President Newsom, For The Power And The Glory

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Polling taken after President Joe Biden’s disastrous debate with Donald Trump shows that Gov. Gavin Newsom might not be the Democratic Party’s best option to replace the Delaware Democrat should he end his candidacy. It should be obvious why.

Biden’s troubling performance in the June 27 CNN debate fueled the ongoing discussions of who could and should replace him as the Democratic candidate. Of course every list included Newsom, who was a Biden surrogate at the debate and obviously has his eye on the White House even as he pretends to avert his gaze every time he’s asked about it.

The numbers, however, indicate that he’d be a poor choice. A CNN poll taken three days after the debate showed Trump by five points over Newsom. A Data for Progress poll taken the day after had Trump up by three.

Multiple polls have Trump also beating Vice President Kamala Harris, though the gaps are closer and in some cases within the margin of error. Interestingly, the gamblers like Harris, who is extraordinarily unpopular, over Newsom. The RealClearPolitics betting odds average shows Trump at 56 percent, Harris at 15.7 percent, Biden at 12.2 and Newsom at 4.7.

Energy author and consultant Ronald Stein believes that the governor’s “unpopularity might have something to do with his extreme mandates that make life unaffordable.” California’s energy and environmental laws and regulations “do an excellent job of increasing the cost of electricity, products, and fuels to its citizens,” says Stein.

As damaging as his green agenda is, the reasons behind Newsom’s infamy go far beyond that. During his five years and six months in office, California’s decline has accelerated in ways few would have imagined just eight or 10 years ago.

It was under Newsom and no other governor that California lost population. The same goes for the loss of a congressional seat. That happened on his watch. It’s no mere coincidence that the human flight from the state corresponded with some of the most harsh, pointless, counterproductive and we’re-just-guessing pandemic lockdown policies in the country.

Yes, the business retreat from California, in which more than 10,000 companies have in some way left the state, started before Newsom became governor. But he didn’t stop the flow or even slow it down. He’s been, at best, an overseer of the exodus, and at worst, a part of the problem.

It’s also been under Newsom’s “leadership” that California crashed into a record deficit due to unprecedented spending. Despite all those dollars flowing into Sacramento and then back out, the state can’t adequately provide services to the taxpayers who finance the bureaucracy.

Voters in the rest of the country, even in other blue states, see California losing its shine; they see the high taxes and the overzealous regulatory framework; they can’t miss wildfires and criminals running wild, the homeless that take over public spaces, the bans of useful items, the growing gap between the mega-rich and the achingly poor, the housing crisis, the steep cost of living, the hardly affordable energy prices, the manmade droughts and the failing public school system.

No doubt they wonder: How would this man, who was groomed and funded for public office by the rich and powerful yet dropped the keys to the most important state in the country as soon as they were handed to him, fare as president.

“We should be very wary of a Newsom presidency. This is not a man whose intentions are the betterment of the country,” says journalist Ellie Gardey Holmes, who wrote the recently released “Newsom Unleashed: The Progressive Lust for Unbridled Power.”

“This is a man whose intentions are the exaltation of himself and the furtherance of his own power. And, worst of all, his well-established pattern for seeking such exaltation and power is the advancement of extreme left-wing policies.”

In all fairness, Newsom didn’t cripple California all by himself. The state is where it is today because a parade of previous governors and past and current legislators pursued a course of naked progressivism that borders and at times crosses the line into forms of tyranny. Newsom could have picked up the pieces when he entered office in 2019, but they were instead gathered by Texas, Florida and other states that have learned that a light touch from the state house produces the best results.

Kerry Jackson is the William Clement Fellow in California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

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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