California’s role in leading America away from the fascism that stormed the Capitol

By Ludovic Blain

Trump rally in Los Angeles on Jan. 6, 2021 (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

I suspect that you, like me, started Wednesday Jan. 6 in joy at Rev. Warnock’s Georgia Senate seat win, waited hopefully for Ossof’s win, was disappointed at the leak that Biden would appoint Garland as AG, and then was aghast as white supremacists turned their protest to a violent takeover of the Capitol.

Since my son is at home, we watched together, and he had lots of questions. First, we reviewed the ways white supremacists have pushed back every time the country became less racist. Then I told him I was very surprised at how easy it was for weapon-carrying threat-making rioters to storm the Capitol, especially compared to the violent responses to peaceful progressive protests through the years. Then he asked what we do about this in California. And here’s what I told him:

California is part of the problem

7 of the Republicans who voted to object to Biden’s electoral college victory are from California. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of Kern County, Reps. Ken Calvert of Riverside County; newly elected Mike Garcia of Los Angeles County; Darrell Issa of San Diego County; Doug LaMalfa of Butte County; Devin Nunes of Tulare; and Jay Obernolte of San Bernardino County. Note that 6 of the 7 come from CDT target regions of the Inland Empire, the Central Valley, San Diego and LA.

The tech companies who abetted Trump’s propagation of lies, white supremacy, and violence are based in California. Note that the day Twitter and Facebook finally acted was the day it became clear Democrats would have not only the Presidency and the House but also the Senate, and therefore power over those companies.

Trump got 6 million, 34% of votes cast for president in California. So this blue state has an awful amount of red in it.

3 of the 4 2020 CA Republican congressional wins were by AAPI or Latino candidates beating white Democratic candidates. California’s rising Republicans aren’t the same old white guys.

Trump protesters, Proud Boys, the three percenters and a campaign to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom rallied together in Sacramento yesterday to listen to Trump’s speech. They are making connections between the federal, national and state rhetoric, events and political strategy.

Trump has megadonors across California, unlike Democratc donors that hug the coast. Scroll through the maps to see where Trump donors are compared to Biden donors, again, overlapping in CDT key regions.

And lastly, what we witnessed yesterday was the result of years of planned, funded, and organized opposition to making this country more inclusive, just, and fair to all people that reside within its borders. California has played a strong role in leading this right wing movement. Whether it was the racist, sexist, xenophobic and classist policies during California’s Reagan and WIlson years that the country followed.

California is part of the solution

California is the most recent major jurisdiction to beat back explicit racist executive and populist governance. In other words, the California of today is shaped by people of color-centered progressive responses to the racist governance of Governor Pete Wilson, Attorney General Todd Lungren, and props 187, 209, and so many others. Here’s the California Latino Legislative Caucus video about how Pete Wilson impacted their lives…watch til the end!

Vice President Kamala Harris is from California. She can make sure the President-elect responds forcefully and at the necessary scale to these domestic threats to our democracy and society.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is from California. She has already called for the VP to remove Trump through the 25th amendment, and is considering reconvening Congress to consider a second impeachment of Trump.

20% of the House Democratic delegation, and 21% of the Congressional Progressive Caucus is from California. As redistricting hits the Congressional districts, and both redistricting and term limits hit the state legislature, we need to elect more progressives, and make sure more moderates do not win!

Many leading Democratic and progressive donors are in California. Many founding CDT donors have been founding/initial/anchor donors and strategy architects for Stacey Abrams, groups like Way to Win, the Democracy Alliance, Groundswell Fund, that produced the wins that protected democracy in 2020.

Democratic elected officials have to be better

Back to that moment right before the fascists stormed the Capitol. In addition to immediate responses to Trump’s most recent traitorous actions, Democrats need to respond to the real world lives of voters across the country. The Trump administration’s inhumane responses to the pandemic have exacerbated already terrible lived experiences of too many Americans. I was in deep disappointment that the first official action released by President Biden on the day it became clear Democrats would have a Senate majority was him appointing Merrick Garland, a former prosecutor, a moderate, someone with no track record of pursuing racial justice, as Attorney General. Appointing Garland is not the appropriate response to the Black and Brown voters who elected Reverend Warnock, nor those who elected Biden as the Democratic nominee and then as President for that matter. Milquetoast appeasing responses to white supremacist fascist actions are insufficient. That is how we get the Tea Party blaming people of color for the results of what was actually an insufficient response to the economic and so many more crises. Right now the Trump/Republican party scapegoats Blacks, immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ, women and other people for the outcomes of their own policies. This moment demands clarity, lest we find ourselves losing yet another blame game. As we see in California, merely opposing oppressive policies is not sufficient to create the California we deserve.

CDT will continue to push California to be the progressive bastion 40 million Californians need, and the other 290 million Americans will want their state and country to follow.

The California Donor Table is a statewide community of donors who pool their funds to make investments in communities of color so they have the power they need.

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