Delusional Donald Tells Californians There Is No Drought

Here are the opening paragraphs of an article written by Steph Solis for USA Today:

“California suffered one of its driest years in 2015. And last year the state hit its driest four-year period on record.

“But Donald Trump isn’t sold. The presumptive GOP nominee told supporters in Fresno, California, on Friday night that no such dry spell exists.

“Trump said state officials were simply denying water to Central Valley farmers to prioritize the Delta smelt, a native California fish nearing extinction—or as Trump called it, ‘a certain kind of three-inch fish.’

“’We’re going to solve your water problem. You have a water problem that is so insane. It is so ridiculous where they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea,’ Trump told thousands of supporters at the campaign event.”

Soils’ complete article is available at:


This goes beyond being against environmental protections, or even being a climate-change denier, or being, more broadly, anti-science or anti-intellectual. He is standing in the middle of one of the regions of California most affected by the extended drought and telling his audience that the drought itself is not the actual cause of their misery but, instead, that they are being duped and ruined by environmentalists.

Trump is presenting himself politically like one of the “rainmakers” who traveled from one farming community to another during the Dustbowl, promising through methods of divination to bring the rain back to the fields.

Worse, as close as I can tell, he seems to think that the water in California’s rivers flows like water from a garden hose and that someone simply needs to shut it off to prevent it from flowing seaward and then point the hose to wherever anyone needs water in the state. This is so ridiculously stupid on so many levels that it is not worth the effort to refute it. Nonetheless, it is probably worth noting that he seems to be assuming that no one along the rivers in which the smelt are swimming uses the water.

But if you are a die-hard Trump believer, you can believe him or you can believe your own eyes about the scope and severity of the drought that has affected California. These are photos from the last two years of some the state’s major reservoirs and lakes, before the winter rains raised the water levels in them to some degree. Whatever water those smelt are swimming in, I am fairly certain that it’s not enough to some anywhere close to refilling these basins:

California Drought 03

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LAKEHEAD, CA - AUGUST 30: Houseboats are dwarfed by the steep banks of Shasta Lake at Holiday Harbor on August 30, 2014 in Lakehead, California. As the severe drought in California continues for a third straight year, water levels in the State's lakes and reservoirs is reaching historic lows. Shasta Lake is currently near 30 percent of its total capacity, the lowest it has been since 1977. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

OROVILLE, CA - AUGUST 19: A section of Lake Oroville is seen nearly dry on August 19, 2014 in Oroville, California. As the severe drought in California continues for a third straight year, water levels in the State's lakes and reservoirs is reaching historic lows. Lake Oroville is currently at 32 percent of its total 3,537,577 acre feet. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California Drought 02

Aerial view at Folsom Lake showing low water at boat marina North of the dam. Shot 1/16/14.

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California Drought 23

Lake Oroville showing The Enterprise Bridge looking down the South Fork on September 5th, 2014.

Marina owner Mitzi Richards carries her granddaughter as they walk on their boat dock at the dried up lake bed of Huntington Lake which is at only 30 percent capacity as a severe drought continues to affect California on September 23, 2014. California is in the grip of its third year of severe drought, the worst in decades, threatening to drain underground aquifers and leaving the taps of some 40 million people to run dry. The state's drought affected Central Valley, is the considered the richest food-producing region in the world, where much of America's fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables being grown there. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

The intake structure at Chesbro Reservoir is totally exposed in Morgan Hill, Calif., on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. Normally under water, three years of severe drought has dried up the reservoir around it to only one percent of capacity. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group)

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 4: A sign from wetter times warns people not to dive from a bridge over the Kern River, which has been dried up by water diversion projects and little rain, on February 4, 2014 in Bakersfield, California. Now in its third straight year of unprecedented drought, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years. Grasslands that support cattle have dried up, forcing ranchers to feed them expensive supplemental hay to keep them from starving or to sell at least some of their herds, and farmers are struggling with diminishing crop water and what to plant or whether to tear out permanent crops which use water year-round such, as almond trees. About 17 rural communities could run out of drinking water within several weeks and politicians are are pushing to undo laws that protect several endangered species. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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7 thoughts on “Delusional Donald Tells Californians There Is No Drought

  1. This is more about Trump’s brazen pandering than his ignorance of and contempt for science (or, for that matter, mere “facts”), although of course it’s that too. California’s history could be told as a series of water wars, with the thirsty south trying to take from the less arid north and the urban coast battling the irrigation-happy central valley. Even before the drought, agricultural interests in the central valley were complaining that state and federal policies were depriving them of water so that the smelt could thrive. Of course, it’s not just the smelt but the salmon too and, indeed, the entire California fishing industry, not to mention the San Francisco bay and the water needs of coastal cities like, well, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, etc., where the great majority of the state’s citizens live (and vote). Interestingly enough, agriculture uses 80% of the state’s water and the growth of urban sprawl in the Santa Clara Valley (now known as Silicon Valley), which replaced thirsty vineyards and orchards, actually reduced water use there (even if some might be used to cool giant “server farms”).

