Is California headed for a clash with President-elect Donald Trump? Last week voters pushed forward a broad progressive agenda, from legalizing recreational marijuana to strengthening gun control.
And they chose Hillary Clinton over Trump by nearly 30 points.
The state is also home to the most ambitious climate change plan in the nation while Trump has rejected the science on climate change and called it a" hoax" to benefit China.
California could emerge as a counterweight to a Trump administration's aggressive push to the political right, said Larry Gerston, professor emeritus of political science at San Jose State University – and that resistance could draw from what has in recent years been seen as a conservative argument: states rights.
"It could come from California and other states that claim that the federal government is encroaching on California rights," said Gerston.
Here are three key issues of importance to California and how a Trump administration could approach them, according to Gerston.
Climate change. "Number one, Trump says he supports the Keystone XL Pipeline. He also wants to roll back President Obama's curbs on coal and emissions from coal plants. California has banned coal from coming into the state, so really the question here is not so much just Trump, but Trump and Congress and whether in fact they'll get together and pass legislation that undoes California, or at least supersedes California, in terms of some of our cap and trade programs, [and] allows for fracking and drilling on federal lands. All of these things could have an impact on California."
Immigration. "Certainly on immigration, it would seem to me [that] the federal government has always laid a strong claim to managing who comes in and who leaves this country. In that area, I would think that the federal government under Trump would have as much power as possible."
Water and the drought. "In terms of federal water sources here in the state we have a whole pipeline, a canal that goes north to south, that's under federal control. We have federal dams. And [federal agencies] can decide literally how much water goes where. So far the federal government has been pretty understanding, as far as balancing farmers needs with the needs of urban areas and environment areas. But the Trump Administration may take a very different lead on that."
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