California Democrats thank Trump for legislative majorities

California lawmakers begin their new legislative session today with Democratic supermajorities in both chambers to go with their sweep of all statewide offices.

Democrats benefited from changing demographics and attitudes toward President Trump to overachieve in last month's election by historic margins, even in areas long supportive of Republicans, like Orange County and the Central Valley.

They'll have 29 of the 40 state Senate seats, two more than the two-thirds supermajority they need to raise taxes, suspend legislative rules and override vetoes without Republican votes. And they will hold a three-quarters majority in the Assembly — 60 of the 80 seats.

California State Library's legislative historian Alex Vassar says “it’s entirely unprecedented in the modern era." The Democratic gains accentuate what already was a marked geographic split: They control virtually the entire coast and major inland cities, while Republicans are relegated mostly to the rural mountains, forests and deserts of eastern California.

Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates from Laguna Niguel said she expects to work cooperatively on issues that often transcend political boundaries, like responding to recent wildfires by assisting devastated communities and improving forest management.

Dawn Kamber