As the recall effort in California claims more than enough signatures to make it a reality, Governor Gavin Newsom has been making his way through the Golden State on a victory tour of sorts. Despite all the hardships Californians under his leadership have experienced – such as mass unemployment, unending lockdowns, and an exodus of locally owned businesses – Newsom and his gang of Democrats have claimed victory over the invisible enemy, COVID-19. The formation of his anti-recall campaign is significant and represents the first official acknowledgment of the effort he sought to defeat by avoiding any mention of it.
The career politician has begun a media tour to bolster his appearance – and he has found some challenges to his glorified self-appraisal. In a recent interview with Jake Tapper, Newsom’s COVID legacy was trampled and left for dead, finding no sympathy from what many would consider a staunch media ally. Newsom’s dehumanization of Californians suffering from his draconian policies was exposed on national television. It’s time to adopt the mainstream media’s fascination with fact-checking and put Governor Newsom’s record to the test.
The Great COVID Failure
The governor’s primary defense of his COVID-19 policies has been the reduction in the COVID case count over the last few months. Specifically, Newsom bragged about a lower death rate than Republican-led states like Florida and Texas, both of which were within twenty deaths per 100,000 of California’s number.
What Newsom neglected to bring up is the failed approach he took to get to that point. Unlike Florida and Texas, which understood that businesses and individuals should be allowed to make responsible decisions for themselves throughout most of the pandemic, California refused to do so. Instead, Newsom instituted an almost yearlong stay-at-home order that failed to substantially lower the case count at all until recent months. Texas and Florida did not sacrifice the livelihoods of thousands of small businesses and working-class residents to save face and appear as if the government was doing everything it could to defeat an invisible enemy.
Newsom is perhaps banking on Californians forgetting about his supposed “two weeks to flatten the curve,” the over $11 billion in unemployment fraud, and having the highest unemployment rate in the mainland United States. Few Californians can look at the decaying state of affairs and not immediately associate it with Governor Newsom, who has served as both lieutenant governor and governor of the state for the last ten years. Even as the California Democratic Party and national Democratic Party have started playing defense for Newsom, many residents can see the reality around them.
Small Businesses Crushed
Despite claiming that California continues to provide a hospitable business climate and remains an entrepreneurial powerhouse despite its concentration in Silicon Valley, a look at the facts says otherwise. Some estimates have placed the number of permanent business closures at 97,966, not including the temporary closures ushered in under Newsom’s authoritarian top-down health orders. These same health orders are based on fantasy, not the science Newsom claims to revere. As soon as case counts began decreasing and the threat of his recall became imminent, the metrics determining the severity of Newsom’s orders were “modified,” that is, artificially lowered when politically convenient for California’s king of COVID-19.
All these contradictions to Newsom’s self-professed masterful response to the COVID-19 pandemic paint a much different picture than his campaign associates claim exists. All the above fact checks still omit the multiple hypocrisies Newsom and his Democratic colleagues have demonstrated throughout the pandemic. From eating indoors at restaurants to conveniently exempting his investments from health orders, Newsom had no ground to stand on regarding his gubernatorial record over the last year. For any other politician in another state, such damning failures would result in calls for their resignation.
For all that California gets wrong, the recall effort may prove the most helpful tool to hold the governor accountable to his constituents.
Read more from Jose Backer.