    But the real battle — and here we get to the heart of Trump’s villainy — is not about environment, region, fish, or crops but about class. For as the drought worsened, wealthy corporate agribusiness drilled ever deeper wells, often slanting the bore to invade the land of less privileged neighbors, with disastrous consequences for the rural poor and working class. This incredibly powerful August 2015 article by Sasha Abramsky tells this chilling story well: In short, when Trump tells people there is no drought, is real aim is to let agribusiness off the hook.

    And if that isn’t enough there’s this: “So much water has been pumped out of the ground that vast areas of the Central Valley are sinking, destroying millions of dollars in infrastructure in the gradual collapse.” (see In fact, according to NASA, the rate of sinkage is now two inches every month (see!

    But it’s important to note that Trump’s denialism is nothing new for the Republican party, which has cynically sought to retain influence in the central valley, the final portion of the state that has not become overwhelmingly Democratic, by pandering in this fashion for some time. Take, for example, this nonsense from the Republican-led House Committee on Natural Resources, entitled “The Man-Made California Drought”:

    It’s enough to boggle the mind!

    • Hank, your comment is very informative–in fact, illuminating for those of us who have only a passing knowledge of the “water wars” in California. (I think that my awareness may have stemmed initially from watching the film Chinatown.) And I have no doubt that, despite all of his proclamations to the contrary, Trump is not only very aware of corporate interests but also very adept at giving them a populist slant that makes ordinary people think that he is speaking for them when I doubt that he actually has any conception of or interest in what their interests really are. So it is a mistake to underestimate his political savvy.

      But, all of that being said, I think that so many of his statements demonstrate a terrifyingly superficial knowledge of complex issues, that it is also a mistake to overestimate his intelligence or to believe that his has given much if any substantive thought to a great deal of the things that come out of his mouth. That is, I don’t think that he simply uses conspiracy theories and Internet rumors to political advantage; I think that he actually believes a great deal of it. Thus, it may be very true that this reference to water being diverted from the farms of the Central Valley simply to preserve a species of smelt serves the interests of agribusiness, and it may also be true that before visiting that part of the state, Trump did a quick search for articles on the drought on Alex Jones’ Infowars site or on some of the other dozen to two dozen Far Right sites devoted primarily, if not entirely, to conspiracy theories. I am pretty certain that Trump has them all bookmarked.

    • I am not a trump supporter. Ag does not use 80% of the water in California. In an average year the state receives about 200 million acre feet of water in the form of rain & snow and most of this soaks into the ground, evaporates or is used by native vegetation. This leaves about 82 million acre feet of water that can be managed. 48% goes to environmental use such as instream flows, wild and scenic river flows, required Delta outflow and managed wetlands. 41% is used by agriculture and 9% by cities and industry. The 80% agriculture use figure is only true when no environmental use is considered in the math only agriculture and cities are considered.

      Right or wrong over the last few years all kinds of flyway bird habitat received water even though during a drought many would have dried up.

      Vineyards are not considered a thirsty crop – ask a farmer.


  2. SUMMARY of TRENDS (key to understanding the logic why there in NO drought in California)

    “precipitation” ~ DOWN
    “groundwater (reserves)” ~ DOWN
    “water use” ~ UP
    “population” ~ UP
    “infrastructure” ~ DOWN
    “economy/wages (for majority)” ~ DOWN
    “political bullshit” ~ UP

    • This video is terrific.

      I don’t think, however, that I or Hank Reichman in his comment used the word “lie.”

      In my reply to Hank’s comment, I was trying to distinguish my main point from his by suggesting that some of what Trump does is driven not so much by ideology or pandering to political interests as by his idiosyncratic personal obsessions and his surface knowledge of many important issues.

      But, in terms of the argument presented in the video, I think that both Hank and I are describing more what would fall under Harry Frankfurt’s definition of “bullshit” than his definition of “lying.”

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