2020’s Winners and Losers


Recently, the PRI All Stars (Rowena Itchon, Ben Smithwick, Lance Izumi, Evan Harris and Tim Anaya) got together to hand out their annual 2020 year end awards on PRI’s “Next Round” podcast.  Below are their choices for the biggest winners and losers of 2020.  To hear their other award winners, click here to listen.

From all of us at the Pacific Research Institute, we wish you a happy and healthy New Year!

Tim Anaya
Senior Director of Communications 

Winner:  President-Elect Joe Biden – He was written off in the Democratic primaries and had weak showings in Iowa and New Hampshire.  Thanks to Jim Clyburn and South Carolina, he stormed back to win the nomination.  Then he hid in his basement for most of the fall campaign.  He stumbled nearly every time he spoke in public when he did venture out of the house, and Hunter-gate lingered over everything in the fall campaign.  But despite it all, Joe Biden won a record 81 million popular votes and a 7 million vote margin over Donald Trump. 

Loser: Gov. Gavin NewsomLast year, I named Gavin Newsom as my biggest winner of 2019 for his dominating the Legislature into, as Gray Davis famously said, “implementing his vision.”  What a difference a year makes.  This year, Gov. Newsom is my biggest loser of 2020.  Nearly every Californian has been fed up with his rambling press conference that aren’t “foundational” and don’t “meet the moment” in the Governor’s words, and his seeming delight in issuing restrictions on Californians and businesses.  His ill-fated trip to the French Laundry and news that his businesses received PPP money struck Californians as unfair.  Now over 800,000 people have signed a recall petition.  

Evan Harris
Media Relations and Outreach Manager 

Winner:  Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris – She got out of the 2020 presidential race even before the start of the year.  It was a very ugly end to a campaign that fell flat and imploded after her campaign launched with a big splash and lots of support.  The fact that she was chosen to be on the ticket and now is in the White House and literally a heartbeat away from the presidency makes her the biggest winner, considering where she started and ended 2020.

Loser:  The Donors Who Gave Tens of Millions to Amy McGrath and Jamie Harrison – That was a lot of money, that really went nowhere, as both candidates lost to their Republican opponents pretty handily. 

Rowena Itchon
Senior Vice President 

Winner:  President Donald J. Trump – I think historians will be writing about Trump and the Trump presidency for years to come.  His life and time in office, his character, his strengths and weaknesses are the stuff of Shakespearean plays.  Despite the election results, I don’t think he’ll be leaving center stage – he won’t be writing his autobiography or painting profiles any time soon.

Loser:  House Speaker Nancy PelosiShe held up a $2 trillion relief package because she didn’t want to give Trump the win.  Then she became interested in this package for half this amount when Biden finally won the election.  She paid for this mistake by losing seats in the House and now she leads an even more fractured party.    

Lance Izumi
Senior Director, PRI’s Center for Education 

Winner:  Communist China – It’s very clear that the Biden family is compromised through its business dealings with Communist China, and the long history of Joe Biden sucking up to China’s leadership, and now Biden is president.  The likely appointment of Bob Iger as U.S. Ambassador to China, who has been one of the biggest suck-ups to China in corporate America, shows that Communist China will be in for a good four years under a Biden presidency.

Loser:  The American PeopleWith all these unresolved issues involving voter fraud and corruption, it’s corrosive for American democracy.  It’s going to be a dagger in the heart for a lot of people in terms of their belief in the fair running of American democratic elections.

Ben Smithwick
Vice President of Development 

Winner:  The network of researchers, biotech firms, pharmaceutical companies, and others who developed the Covid-19 vaccineIt really goes to show how important it is to foster a culture of innovation and ingenuity in medicine, and that’s something that we’re working on big time here at PRI. 

Loser:  Harvey Weinstein – I think he was also my biggest loser of 2019.  Weinstein was convicted earlier this year and sentenced and now faces six new sexual assault charges in Los Angeles County.


Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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