The world's most powerful liberal

The world's most powerful liberal

No, it's not Bernie Sanders.

Yesterday, California governor Jerry Brown gave a speech at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

After staying mostly silent following the November debacle, he came out in fighting trim. According to the Los Angeles Times, he set down the gauntlet at Donald Trump's promises to veer away from climate science.

"We've got the scientists, we've got the lawyers and we're ready to fight," Brown said to applause during a speech to the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

And in typical Jerry Brown fashion, he tweaked Trump some more.

The only direct comment about the president-elect came in a reference to worries that climate research conducted by NASA could come to an end under the new administration. Brown reminded the crowd of the nickname he was given by a newspaper columnist in 1976, "Governor Moonbeam," for his interest in a state-sponsored satellite.

"If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite," roared Brown to the crowd.

Is he perfect? Of course not. But unlike Bernie Sanders acolytes, pragmatic liberals don't allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. And by this speech, Governor Brown is firing a warning shot across Trump's bow: This state will fight you, and this state will win.

Gov. Brown specifically addressed climate change, but the list of issues over which the state and the Trump regime will come into conflict is legion. From climate science to recreational marijuana, from trade to immigration, we're going to see a reversal of the conflicts in the 1960s between conservative southern state governments and the federal government. Now it's the turn of liberal states to trumpet "states' rights", with the difference that as the country's economic engines they have much more power to effect their wishes.

Trump, knowing nothing about how anything works, sees himself as an elected dictator. When he can't even get his own party fully on board, he may just have an aneurysm once he discovers that states have a lot of power to stymie his diktat. And unless he does something unthinkable like federalizing the various National Guards to basically overthrow blue state governments, his administration will be mired in an avalanche of lawsuits, without much recourse.

Much damage will be done over the next four years (unless our Electors grow spines before Monday next). But much damage will be avoided by the simple fact that states like California and New York can throw several spanners into the works. The survival of the Union will indeed depend on a rebirth of federalism in opposition to an autocratic president.



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