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Newsletter: Trump coming to the headquarters of the ‘resistance’ movement

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Essential Politics
(LAT)

Enemy territory isn’t quite the right way to describe what President Trump will encounter when he arrives in California on Tuesday morning. In some parts of the region, it’s not far off.

The president is coming to California for the first time since the 2016 campaign, when each appearance in the state drew protests and in some cases violent clashes. The visit also comes when his administration is locked in a nasty battle over immigration policy that has reached a fever pitch.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, who sharply derided Trump and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, just last week as going to “war” against his state, struck a different tone in welcoming the president Monday, asking him to consider investments in California’s high-speed rail efforts as part of his infrastructure plans.

“You have lamented that ‘we don’t have one fast train’ in our country,” Brown wrote in a letter to the president. “Well, Mr. Trump, in California we are trying to fix that. We have a world-class train system under construction. We invite you to come aboard and truly ‘Make America Great Again.’”

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Noah Bierman previews the president’s trip, noting that California has gotten in the way of Trump winning in both politics and business.

Bierman writes that the Golden State is the seat of an entertainment industry that dismissed him as a reality television creation, the home of a business culture where his real estate dreams were stymied and, now, the headquarters of a resistance movement that has tried to cast a cloud over his legitimacy as president.

As Trump inspects the prototypes and poses for photos along the border east of San Diego, he’ll be just yards away from a slum where people have formulated their own ideas about them, writes Rich Marosi from Tijuana.

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After the visit to the border, Trump on Tuesday night will headline a high-dollar fundraiser in Beverly Hills, according to an invitation obtained by The Times’ Seema Mehta. Activists are preparing for what could be a fracas, or might not.

Join us as we cover the visit here in real time, and don’t forget to sign up for breaking news alerts.

CONGRESSIONAL MIDTERMS ARE (ALMOST) SET

By Thursday morning, we’ll know each and every contender for the most competitive congressional races in California. What was remarkable about Friday’s filing deadline for incumbents in the June 5 primary is that we saw no further retirements, meaning just two of California’s 53 House districts will be open-seat contests this fall.

Christine Mai-Duc and Sarah Wire put together the ultimate primer with 83 days to go: two sentences about every candidate trying to unseat vulnerable Republicans in Southern California.

Among them is former state legislator Scott Baugh, a prominent Republican who is taking on GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a one-time mentor and friend of his. “Dana has changed,” Baugh said in a statement after making it official.

His entry, and California’s top-two primary, threaten to send two Republicans to the November election and move the 48th Congressional District out of Democrats’ reach.

Here are the hopefuls trying to oust Republicans in the Central Valley, and the Democrats who are flooding the ballots in districts where they have less of a chance of winning.

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Not to say Republicans are sitting this one out. There are some challengers trying to unseat California’s Democratic incumbents.

And things just got more complicated for freshman Rep. Nanette Barragán, who seemed two weeks ago to have a clear path to securing a second term representing a heavily Democratic stretch of south Los Angeles County. The dynamic of her reelection bid has dramatically shifted, Javier Panzar reports, with actress-turned-conservative commentator Stacey Dash and Compton’s high-profile Democratic mayor, Aja Brown, in the race.

Finally, Republicans who could run a competitive race are taking a pass on ousting Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

We’ll have the rest, including the race for governor, in the coming days on our Essential Politics news feed, but don’t miss this one: Antonio Villaraigosa is not the former mayor of Los Angeles, at least, not on the primary ballot.

NATIONAL POLITICS LIGHTNING ROUND

Trump signaled a vote of confidence in North Korea’s intentions.

The nastiness between the Trump administration and Los Angeles Rep. Maxine Waters just kept going this weekend.

The Trump administration took a step toward possibly banning “bump stocks.”

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In an interview, Russian President Vladimir Putin was pressed on Russia’s role in the United States political process.

At a rally for a Republican congressional candidate aiming to win the highly watched special election in Pennsylvania, Trump floated the idea of drug dealers getting the death penalty.

