In the middle of his first term, the Democratic governor of the nation’s most populous state is scrambling to control a pandemic that has afflicted the southern half of California since Thanksgiving. The pandemic has given Republicans, who have long been marginalized in this densely democratic country, a rare chance of catching it. Newsom is working hard to keep the country – and its political future – intact.
Ted Costa, the anti-tax crusader who was “people really pissed off” said The original supporter Who summons Davis. He signed Newsom’s summonses last week In the car park at Home Depot in Thousand Oaks. “Things can heat up quickly, and I don’t know if Newsom realizes what happens when a large wave hits the ground.”
For Newsom, an ambitious Democrat with a patriotic outlook, the scale of the problem is unclear. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the last Republican to win the California governor’s election, and that was nearly 15 years ago. When Newsom won the state in 2018, he held the state by nearly 24 percentage points. Its popularity rating last year It reached 60 percent.
However, the epidemic has worsened in recent weeks. The frame of reference that Californians see Newsom is about to change dramatically when Joe Biden replaces Donald Trump in the White House. No longer profiting from trusted frustration in Washington, the public approval ban on Newsom – and for Democratic governors across the country – will likely be lifted.
“Over the past two years during Newsom’s tenure, people have been saying that the nation is heading in the wrong direction and the country, compared to the nation, is heading in the right direction,” said Mark Baldassar, a veteran pollster and president of Newsom. California Public Policy Institute. Now, without a Republican president to judge Newsom, he has said, “He’s definitely changing this point of contrast.”
Newsom has faced the growing virus and its economic fallout with a series of proposals aimed at helping California’s most vulnerable residents and getting schoolchildren back into the classroom. Last month, he is A $ 2 billion effort is proposed to reopen primary schools For the state’s youngest students, with extra protective gear and a tester. Earlier last week, Newsom suggested giving low-income workers in the state $ 600 “fast cash”. And in a boon to his political fortunes, the state budget, despite poor expectations, is so healthy that Newsom is The budget proposal was released on Friday Which calls for record spending with billions of dollars added to state reserve accounts.
But good news was scarce in California, and Newsom was not without its flaws. He came to attend a dinner party for a senior political advisor at the upscale restaurant The French Laundry – a responsibility not only because Newsom was enjoying his night as he discouraged Californians from gathering for the holidays, but because the location was also so luxurious. California residents who might have stopped mocking him over that episode weeks ago had little more than cause for frustration amid the worsening pandemic conditions.
“In the city of Los Angeles and in our county, Covid-19 is now everywhere and infecting more people than ever,” the city’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, said at a grim news conference Thursday evening.
Garcetti, a Democrat who has come under public pressure similar to that of Newsom, came under attack Blame the federal government – Not the state – for the delay in distributing the vaccine. But Newsom is facing criticism from others for being too slow to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine, something the state federal government has left.
“I don’t think Californians can understand why there are hundreds of thousands of doses out there, and they’re not being administered,” said Gary South, the Democratic strategist who advised the Newsom campaign to governors in 2010 and was a senior adviser to Davis. . “California has gone through nearly 10 hellish months, and now there will likely be light at the end of the tunnel with these vaccines – but it won’t benefit anyone if they are not given.”
“You should get these vaccinations in people’s arms,” he said.
Like other Democrats, Newsom has criticized the Trump administration for slowing the introduction of the vaccine, and joined the governors of seven other Democratic states last week in lobbying federal health officials to release more doses. And in the new administration in Washington, Newsom will get some help. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who will be sworn in this month as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, said in an interview that he plans to make “Covid, Covid, Covid” his top priority – and will work immediately to get Newsom whatever help he needs.
At the federal level, Padilla said, “We know that vaccines have been approved, but we are still close to where we need to be in terms of production volume.”
For newsom political purposes, the more the better. For years, Republican messages about taxes, regulations, and social issues have fallen into the politics of state governors here, a reflection of California’s overwhelmingly Democratic voters. But the Coronavirus has been a fortune for Newsom’s critics, as it has provided an opportunity for anti-Newsom tendencies that may reverberate outside the GOP base.
“In the midst of this pandemic, with so many people infected and now unemployed, … we have 500,000 Californians who can’t get an unemployment check,” said former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, who this week launched a court hearing. An exploratory committee. “How many frustrated parents, when they look to see that the majority of private schools are up and running and yet we were unable to reopen our public schools safely? This is unacceptable.”
He and other Republicans have been viewing Newsom as directionless on the pandemic – a narrative helped by the increase in cases despite the restrictions. Jennifer Kerns said: “Look, all we heard – all year long – from Gavin Newsom is that once we get the vaccine, all the problems will be resolved, the lockdowns will end and we can return to normal life here in California.” Conservative talk show host and former Republican spokesperson “This is not the case.”
“Everything has collapsed,” said Joe Rudota, a former Republican strategist who left the party because of Trump’s influence and once served as deputy chief of staff, Pete Wilson.
Against this background, Newsome’s recall process is gaining momentum. Although no-confidence efforts are routinely made against governors and rarely qualify for the vote, supporters of the anti-Newsom effort said Tuesday that they had surpassed the 1 million signatures – nearly two-thirds of the number they would need to force an election later this year – by petitioning Mail signatures from Republicans and independent voters. Face voltage a He recently donated $ 500,000 A donor in Orange County objected to Newsom’s orders to limit religious gatherings due to the coronavirus.
Dave Gilliard, the Republican strategist who helped organize Davis’s recall in 2003 and advises Newsom’s efforts, puts the odds of qualifying for the ballot at about 80 to 85 percent.
“It really took off in the past two months,” he said, attributing the increase to what he called “the French laundry increase.”
Newsom advisers are paying attention to the summoning effort, conducting interviews and branding supporters of impeachment “pro-Trump extremists.” Dan Newman, chief political advisor to Newsom, said, “The confidence-disinfection effort is fueled primarily by the same hatred, disinformation and lack of respect for democracy that drove local terrorists to storm the Capitol.”
Connecting him to Faulconer and John Cox, the Republican who was defeated by Newsom in 2018, Newman said, “Trump aides in California like Kevin Faulconner and John Cox are walking steadily with the president, blindly following his example by refusing to accept and respect the will of the electorate.”
But Newsom’s advisors do not advertise or hold press conferences, and are not particularly inclined to give air to an initiative they think is unlikely to qualify without an extra cash injection. Impeachers need to collect nearly 1.5 million signatures by March; Making sure they have enough valid signatures means they will likely need to collect a lot more than that number.
And if the recall initiative was eligible to vote, calling Newsom would in fact be a much longer task. Republicans make up less than a quarter of California’s electorate. By the time of any recall elections, which will not come until months after the signatures are submitted, the mood of voters – who may have been vaccinated – may improve significantly.
For now, Davis said he expects Newsom to focus heavily on promoting the vaccine, which he said should “give people the sense that this epidemic will eventually end.” All in all, given the challenges of the pandemic, Davis said Newsom has “done an amazing job.”
“There’s a reason his popularity ratings are still soaring in the mid-1950s,” Davis said. “He is completely transparent. He explains why he will do something. It tells you whether it has been accomplished, and if not, why not. I think there is a likable quality about him that the voters love.”