re prepared to fight back against the Trump administration at almost every opportunity, [and] there is going to be a lot of highly-charged debate on any number of highly-charged issues.”

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