San Francisco is facing a crisis trifecta of crime, homelessness, and drugs. Can California’s Governor save the city?

Governor Gavin Newsom Meets with National Leaders in Washington, D.C. August 1, 2022. (Photo: Office of the Governor of California)

California Governor Gavin Newsom is said to have shelved, for now, his presidential ambitions in order to get behind President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign.

Newsom Told the While House He Won’t Challenge Biden,” reported Politico on November 26, 2022. “The would-be pursuer of Trump and DeSantis is ‘all in’ for the president’s reelection and willing to wait his turn.”

The incumbent President’s reelection campaign has been in full swing since April 25, 2023, when Biden formally announced his intention to run for reelection.

Not that Biden’s reelection campaign ever went into hibernation. Progressives have major, sweeping reforms in mind for Washington; it was always going to take more than four years to fundamentally transform America in ways that address injustice and disparity.

Between his challenges with the economy and the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Biden isn’t without baggage heading into the 2024 election cycle. Recently, his polling went from bad to worse.

Democrats Shouldn’t Freak Out Over One Really Bad Poll for Biden,” advised Ed Kilgore for the Intelligencer on Monday.

Still, a “gold standard” Washington Post/ABC poll showing former President Donald Trump beating current President Joe Biden by a whopping seven points — and Trump’s nearest potential Republican Party primary challenger polling just as well — has sent Democrats into a sort of tailspin.

Just as they were in 2020, progressives are searching the wings for an heir apparent. Fair or not, Vice President Kamala Harris’ approval ratings are worse than Biden’s. The Democratic Party’s previous front-runner to succeed Biden — former NY Governor Andrew Cuomo — flamed out spectacularly post-2020.

Enter, Gavin Newsom.

While concerns about Biden’s age abound, including on the left, there are other concerns about Newsom, beyond one embarrassing dinner party at an expensive French restaurant mid-lockdown.

Newsom isn’t without serious challenges in California.

California Democrats at odds over how to close growing budget deficit,” reported Dan Walters for the Marin Independent Journal this week. “California’s tax revenues continue to fall short of expectations, its deficit continues to grow and, with the June 15 deadline for enacting a new budget, there’s a three-way split among the Capitol’s top Democrats.”

“In January, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared that the state had a $22.5 billion deficit, just months after bragging about a nearly $100 billion surplus,” noted Walters.

In addition to an eroding tax base and budget shortfalls, California is facing an energy crisis with no real plan to address the coming catastrophe.

And then there’s San Francisco.

T-Mobile becomes San Francisco’s latest retail casualty as phone carrier shutters flagship store,” reported FOX News on May 8, 2023. “Latest storefront vacancy in the Union Square neighborhood.”

T-Mobile follows several high-profile departures from San Francisco. In recent weeks, Whole Foods shuttered its downtown San Francisco location after placing more than 500 calls to 911 emergency services in the past year.

There may be no end in sight for crime-weary San Franciscans.

The Lockdowns Are Over, but the Damage Goes On,” reported Allysia Finley for the Wall Street Journal this week. “Workforce dropouts and drug overdoses became more common as the world obsessed over the virus.”

Gavin Newsom Tells SFPD To Work With National Guard, CHP Against Drug Crisis,” reported Joe Burn for the San Francisco Standard on April 21, 2023.

Many places like San Francisco that locked down longest are experiencing the worst surges in crime, especially in areas like downtown SF, where many office workers — including a majority of city employees — have yet to return to in-person work full-time.

In the absence of normal foot traffic, crime and vice have flourished, creating a vicious cycle. More foot traffic equals less crime; more crime equals less foot traffic. Whereas before downtown San Francisco office workers were avoiding the office out of concern about Covid, now crime is keeping them away.

How he handles the trifecta of crime, homelessness, and drug addiction bringing downtown San Francisco to its knees might determine whether or not Governor Gavin Newsom gets to be President.

Gavin Newsom Will Be President,” commented Democratic strategist Dane Strother on August 30, 2022. “The Only Question is When.”

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)