Newsletter: Essential Politics: Trump on a battleship

Welcome to Essential Politics, a new newsletter from the Los Angeles Times. I’m Christina Bellantoni, assistant managing editor for politics and your host today.

The Republican front-runner comes blazing into California on Tuesday with an event planned aboard the battleship Iowa in San Pedro.

Veterans for a Strong America bills the "very limited space event" as a major national security address from Donald Trump. In a release last week, Trump said the group was "hosting a 'Make America's Military Great Again' Rally," a play on his campaign slogan.

But Democrats are treating Trump’s visit as an opportunity for attention of their own, with two prominent members of the congressional delegation — House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra and Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Linda Sanchez — holding a conference call to complain about Trump’s rhetoric toward "Hispanic communities." He’s also drawing protests from state Sen. Isadore Hall, a congressional candidate for Rep. Janice Hahn’s seat. Hall is calling on the state to divest any of its holdings from Trump-related investments.

Or consider this video from congressional candidate Nanette Barragán — also seeking to become Hahn’s replacement — "welcoming" Trump to the region by telling him his campaign is "offensive" to many Californians. The daughter of Mexican immigrants also scolded him in Spanish, "Here in California, a lot of Americans speak Spanish. If you don’t like that, you’re welcome to leave." (Cathleen Decker has more on those getting on the anti-Trump bandwagon in her Tuesday column.)

With Trump atop the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released over the weekend, you can bet it will be an interesting day. You can follow our live coverage from Kurtis Lee and Michael Finnegan on the scene via our new politics page.

The USC/LAT survey also revealed California voters are sharply divided over whether people without legal status should be granted free or low-cost health insurance. Debbie Ruvolo, a conservative Latina from Mission Viejo, told reporter Cindy Carcamo she believes only U.S. citizens should be eligible for these benefits.

About 20 years ago, Ruvolo said, she tried to get government financial assistance to pay for her child’s special formula, which she couldn’t afford because her husband was out of a job. The family was barely scraping by, but she was denied help, she said.

Carcamo wrote that 48% of voters believed that immigrants here without proper documentation should be eligible to receive free or low-cost health insurance through Medi-Cal or a similar program. A statistically equal 47% said the group should not be eligible, while 6% said they didn’t know or refused to answer the question.

Not much of a surprise, opposition to the idea was fiercest with Trump supporters, with 90% against the idea.


— Kate Linthicum tells the story of "the Undocumented Immigrant Who Works in a Trump Hotel."

Watch Carly Fiorina’s video whacking back at Trump.

— Guess who’s hosting the next "Celebrity Apprentice"? Which, of course, gave us the chance to evaluate the political trajectories of Donald and Arnold. Seema Mehta compares the men in this analysis piece.

— Gov. Jerry Brown authorized an additional $12.5 million for the wildfires in Northern California, and Phil Willon tracks what this means for the budget.


RSVP here to join the Los Angeles Times for a debate watch party at the Regent in downtown Los Angeles.

We’re finalizing our debate bingo for Wednesday. Suggestions? Tweet them to @latimespolitics, and follow us while you’re at it.

A handful of times in Monday's newsletter, I incorrectly referred to "likely" voters in the USC/LAT poll, which actually did not screen the 1,500 registered voters surveyed for likely participation in the June primaries. Sorry about that. And you probably noticed the automated Los Angeles Times politics newsletter went out yesterday, even though I called it a thing of the past. That should be all fixed now.

Did you miss our explainer about this newsletter Monday? You can go read it here.

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