Politics can be very simple. In the case of the California Governor Gavin Newsom, who is facing a recall election on September 14, it doesn’t get any simpler than the fact that the voters don’t like him very much.
His ruinous policies notwithstanding, Newsom is one of the most disliked politicians in the state. Even though 48 percent of California voters are registered Democrats, on issue after issue, Newsom loses.
The most recent recall poll garnered this headline from the San Francisco Chronicle: “Shock Poll shows Gavin Newsom losing recall vote by double digits.” The numbers are 51% for the recall and 40% against in the blue state of California. In another poll, 58% say they don’t want him to run for governor in 2022.
Chief among them is the crime sweeping the state. So much so that a stunning 65% of “Californians believe that crime is getting worse, while 29% say it is the same or diminishing, according to a poll of 1,000 likely voters done by David Binder Research, the San Francisco pollster who has worked on Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s presidential campaigns.” Given that 48% of the registered voters in California are Democrats, that is an even more remarkable poll.
In another poll. 41 percent of Californians gave Newsom a “D” or an “F” on homelessness. The state is in the midst of the worst recovery from the pandemic recession in the country. The California Business Roundtable says that “six weeks into California’s reopening, initial unemployment claims continue to rise in the state while dropping in the rest of the country.” Shockingly, “California initial [jobless] claims rose 8.1%, while the US total dropped 4.4%.”
California’s high taxes and overregulated economy have led to gasoline prices topping $5 a gallon in some counties. In a state with a lousy public transportation network, that makes it all the more expensive to live there.
Crime, the rising cost of living, and a growing underclass are squeezing middle class Californians out of affordable housing, forcing them to flee the state for safer climes.
“Democrats have not had urgency, and that’s Newsom’s greatest challenge at this point,” said Democratic consultant Michael Soneff. “His ability to convince Democrats to return their ballot over the course of a month is going to make all the difference in whether or not he wins against the recall.”
Newsom and national Democrats are trying to make the recall about Donald Trump. But most of the Republicans running to replace Newsom have barely mentioned Trump’s name. This election is about Gavin Newsom and the one-party state that is California.
Now, facing a recall election, Newsom is traveling the state handing out goodies in a desperate effort to show he cares. Few, if any, believe he is being sincere.
It is entirely obvious that he is a politician on the ropes hoping to buy votes from the very people his policies have harmed.
The vast majority of Californians are also quite aware of his arrogance. They know the effects of his policies, they recall his treatment of them over the years, and personally dislike him — that will be his downfall when he is recalled on September 14.
Time and again Newsom has demonstrated that arrogance, including the flaunting of his own COVID rules by entertaining lobbyists and donors at the exclusive French Laundry restaurant and then lying about it until pictures surfaced of his escapade. He refuses to give up his emergency powers with no legal justification. Because of these emergency powers, he’s been able to hand out tens of millions of dollars in no-bid contracts.
If Newsom defeats the recall effort, it won’t be because he’s popular. It will be because of voter apathy and a desire not to rock the boat.
The smart money is on Newsom maintaining his office. But with a month to go before the recall election, anything is possible.