In 2018, Californians elected Gavin Newsom as Governor with over 60% of the vote. It was the largest margin in any California gubernatorial race since Earl Warren was elected in 1946. Two years into Newsom’s term, we believe he should be recalled.
Given the support Governor Newsom received in 2018, this isn’t something we do lightly. Only in an exceptional circumstance should a politician be recalled, rather than face the voters in the next regular election. But for such a case, the California Constitution gives the people this power. Nearly two million people have signed the recall petition, meaning that a recall election this year is almost certain.
At the Review, we have written extensively about the failures of progressive policy in California. Misguided environmental and forest management policies have worsened wildfires, unleashing a wave of destruction all over California. Ever-increasing taxes and property prices have made it hard to afford living in the Golden State. And for the families who can afford to stay - or can’t afford to leave - certain state and local policies on crime have made cities more dangerous, and severely hurt the quality of life. On his own promised policies, Newsom has failed: schooling, housing, and wealth inequality in California are all worse now than when he took office.
But to be clear, Gavin Newsom shouldn’t be recalled because he is a progressive. No, he should be recalled because he is utterly unfit to lead the nation’s largest state. The way he has led California during the COVID-19 pandemic has made this clear. Newsom’s lockdown orders were among the harshest in the country, yet failed to control the spread of infection. However, they did curb the rights of Californians, destroy many livelihoods, and produce the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the nation.
Newsom’s actions this past year aren’t just a political failure. Many Governors have made mistakes during the COVID-19 pandemic, Democrats and Republicans alike. But Governor Newsom’s actions in the past year constitute a complete betrayal of his office. No Governor in the country has approached the crisis more corruptly than Gavin Newsom.
In November, Newsom announced that his four children were back at their private school for in-person instruction, while millions of children in California languished at home due to continued public school closures. At the current rate, many public schools in California will not open before the Fall (if then). Some of the most conservative and the most progressive states have led the way opening schools for children who need it. In California, if you aren't the Governor or can't afford expensive private school tuition for your children – too bad!
In the most revealing moment of his pandemic “leadership,” Newsom was caught at a ritzy Napa Valley dinner with powerful friends. While family-owned businesses and restaurants were forced to shutter their doors due his strict lockdown orders, Newsom attended a maskless, indoor dinner party at the French Laundry, a three Michelin Star restaurant. The wine bill alone was over $12,000.
Newsom advocated shared sacrifice, but decided he was above his own pronouncements. Each time he decided to shut down businesses due to COVID, he refused to provide the evidence that prompted these changes. These strict lockdown decisions failed to crush the virus, but they did crush the state’s economy, and the public’s trust in him.
When the recall campaign picked up speed in early 2021, Newsom rescinded his statewide stay-at-home order, even though cases, hospitalizations, and deaths were all higher than they were when he issued the order. It seems Newsom is worried that the recall might succeed. He’s right – Californians are exhausted.
Unfortunately, the odds of a successful recall remain low, given just how far left the state has drifted in recent decades. Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1 in California, but the recall campaign is not a purely partisan effort. The evidence suggests that Californians as a whole no longer believe Newsom’s empty words. His 64% approval rating in September 2020 has since dropped to 46% last month.
If Californians voted with their feet, Gavin Newsom would be out of office. This year, for the first time since joining the Union in 1850, California is poised to lose a Congressional seat - and a vote in the Electoral College. Texas and Florida, by contrast, could gain a collective five seats. Ironically, the policy disasters that have driven hundreds of thousands to leave California may actually save Newsom’s career. Those people who fled his rule would be most likely to support recalling Gavin Newsom, but they can no longer vote in California.
But remember this: not everyone can leave. Millions of residents want to stay in their home state, or they lack the means or mobility and are stuck with Newsom. For them, California is still worth saving. It will take a lot of work and time, but the first step to prevent California from deteriorating irreparably is to recall Gavin Newsom from office and choose new leadership! Californians need to stand up against his behavior, his destructive policies, and his royal hypocrisy.
So if you’re a Californian: sign the petition, register to vote, and recall Gavin Newsom!