There are encouraging signs that the forces of reason are mounting campaigns to fight back against the disastrous policy preferences of Donald Trump and the cadre of fellow billionaires he has chosen for his cabinet. As we have said here from the first post election days, the push back on Trump must come from communities, including local and state governments. At the national level we suggest taking a leaf from President Obama’s retirement plans. According to a New York Times report he is planning to be an advisor to a brand new organization, National Democratic Redistricting Committee to be chaired by former Attorney General, Eric Holder. The NDRC will tackle the threats to American democracy posed by gerrymandering by Republican state governments designed to reduce the vote for the Democratic Party. The NDRC is planning launches in Virginia and New Jersey State elections in 2017.
Cities and States are on the Move:
While Trump has disputed the science of global warming and attacked policies to combat it, California’s governor, Jerry Brown, and Democratic legislative leaders have promised to band together with other nations and states to defend and strengthen our earth and its environment. “California can make a significant contribution to advancing the cause of dealing with climate change, irrespective of what goes on in Washington,” Mr. Brown said in an interview. “I wouldn’t underestimate California’s resolve…Yes, we will take action.”
The state has already taken on an international role. Mr. Brown has taken the lead on an agreement backed by a coalition of state, local and regional governments in 33 countries — more than 160 jurisdictions with a total population of more than 1 billion — that have agreed to deep emissions cuts to try to keep global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The Californian voters are behind their governor.
Even if the fossil fuel industry takes on California’s policies, “they would be fighting a very uphill battle,” said Adrienne Alvord. a leader of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Politically, it’s going to be very difficult to really slow this train down.”
Cities for Action
Meanwhile cities across America, most led by Democrats, have been conferring on action to protect immigrants from deportation and have asked the White House to formally end a special registration program for non immigrant visitors. They are looking, in effect, to set up a block of “island nations”. As New York mayor Bill de Blasio was quoted as saying, people are talking about: “Maximum coordination. Maximum simultaneous activity.” De Blasio is one of 100 mayors that have formed an organization, Cities for Action.*
Cities for Action is focused on the problem of thwarting federal anti- immigrant actions. But mayors have been organizing conference calls on other issues also, including gun safety issues and policing standards. According to a New York Times report (12/30/16) Columbia S. C. mayor, Stephen Benjamin has raised the issue of financing not dependent on the federal government, proposing tax exemption for municipal bonds which would allow money saved to be used by municipal authorities for infrastructure projects.
New York Governor Cuomo Proposes that State Cover Tuition
January 3 NY Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed to cover tuition costs at state colleges. Potential recipients or their parents must make less than $125,000 a year to qualify. Cuomo launched his plan at La Guardia Community College on Long Island City alongside Bernie Sanders who had championed reducing college costs during his Presidential campaign. According to the NYT report (¼/17) Sanders called the plan “revolutionary”.
And in the New York State Senate
A New York Times editorial, “An Antidote to Trump Secrecy on Taxes” , reported that a New York State Senator, Brad Holman, a Democrat from Manhattan planned to introduce a bill that would require Presidential and vice-presidential candidates to disclose up to 5 years of tax returns 50 days before the general election. Similar legislation has been introduced in Maryland, Massachusetts, California and Maine.
Democrats control governorships in California, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Oregon, Hawaii and Delaware, and have at least one legislative branch in Democratic hands in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Washington, all of which voted against Trump.
—Elizabeth Spiro Clark