Democratic officials this weekend committed the party to reducing the “perceived influence” of superdelegates in the presidential nominating process.

Steel tariffs bring vindication for Trump’s feisty trade advisor Peter Navarro.

Here’s what happened when Sen. Bernie Sanders visited the Doddgers during spring training.

Get the latest about what’s happening in the nation’s capital on Essential Washington.

BACKDROP FOR TRUMP’S VISIT: IMMIGRATION CLASH

Here’s a reminder of last week’s Trump versus California face off, which had Sessions castigating the state’s “irrational, unfair and unconstitutional policies” and Brown accusing the federal government of launching “a reign of terror.”

Two of the California elected officials Sessions castigated during his speech seized upon his remarks to blast the Trump administration. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf accused Sessions of vilifying hard-working immigrants and distorting crime statistics “to advance a racist agenda.” Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote that he took Sessions calling him an “embarrassment” as “a HUGE compliment” and tried to fundraise off the matter.

Nearly all of the gubernatorial candidates weighed in on the administration’s lawsuit against California, with Republicans rejoicing and Democrats calling for resistance.

The visit likely strengthened the California Democratic Party, and might draw out new voters, George Skelton wrote last week.

Speaking of Schaaf, few cities have done as much as Oakland to push back against the ways law enforcement, through new technology and shared databases, collects personal information, images and communications of criminal suspects and innocent bystanders alike. Jazmine Ulloa explains how the Oakland Privacy Advisory Commission has worked to ensure that law enforcement surveillance tools aren’t used to target immigrant or Muslim communities.

MORE HARASSMENT POLITICAL FALLOUT

State Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) has been instructed not to initiate hugs in work settings, after a legislative investigation found that some of his signature bear hugs were unwelcome. Melanie Mason reports that the probe concluded Hertzberg’s hugs were not sexual in nature, but that he did not sufficiently heed warnings in the past that his behavior had made some uncomfortable. Hertzberg received a formal letter of reprimand and he apologized if he made anyone uneasy, saying he “never meant anything other than just warmth and human connection.”

Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) may have resigned his state Senate seat, but now he’ll be on the ballot twice to try to get back to Sacramento.

IS SINGLE-PAYER HEALTHCARE A POLITICAL PIPE DREAM?

Villaraigosa thinks he has a solid weapon with which to hammer Newsom as they run for governor, Skelton writes in his Monday column: Newsom’s strong support for creating a state-run, single-payer health insurance program. It could get attention if more voters learn that the current single-payer bill pending in the Legislature would require a dramatic doubling of state taxes plus Sacramento taking over the popular federal Medicare.

THE POLITICAL BACK STORY TO PROPOSITION 70

Democrats needed the help of Republicans in the Legislature to extend California’s cap-and-trade climate program last year, but they’re not so thrilled about the side deal they struck to make it all happen.

In his Sunday column, John Myers looks at how prominent Democrats -- except for Brown -- are ready to ask voters to reject the concession they made to Republicans, which appears on the ballot this June as Proposition 70.

TODAY’S ESSENTIALS

-- This week’s California Politics Podcast looks at the political upside everyone seemed to have from the Sessions visit to Sacramento.

-- David Zahniser and Ben Welsh explain that after years of pledges L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is still struggling to expand the number of female firefighters.

-- Here’s another glimpse at Sen. Kamala Harris’ finances as she looks to 2020.

-- Why is California’s homeless population increasing? The new episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis” podcast tackles that question.

-- California Republicans, wary of potential price hikes for consumer goods and other unintended consequences, urged Trump to rethink his plans for high tariffs on steel and aluminum.

-- A Democratic PAC reserved nearly $8 million in California ad time right before the November election.

-- California’s pot regulator warns 900 marijuana shops that they must stop operating without a state license.

-- City Council members accepted tickets to “Hamilton” at well above gift-giving limits, Emily Alpert Reyes finds.

-- Rep. Adam Schiff has some ideas for how Democrats can win the midterms.

-- Christopher Hawthorne tells readers why he is leaving his job as The Times’ architecture critic to work at City Hall.

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