Bad News for Newsom

Trevor Gulock, Staff Writer

With a week left until California’s Governor Gavin Newsom’s recall election, gubernatorial shuffling seems to be populating our post-COVID headlines given the quick replacement of New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo. Both of these posts, previously filled by loyal Democratic affiliates, hold great influence over the Democratic Party’s ability to legislate effective policy, both locally and federally. From the Democratic Party’s perspective, officials are holding that Newsom’s recall election is nothing more than a campaign optics issue in the wake of defamation from former President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. Despite this, Republican politicians have struck a nerve among California Republicans fixated on the everlasting bittering effects of President Trump’s defeat, “Trumpism.” This, factored with heavy Democratic competition depicting Newsom as a “non-starter” due to lagging COVID responses in wake of the national crisis, has brought Newsom a 43.8% disapproval rating peaking until August 24.

This consequential recall election has placed California’s government in a state of pandemonium, with the LA Times reporting, “many regarded it as one of those weird California things, like crystals or having kale for breakfast. How could a reasonably popular Democrat in a solidly Democratic state possibly be tossed out of office?” Nonetheless, Newsom concludes his ads with ironic rhetoric, “we could have an anti-vax Republican Governor of California. So do your part to stop the spread.”

Newsom’s runner-up, popular talk-show host, author, and Republican politician Larry Elder, is the direct target of this response — despite him being vaccinated himself, but supporting the choice. Adding even further irony to the situation, the man who filed a petition to recall Newsom, Orrin Heatlie, was himself diagnosed with COVID while unvaccinated on September 7.

Elder poses a major threat to California’s notoriously blue electoral college votes and extensive campaign funds through local policy jurisdiction. He also seeks to take the influence that comes with being Governor, and therefore that of the Democratic Party. With haste, some of the most famous and influential Democrats wielded their powerful endorsements, coming from President Joe Biden, first female Vice President Kamala Harris, and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer. This response also comes with the prediction “suggesting Republicans and anti-Newsom voters were far more likely to turn out than Democrats and other supporters of the governor,” according to the LA Times. “Trump and national Republicans launched a despicable attempt to kick Gov. Newsom out of office. It’s going to take a massive grassroots effort from Democrats everywhere to turn out every last voter” for Newsom to win, Schumer said. Schumer also supported the first female Governor of New York as a replacement to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and even went as far as to personally appear as a guest speaker at her 2022 campaign fundraising events. Why is Schumer weighing in on the next Governor of New York? Finally, why is he influencing an election in California?

As a typically left-leaning voter, I still find it crucial to weigh the values of all parties when I tick the ballot; I especially evaluate the recent actions of my own party. Under a nation with a 10th Amendment reserving federal authority — instead of giving powers to State governments despite acknowledging a diversity of relationships between the Federal and State — it is clear that the DNC is using fame and polarization to cloud the public arena. When the spotlight of a government election becomes about other politicians and not about the candidate at hand, the people are left in disconnect, and voters’ values are neglected. While increasing voter engagement is a concern I share as well, in a nation “for the people, by the people,” these endorsements were a step too far.

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