California may have just boosted Trump's chances of winning in 2020

  • The California state legislature is giving almost $50 million to groups defending illegal immigrants.
  • This may play well locally, but most of America is still very worried about illegal immigration.
  • This move is likely to help President Trump's mostly popular anti-illegal immigration push.
Donald Trump
Getty Images
Donald Trump

The anti-Trump resistance is real. And if you're a taxpayer in California, it's really costing you.

The Golden State has decided to take its opposition to President Donald Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration beyond defending sanctuary city policies. The Democrat-dominated state legislature has just approved nearly $50 million for a program that will provide legal services and representation for illegal immigrants.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is how you get 8 years of President Trump instead of just 4.

No, California isn't likely to go from blue to red in the next election over this. But as the rest of the country learns about how far Democrats and liberals are willing to go in using other people's money to support illegal immigration, there's likely to be a significant push back.

You wouldn't know this just by listening to Democratic politicians and the mainstream media, but illegal immigration is unpopular with most American voters. A recent Gallup Poll showed that 59 percent of Americans, (79 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of Democrats), worry "a great deal" or "a fair amount" about illegal immigration. And this level of worry has remained steady over the last 17 years that Gallup has polled on the issue.

But who could blame anyone for not knowing these facts? That's because there's an Orwellian effort to whitewash the issue altogether. Look closely at the official response to the funding increase by the open borders coalition known as One California:

"While the federal government proposes billions of dollars to tear communities apart through mass deportations, California takes another critical step on immigration to protect against the devastating consequences of deportations."

"One of the great disconnects in 2016 was the fact that so many experts thought candidate Donald Trump's focus on illegal immigration was political suicide. Instead, it's clear it was a major boost on the way to his election."

Notice how the words "illegal" or even the supposedly more politically correct "undocumented" never appear in that statement. According to them, President Trump is simply deporting "immigrants." Even the Los Angeles Times report on the funding never refers to those being targeted as illegal immigrants. The phrase "here illegally" only appears in one quote of a Democrat lawmaker.

These kinds of word games predictably enrage millions of Americans who respect the rule of law, and that includes legal Latino immigrants who are often opponents of illegal immigration. And remember that President Trump earned more Latino votes in 2016 than Mitt Romney did in 2012.

For all the talk about how President Trump takes major political gambles, it's hard to call his move to deport more illegal immigrants a gamble in a country where a rare 59 percent majority continues to consider illegal immigration a real and serious problem.

So where does that leave California? Perhaps this move is popular with the Democratic legislature's base, and all politics is local. But the use of this significant amount of money to protect non-citizens could very well spark a legal challenge from taxpayer advocacy groups with help from conservative groups from outside the state.

Such a legal effort would probably fail given California's long roster of liberal leaning state and federal judges, but it would likely succeed in providing national publicity and support for the Trump administration's illegal immigration efforts.

One of the great disconnects in 2016 was the fact that so many experts thought candidate Donald Trump's focus on illegal immigration was political suicide. Instead, it's clear it was a major boost on the way to his election.

Now, California has given him and his supporters a new punching bag that should resonate in the red and swing states across the country. The tin ear of the left has struck again, and once again it's a self-inflicted wound.

Commentary by Jake Novak, senior columnist. Follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.

For more insight from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.