10 Ways to Fight a Trump Presidency in Liberal California
Anti-Trump protesters march downtown.
So you’re fed up with the Trump presidency, and it hasn’t even started yet. Thankfully, we live in a state where the majority of elected officials, from the governor all the way down to our local representatives, is actively working to oppose Trump’s agenda. Gov. Jerry Brown has pledged to fight Trump on climate change, U.S. Senator-elect Kamala Harris and Mayor Eric Garcetti have vowed to challenge Trump on immigration, and the L.A. Board of Education has voted to make the district a “safe zone” against Trump’s threats of deportation.
It might become easy to disengage from your outrage when your state and local representatives already are hard at work. But now is not the time to be complacent — which is why we’ve identified 10 ways you can effectively push back against Trump, even when you live in the bluest of states. (#Calexit, anyone?)
U.S. Senator-elect Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris for U.S. Senate
10. Call and write your members of Congress — even when they’re kicking ass.
More than half of California’s 40 state senators, both of its two U.S. senators and a staggering 39 of its 53 U.S. representatives are Democrats. If you live in Los Angeles, your district representative is likely already advocating against many of Trump’s proposals. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear from you.
The former congressional staffers who recently put together the website “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting Trump” advise praising your representatives when you agree with their public statements, votes and bill sponsorships. “This is important because it will help ensure that they continue to do the right thing,” the group wrote in its public guide. “Congressional staff are rarely contacted when the [member of Congress] does something good — your efforts locally will provide highly valuable positive reinforcement.”
One thing they suggest not doing? Calling other members of Congress who don’t represent you and “don’t care what you have to say.”
If you’re unsure who your U.S. rep is, go to callmycongress.com and plug in your ZIP code. To find your state Assembly and Senate representatives, go to findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov. You should get to know your members of Congress, attend their town halls and demand a meeting when you’ve got something to get off your chest. You can start by heeding Kamala Harris’ call for constituents to fill out this survey to let her know which issues matter most to you.
9. If you do have a Trump-supporting representative, call and voice your disapproval.
There’s only one Republican U.S. Representative in Los Angeles County — we’re looking at you, 25th District Rep. Steve Knight — and several others throughout Southern California, including in Orange, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.
Knight, who represents the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys, told a local reporter last month that he voted for Trump, despite previously saying he was “deeply disturbed” by the leaked video in which Trump bragged about groping women. Knight won re-election to his second term in November, and if you live in his district, you can write him an email or demand a meeting and let him know that you oppose his actions, such as a bill he co-sponsored in September that would delay the federal government’s new requirement for employers to pay overtime wages.
Other Trump supporters from Southern California in Congress include Rep. Ed Royce of Fullerton, Rep. Mimi Walters of Laguna Beach, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa and Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista, according to the Orange County Register. The contact info for each of them is available on their websites. And if you happen to live up near Fresno in Central California, your very own district representative, Devin Nunes, has been appointed to Trump’s transition team. If you oppose this partnership, give him a piece of your mind.
8. Urge the governor to support a trio of bills designed to protect immigrants.
After winning the presidency, Trump has mostly stood by his campaign proposal to “build a wall” across the United States’ southern border with Mexico and said he planned to deport as many as 3 million immigrants who have committed crimes.
Earlier this month, state lawmakers introduced three different bills aimed at preventing thousands of immigrants from being deported. One of the most consequential of these bills, from Sen. Kevin de León and dubbed the California Values Act, would block federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents from using state and local public resources to aid in deportations.
Citing the trio of bills as evidence that California is leading the Trump resistance, The New York Times’ editorial board praised the California Values Act, writing that it “would promote smarter, more effective law enforcement.”
To voice your support for this bill and others, call Gov. Jerry Brown at (916) 445-2841 and Assemblymember Jim Cooper at (916) 319-2009. On its Facebook page, the L.A.-based nonprofit California Immigrant Policy Center offers a script to follow for the phone call.
An anti-Trump protest downtown
7. Donate to the L.A. Justice Fund.
What's one way to protect undocumented immigrants against deportations? Make sure they've got good lawyers. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors had that goal in mind when it voted last week to contribute $3 million over the next two years to the L.A. Justice Fund, a new fund proposed jointly by city and county officials, which will go toward financing legal aid for immigrants fighting to remain in the country. The effort was framed by city councilman Gil Cedillo as a strategic response to Trump's impending presidency. The city — with the help of private foundations such as the California Endowment — has pledged to donate the remaining $7 million toward the fund's $10 million total.
Want to help L.A. Justice Fund reach $10 million quicker? Consider making a donation (the minimum gift amount is $15) to the California Community Foundation, a nonprofit that's been advocating for L.A.'s most vulnerable people for more than 100 years.
A protester in downtown L.A. last month
6. Take action to protect women’s reproductive health care.
As California attorney general, U.S. Senator-elect Harris has been a vocal advocate for women’s reproductive freedom and the right to choose. But just because California’s got your back (and, uh, your uterus) doesn’t mean you should stop fighting for reproductive health care on a national scale. The Women’s Health Protection Act, a federal bill introduced in the House last year by Democratic California Rep. Judy Chu, would prevent states from creating restrictions on abortion that don’t apply to similar medical procedures and that bar access to safe and legal abortion care. On the campaign website, organizers offer a whole bunch of things you can do to support it, including asking about it at a town hall meeting, writing a letter to your newspaper about it and scheduling an in-district lobby visit to discuss it.
A scene from the documentary Abortion: Stories Women Tell"
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5. Volunteer to be a clinic escort.
