California Governor Gavin Newsom is increasingly looking like the Democratic Party oligarchy’s preferred candidate – if they can just get rid of President Joe Biden.
While the signals are getting louder that the Obama camp is unhappy with old Joe, the number of media rumblings about Newsom waiting in the wings are growing.
The New York Times says “Newsom Is in the Spin Room to Pump Up Biden, and Maybe Himself.”
The Guardian asks “Newsom 2024: could the California governor be a rival to Joe Biden?”
The Hill declares “Biden will be the nominee, but Newsom is the one actually running for president.”
Newsom is being lavished with praise for getting China President Xi Jinping to visit San Francisco this week for the APEC Summit. Newsom visited China in October and met with Xi, which raised eyebrows considering Biden had been trying to get a sit down for some time. That was considered a big moment on the “world stage” by Newsom. Back at home the governor will debate GOP presidential candidate and Florida counterpart Ron DeSantis on Nov. 30.
As The Hill puts it, Newsom is doing all this “just in case President Biden succumbs to the realities of his age and waning mental capacity.” (Or if the forces that run the Democrats force Biden out in some way and are able to conveniently bypass all the pesky primaries and voting and simply install the Golden Boy as the nominee.)
The problem for Newsom is that it’s already too late in the game for a primary challenge to Biden that adheres to Democrats’ precious norms. As the Washington Examiner points out:
…Newsom isn’t a “viable candidate.” This was reaffirmed by political scientist Josh Putnam who said it would be “nearly impossible” for Newsom to launch a late primary challenge to Biden. One reason is the ability to get on the ballot in states for the presidential primary elections, which awards delegates for the Democratic National Convention.
Filing deadlines have already passed in Nevada and New Hampshire. And many more cutoff dates are fast approaching in November and December, including Michigan (Dec. 8), Colorado and Texas (Dec. 11), Virginia (Dec. 14); and North Carolina, Louisiana, Vermont, and his home state of California (Dec. 15), according to Ballotpedia.
Newsom continues to deny any designs on the 2024 nomination, and yet he continues to gear up to be the Democrats anointed one nonetheless by putting his stamp on a host of destructive policies that will play well with the Democrat base and allow him to sell himself as a Clinton- and Obama-esque triangulator. Let’s look at a few.
Counterproductive Get-Tough-on-Crime Policies
Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed are planning to have drug dealers charged with homicide. San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju says this will be entirely counterproductive:
Threatening to charge people with murder is unfortunately likely to result in more overdoses, as people will be afraid to call for help. A report from Fair and Just Prosecution notes that such prosecutions ‘do not alleviate the risk of fatal overdoses; are ineffective as a deterrent to drug use, drug sales, and overdose deaths; can be legally problematic and consume significant resources; often target friends and family members; and worsen racial disparities in the system.’ The Drug Policy Alliance concluded that ‘drug-induced homicide prosecutions waste resources that could be spent on effective interventions.’
Of course, the real goal might not actually be to help improve the drug overdose crisis in San Francisco. As Tim Redmond writes at 48 Hills about the failed policy:
I would like to think that Newsom and Breed know this; they are smart people with a lot of background in public policy. But that would suggest they are doing something they know will do more harm than good just to make [a] political point.
I wish I didn’t have to be this cynical.
Elsewhere, Newsom continues to back inhumane treatment of prisoners in an effort to maintain his tough-on-crime credentials. As just one example, the Ninth Circuit Court recently ruled that prisons can use solitary confinement for as long as they would like. The ruling invalidated a 2015 settlement between the state and prisoners, which limited the hours a prisoner could be in solitary confinement and restricted its use to those who pose a danger to other inmates.
Naturally, a bill in Sacramento to restrict the use of solitary confinement died at the end of the legislative session. The Sacramento Bee reported that ‘this is to allow time to “facilitate good faith negotiations” with Newsom, who vetoed a previous attempt at limiting the use of solitary in prisons.’
Cruelty to the Working Class
This is hardly anything new for Newsom, but it’s worth reviewing some of his most recent vetoes as California governor.
He vetoed a bill that would make workers who are on strike for more than two weeks eligible for unemployment benefits. Hollywood writers had been on strike for more than 100 days when the legislature passed the bill. Newsom killed it after the WGA and studios came to an agreement. The bill would have been a boon to other low-wage workers across the state, however, even if the large majority of strikes in 2022 lasted less than five days, however.
Newsom also killed a bill that would have included the roughly 300,000 housekeepers, nannies and other household staff in laws requiring health and safety protections. The wealthy governor’s stated reason is that private households cannot be regulated by the state in the same way as businesses.
