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.

De León thought of the people in his district, a swath of Los Angeles that includes Filipinotown, Thai Town, Little Tokyo, Little Armenia, Little Bangladesh, and the Latino bastion of Boyle Heights. He represents one of the largest populations of Koreans outside of the Korean peninsula and one of the greatest concentrations of Central Americans outside of Central America. This was the United States he knew and believed in: welcoming, tolerant, where people of radically different backgrounds worked and lived side by side. California Democrats, he decided, had to respond to Trump’s election; they had to reassure their voters. De León reached for his cellphone.

Three hundred sixty miles to the north, Anthony Rendon, the Democratic speaker of the California State Assembly, had just left the governor’s mansion in Sacramento, where people had gathered to watch the returns. His party had won back three seats in the Assembly, reclaiming its supermajority. But the good news did little to lift the pall over Rendon. The scene at the governor’s mansion had felt like a wake. One of the few who had spoken was Governor Jerry Brown. Like most Democrats, he had expected Clinton to win. The country has seen worse, Brown told everybody. California has a strong constitution. It can protect itself.

Rendon was back in the Democrats’ war room a dozen blocks from the mansion when his phone rang. It was de León. The two men had been talking throughout the evening, and now they came up with a plan: a joint statement by the Assembly and Senate responding to Trump’s victory. The chambers rarely joined forces like that, and their leaders weren’t personally close, but both seized on the idea. Rendon drove home and typed out a few thoughts and sent them to his communications director, who forwarded them to speechwriter Dave Sebeck, asking for a draft first thing in the morning.

At 6 a.m., Dan Reeves, de León’s chief of staff, got into his car to drive back up to Sacramento from L.A. He stopped at a Carl’s Jr. to help with a hangover and then started making calls. As drafts of the joint statement flew back and forth between the two offices, Reeves had each version read aloud to him while he was driving the I-5. Cut that line. Too slow. Good, good, good. Rendon’s people wanted more time, but Reeves insisted the statement go out as soon as possible. The staffs settled on a final draft at 10:57. Rendon and de León signed off an hour later, and at just past noon, the two offices hit send.

The statement, released in English and Spanish, had come a long way from de León’s phone call and Rendon’s late-night riffing. But the opening line had remained intact just as Rendon had first written it: “Today, we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land ….”

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