November 8, 2016 was a devastating, demoralizing day for many of us. We learned that many white Americans are either supportive of or indifferent to racist, mysogynist, homophobic rhetoric and actions. We also learned that the GOP's ongoing efforts to destroy voting protections across the majority of states has successfully enshrined that party's power, even as, despite all that, the GOP *still* lost the national popular votes for President, the US Senate, and the House.
For those of us in California, we also learned something else. Here, we voted 2-to-1 for Clinton over her opponent, handing her a 4 million-plus vote margin of victory; our US Senate race came down to two Democrats; we legalized recreational marijuana; we gave overwhelming approval to taxes for progressive causes; and we provided Democrats with a two-thirds super majority in both state legislative chambers to go along with the all-Democratic statewide elected offices. Here, even in notoriously-GOP Orange County, Clinton won the majority of the vote.
For many people across the country, California is going to be the proverbial "shining city upon the hill." We have already been that for many years now for a large portion of the nation's economic engine, most recently in tech, but now we'll have even more attention shed on us, as millions of our progressively-minded brethren, particularly those in the deepest red of states, look to us and see opportunity and, frankly, refuge.
In other words, California could be poised to grow even faster as the nation lurches beyond this destructive election and numerous states regress even further, leaving more and more of their residents in the impossible position of having to choose between their homes and their livelihoods.
California could be that welcoming place for many of our nation's future political refugees. However, if we are to do so, we have two enormous challenges that we must confront, with as much clarity and vision as possible. Those challenges are, in no particular order:
- Housing, and
- The Environment