Wildfires are burning, crime is raging, a recall is gaining steam, and the return to unpopular COVID-19 mandates mid-summer may be a tinder box.
Two things haven’t gone Governor Gavin Newsom’s way lately, and that’s only in a court of law.
In an embarrassing oversight, Newsom’s political affiliation- which is, of course, Democrat in deep blue California- was left off his recall election paperwork by mistake. It was the unfortunate result, no doubt, of some poor overworked staffer who has since been relegated to lighter duties, if not relieved outright.
Newsom’s team mounted a legal campaign to correct the omission, but the damage was already done. A judge rejected Newsom’s request to add “Democrat” to his name on the ballot Californians will soon see asking them to weigh-in on whether or not California’s current Governor deserves to serve out his term.
The decision was a blow, certainly. But not as big as the blow which landed popular California media conservative Larry Elder on the ballot.
Using a law passed under Newsom in 2017- an effort to keep Donald Trump off the ballot in California due to his unreleased tax returns- election officials attempted to keep Larry Elder off the ballot.
Elder, officials argued in their decision to omit the self-described “Black conservative from South Central L.A.” from the ballot, had not released a sufficient number of tax returns to qualify.
A judge did not agree with this assessment, finding that the law did not apply to recall elections, and therefore did not apply to Elder’s bid, and that in any case, the Elder campaign had provided more than enough tax returns to qualify.
As a result, like it or not, Newsom will have to defend his office against Larry Elder, as well as other candidates vying to replace the governor.
Newsom’s campaign fundraising efforts to defend his office have netted him over $9 million dollars. While neither Larry Elder nor any of the other candidates in the race have quite so large a war chest, recall organization efforts have raised around $23 million they hope will help push some lucky Newsom challenger over the finish line.
The Newsom campaign has other things to recommend it, too. Not that Newsom’s tenure as Governor has been marred by anything which could be considered an unqualified success.
Yet Newsom, like many other governors, did manage to finagle through a range of voting measures ostensibly to protect people from COVID-19 which may benefit him. Under these new election rules, which remain a subject of controversy in many quarters, a mail-in ballot will be sent to every California voter for every election in 2021.
And that is about the end of the good news for Gavin Newsom.
The pandemic which conveniently lent itself to efforts in California and elsewhere to loosen voting rules may also be the ultimate undoing of Gavin Newsom’s political career. And he might not be the only one.
Under new, and newly ratcheted up, pressure to reinstitute mask mandates, closures, and other measures, Newsom is proving far more reluctant than many of his fellow Democrats. It is high summer, and it’s hot in California. People are enjoying the outdoors, the beach in particular; long-postponed vacations with families.
More mandates, or worse, a return to closures and quarantining measures is going to leave more than a few California families with less-than tender feelings towards the governor in the run-up to the recall.
So too California’s small business owners, who have taken quite a beating over the past 18 months, and are barely beginning to pick of the pieces of whatever is left of their California dream.
A dream, even the left-leaning Atlantic admits, is dying or already dead.
To their point, two strange things happened in California recently which don’t usually happen.
First, California Democrats lost a seat to Republicans during a special election session last year. The congressional seat vacated by disgraced former-Rep. Katie Hill was picked up by a Republican.
Secondly, California- for the first time ever- is losing a congressional seat because the population of the state has decreased to such an extent that representation in congress needs to be adjusted accordingly.
And it has been- while deep-blue California lost a congressional seat, far more conservative Texas gained two seats and Florida gained one.
People are moving away from California, in droves, due to a number of factors which have only been worsening in recent years. Governor Gavin Newsom may not be responsible for the current problems plaguing the beautiful state of California, but he certainly hasn’t done anything but exacerbate them.
Taxes in California have reached truly epic proportions. As a result, California is eroding its tax base as high earners flee to saner tax climes.
And it isn’t as if Californians are receiving a good value for their tax dollars. For the privilege of paying taxes in California, voters are getting a worsening energy crisis with rolling blackouts, a homelessness epidemic creating quality of life issues for everyone concerned, and skyrocketing rates of crime in major California cities.