While California lawmakers are working to protect women’s health care in Congress, there’s plenty you can do on the ground to make sure women who need access to abortions feel safe and supported. Women still routinely face harassment at abortion clinics, regardless of the location. That’s where L.A. for Choice comes into play. The volunteer-run organization trains clinic escorts “dedicated to providing patients in Los Angeles with friendly faces, supportive voices and protection from aggressive anti-choice activists.”
L.A. for Choice is holding its next clinic-escort training session on Sunday, Jan. 22, at the Women’s Center for Creative Work. Register online here.
4. Become an ally for racial justice.
First, Trump appointed the former Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon — whom the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as responsible for the site becoming a “white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill” — as his chief White House strategist and senior counselor. Then he picked Alabama U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, who was accused of being too racist for a Senate post back in 1986, for attorney general. Then, of course, there’s the fact that Trump’s supporters include members of the KKK.
Luckily, there are movements such as Showing Up for Racial Justice, a national network that mobilizes around issues of racial justice. Those who want to get involved can train for actions including phone banking, canvassing, fundraising and petitioning, and L.A.-based affiliate groups such as White People 4 Black Lives and Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere also offer a number of in-person events.
The activity that Showing Up for Racial Justice is really pushing right now sounds pretty fun: hosting a house party. You know, one where you also discuss race, politics and social justice — but still, a house party is a house party, right? Sign up to be a host in L.A. and help the group reach its goal of 1,000 house parties nationwide before inauguration on Jan. 20.
The Los Angeles Times' downtown headquarters
Ted Soqui/L.A. Weekly
3. Support local journalism.
OK, so maybe we’re a little biased on this one, but hear us out: Trump has repeatedly made baseless attacks against the media, and it seems no journalist, editor or publication is immune to his bombastic criticisms. On Twitter, Trump’s preferred method of tantrum, he’s gone after The New York Times, calling them fools, and more recently attacked Vanity Fair over its review of his Trump Grill. (Both publications saw surges in traffic and readership following the spats, so who’s laughing last? Come at us, Trump.)
We need journalists now more than ever, particularly to pursue investigations of the Trump administration, hold it accountable for its actions and inform the general public about what’s happening in government. What can you do? Read — and, when possible, subscribe to — your local publications, stay educated about what your city and county politicians are doing, and write a letter to your editor when you feel that your voice isn’t being heard. Get to know the reporters covering your local beats and let them know about issues, events and news stories you care about.
Geoffrey Palmer's Orsini
2. Divest money from businesses that support Trump.
Angelenos should consider ourselves lucky: We don’t have to gawk at a Trump Tower grotesquely intersecting our downtown skyline, we don’t have to put up with a Trump Grill that sells overpriced “MSG-flavored kitchen sponges” parading as burgers, and we don’t have to drive on any streets named after Trump (as Chicagoans did before the street sign was mysteriously vandalized in November). In fact, the Trump properties nearest to Angelenos are his gaudy golf course in Palos Verdes and even gaudier hotel in Las Vegas. The downside: We do have to contend with major Trump donor Geoffrey Palmer’s equally hideous residential monstrosities (whatever you do, don’t give him your rent money).
And there are plenty of other ways you can withhold your hard-earned cash from the Trump administration. With an estimated net worth of more than $9.5 billion altogether, his cabinet picks are bound to have their investments wrapped up in at least some of the things you consume. For example, start by divesting from the films of Trump’s treasury pick, Steven Mnuchin, a Hollywood financier with executive producing credits on films such as Suicide Squad, Sully and The Accountant. The hedge fund investor who resigned from the board of L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art earlier this month also served as executive producer on this winter’s Collateral Beauty (but come on, you weren’t going to see that anyway) and the forthcoming The Lego Ninjago Movie.
You’re not going to like this one, but on principle, you’ve also really got to ditch the Famous Stars and zucchini fries at Carl’s Jr. Its parent company is owned by Andrew Puzder, Trump’s pick for secretary of labor and an outspoken critic of the $15 minimum wage, the Affordable Care Act and overtime pay. For what it’s worth, he also had this to say about Carl’s Jr.’s ads to Entrepreneur magazine last year: “I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.”
Oh, and the next time you’re at the gas pump filling up, don’t forget that Trump’s secretary of state pick and Vladimir Putin’s BFF, Rex Tillerson, is the CEO of ExxonMobil.
n/naka's Niki Nakayama is a lifelong Angeleno who says she's proud to work in a city that celebrates diversity.
1. Support small businesses that oppose Trump or may be targeted by his administration.
Money talks. Divesting it from companies you don’t support speaks volumes, but strategically investing it in the local businesses you do support can be an even louder gesture. Research the companies where you shop and make sure they support workers’ rights and immigrants’ rights, and provide a fair wage and working conditions for their employees. Bonus: In Los Angeles, you don’t have to drive very far to find an immigrant-owned business in nearly any stretch of the city.
A study released last year by Americas Society/Council of the Americas and the Fiscal Policy Institute found that immigrants comprise 28 percent of Main Street businesses — those that significantly contribute to a neighborhood’s growth and vitality — nationwide. In Los Angeles, however, it's 61 percent. So you might consider dining at family-owned restaurants in Koreatown, Thai Town, Filipinotown and Little Ethiopia; shopping at grocery and retail stores in Little Armenia, the Fashion District and the Flower District; and yeah, go ahead and indulge in bacon-wrapped hot dogs, grilled elotes and steamed tamales from sidewalk vendors in MacArthur Park, Echo Park and Highland Park.
Bring it on: We’re ready to fund the taco trucks on every corner.
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