On election day, as the nation narrowly elected Donald Trump, California voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton — and for Democrats, in general — setting up a battle between the state and the new administration that will likely persist for the next four years. How the state’s leading figures began preparing for that battle — in some cases, minutes after the election was called — is the subject of contributing writer Andy Kroll’s riveting and insightful cover story in the new California Sunday Magazine.
After the networks had called it, Kevin de León walked out onto the balcony of his suite at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles for some fresh air. Darkness had settled over the city. De León was a mess — gutted, angry, confused. Back inside the suite, staffers sat hunched over their laptops monitoring election returns from around the state. As the president pro tempore of the California State Senate, de León, a Democrat, had reason to feel good about many of the results — it was possible his party would claim a supermajority in the Senate when all the votes were counted. But as someone who began his political career in the early 1990s organizing against the passage of Proposition 187, the anti-immigrant referendum, he felt a sickening sense of history repeating itself as he watched Donald Trump claim victory.