Election results have shown California’s majority thinks quite differently than the new power in Washington. Putting aside the quixotic quest of the state seceding, California still depends on Washington and requires a bridge to the DC power and money center. California officials will have to find a way to work around those differences. The go to guy to mediate those differences is Republican Majority leader Kevin McCarthy.
Unlike either of California’s senators or Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, even if she retains her minority leadership post, McCarthy is in the sweet spot of both being in a powerful position in the Republican majority and well-connected to the state’s political and business leaders. If any differences in the projected battles over policy can be smoothed over McCarthy is in position to do it.
Taxes, trade and immigration issues are high on the list for the Trump administration and on all three issues, the Republican Congress and Republican administration are bound to have differences with California politicians.
The key is the economy. It is in the best interest of both the nation and the state that California’s economy thrives. Promoting an agenda for job growth through tax reform is something that McCarthy could sell to California while pointing out the value of trade to the Golden State. Considering any changes in trade deals should have strong California input and McCarthy is in place to deliver that message.
In the liberal bastion of Silicon Valley, McCarthy could see a welcome mat rolled out for him. He made efforts to establish in-roads to the Silicon Valley before the election. Trying to lick their wounds after an anti-Trump crusade, Silicon Valley leaders should look to McCarthy as someone to whom they can appeal on the grounds the tech sector can help promote job growth and better education, goals of the Republican majority.
Disputes over what moneys should or shouldn’t be cut off if the administration moves to punish sanctuary cities, with major cities in the Golden State declaring such sanctuary, could also end up with McCarthy as the middleman. For instance, the City of Los Angeles received a half-a-billion dollars in federal funds this year for a list of services. Will the Feds threaten to cut it all off? Is there some middle ground?
Of course, McCarthy won’t be fighting for California politicians’ concerns on all issues. Water for the Central Valley farmers, many in his district around Bakersfield, will find a champion in McCarthy despite the position of majority Democrats in Sacramento whose stand based on their own environmental dictates severely limits water to the farmers. Alternatively, Gov. Brown won’t find any sympathy from the majority leader when it comes to funding the bullet train.
But if the California majority Democrats and the Washington, D.C. majority Republicans hope to work together expect to find Kevin McCarthy in the center of those talks.