In spite of the state’s energy crisis, Gov. Newsom plans to take the state’s only remaining nuclear power plant off-line soon, with no plan whatsoever in place to replace that energy into California’s grid.
In California, it is looking more and more like Venezuela; where the government took over the power companies, mismanaged them into the ground through poor policy, then blamed the power companies for failures they aren’t allowed to fix.
Gov. Newsom is obviously feeling the pinch in California’s battle with homelessness. He recently announced California will be throwing even more of its citizen’s hard-earned tax dollars at the problem. At this point, there might be a handful of Californians left who actually believe this will make even the slightest dent whatsoever in homelessness in their communities.
Rising crime is reshaping Mayoral races across the nation. Try as it might, the mainstream press has not been able to keep a lid on the explosion in violent and property crimes which has been taking place in major metropolitan areas predominately controlled by Democrats over the past year.
New York’s recent mayoral race was shaken to its core by the result of the Democratic primary to determine who will succeed Bill de Blasio, who is unable to run for reelection due to term limits, as Mayor of New York City.
And not by the mistaken counting of 135,000 test ballots discovered during a subsequent audit which changed the outcome of the race.
When the dust on that embarrassing little kerfuffle settled, recalling Democrats’ disastrous primary failure in Iowa pre-COVID-19, political observers were shocked to note the winner: Eric Adams, a former police officer and the most conservative candidate in the race, who ran a tough-on-crime platform and took every borough but Manhattan.
In other words, his message dominated everywhere not protected by private security and cosseted by armed doormen, with children safely ensconced in swanky private schools equally fortified.
It’s an insular lifestyle, but certainly not one everyone can share.
Meanwhile, in California, rising crime is taking a similar toll. There are ominous signs; a chamber of commerce survey that revealed 40% of people living in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district of San Francisco plan to move. Their reason: Crime.
Large retailers like Target and Walgreens have drastically altered their open hours, and in many cases closed stores in San Francisco. Their reason: Crime.
A wave of shoplifting is gripping the city by the bay. Liberals can perhaps shrug it off as the cost of doing businesses for large well-insured corporations. Those shrugging it off in such a manner should perhaps take Economics 101.
Big corporations like Target and Walgreens don’t lose money; they make money. What they will do is pass any losses due to theft on to paying customers, just like they always do. Shoplifting, what the retail industry calls “shrinkage”, costs everyday Americans millions of dollars every year in higher costs for the things we buy everyday.
Insurance companies don’t like to lose money either.
They will raise insurance premiums on businesses still surviving in the blighted districts until they are unaffordable. When the cost of doing business in areas rocked by shoplifting becomes greater than what can be recovered through higher premiums, commercial insurance won’t be offered in those areas anymore.
Business owners in downtown Minneapolis and downtown Portland are already finding this out. In 10 years, in 20 years, in 30- when these areas still haven’t recovered, as so many areas which fall into crime and decay don’t, who should voters blame?
Nor is the precipitous rise in crime confined to property theft. On the contrary. Murders and homicides, violent attacks and armed robberies, carjackings and sexual assaults- all are spiking sharply in California as elsewhere.
This wave of violent crime has landed at least twice now on the doorstep of prominent California Democrats. Governor Gavin Newsom was attacked recently, though he was saved any harm by his security detail.
“Different people have different ways of saying hello,” Governor Newsom quipped about his near miss.
Former Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer wasn’t quite as lucky when someone different tried to “say hello” to her.
While out walking in an area usually considered quite safe, the 80-year old Boxer was attacked from behind, punched in the back, and her cell phone was stolen before her assailant fled into a waiting car.
She is expected to make a full recovery, though the attack is said to have left the elderly former Senator shaken.
Boxer’s mugging- in broad daylight- has probably left plenty of other lawmakers in California feeling shaken as well. If California isn’t safe for Barbara Boxer and Gavin Newsom, how are average residents faring?
It is a question California Democrats, and certainly those facing a tough recall election, should be asking themselves. And if it isn’t keeping them up at nights, perhaps it should be.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)