An Embrace of Identity Politics Mixed with Surveillance and a Giveaway to the PMC Base
Newsom helped bring into existence this year a multilingual statewide hotline and website that encourages people to report all acts of “hate.” While California already has a criminal justice system for hate crimes, this new program, “CA vs Hate”, wants to know about all hate “incidents” as defined by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). That connection to the ADL creates a whole other set of problems, but in the meantime the program is another way to collect data on citizens and gives away hundreds of millions to the California non-profit complex tasked with servicing the hotline and providing support to “victims.”
Pandering Dangerously to Tech Industry Benefactors
Newsom, a longtime recipient of money from the tech industry, vetoed a bill that would have required a trained human safety operator to be present in self-driving trucks using public roads in the state.
According to a recent report issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), from January 2019 to June 2023, there were 612 autonomous vehicle collisions documented in California, including at least 17 reported fatal incidents (11 since May 2022).
The Newsom administration’s stated reason for vetoing the safety legislation was that it could hamper “innovation.”
Counterproductive Homelessness Solution that Blames the Homeless and Does Nothing to Address the Main Driver of the Problem
Newsom’s biggest legislative priority the past few years has been finding a way to disappear the homeless. He settled on CARE Courts that now allow family members and others (such as police) to petition someone with suspected mental illness into civil courts, where a judge would order a treatment plan and require mental health departments to provide it.
The problems with such a system are almost too numerous to list, but subjective, speculative, subject to bias, and ineffective to boot:
- Involuntary treatment does not work.
- Newsom’s plan overburdens a system already stretched thin, and with its mandated treatment, could end up prioritizing the ineffective (forced) over the effective (voluntary) treatment.
- The CARE Courts do nothing to stop people from becoming homeless. One of the biggest problems is the following: a homeless individual gets into supportive housing. Success, right? Well, in the meantime five more people have taken that one person’s place.
- The California law is not designed to actually help the homeless or stop more people from becoming homeless, which would actually require resources and/or taking on powerful interests like the private equity-dominated real estate rental market, the healthcare industry that bankrupts people, major corporations that pay poverty wages, etc. Let’s remember that 40-50 percent of people experiencing homelessness are employed. Instead these laws are simply designed to remove from view the people our society has chewed up.
- By doing nothing to stop the primary drivers of homelessness, Newsom’s plan ignores the facts that homelessness is has a major impact on mental health. Just poverty and the threat of eviction can severely damage mental health. Suddenly finding oneself living on the streets can be devastating and often leads to chemical dependencies as a coping mechanism.
- Simply calling the homeless mentally ill (and the California laws are increasingly expanding the definition of mental illness) and removing them from sight, excuses the rest of our predatory economic structure and does nothing but guarantee that mental institutions will soon be overflowing the same way our prisons are.
With all that said, what’s not to love for Democrats?
Newsom’s entire life has been devoted to being a faithful stooge for the California oligarchy. He was born into connections and used them every step of the way – from opening a wine shop in 1992 with the financial backing of friend and oil fortune heir Gordon Getty to his start in politics when his father got him appointed to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. As the Sacramento Bee wrote about Newsom’s beginnings:
Newsom’s appointment in 1997 was viewed as providing a dose of moderation to the liberal board. A 29-year-old wine and hospitality entrepreneur backed by Getty oil fortunes and the city’s political elite, he described himself as a “dogmatic fiscal conservative and a social liberal.”
Newsom shifts his positions depending on political expediency and where the money is. Through it all, he remains a leader of the “Resistance” doing all he can for the publicity on identity politics as long as it doesn’t hurt the bottom line of powerful economic interests.
With the aging out of the geriatric quartet and the complete flop of VP Kamala Harris, it looks like it’s time for the “Golden Boy” to emerge as the new leader from the incestuous cesspool of privilege that is California politics:
This is what Newsom identifies with and who he serves while in office. It surely helps Newsom that he hails from California, which by nature of giving the most money to the Democrats, plays an outsize role in the direction of the party.
Democrats of course don’t see that the problem isn’t just that Biden is old and confused, it’s the sorry quality of the political product. Replacing the senile friend of white supremacists hailing from the tax haven capital of Delaware with the younger identity politics wizard from the surveillance state doesn’t change any of that, except that Newsom could rival the tackiness of Trump:
Never forget that Kimberly Guilfoyle and her then-husband Gavin Newsom posed on a rug for a Harper’s Bazaar story calling them “The New Kennedys.” pic.twitter.com/0QxMdNv4Bw
— Ellie Hall (@ellievhall) August 25, 2020
Unfortunately for Newsom, he also bears an uncanny resemblance to Christian Bale’s portrayal of Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho.”
The only cool thing about Gavin Newsom is how much he resembles Patrick Bateman From American Psycho. pic.twitter.com/nKgUyQVuEr
— Aimee Terese (@aimeeterese) September 5, 2021
While Newsom likely isn’t a serial killer in the classic sense, his policies contribute to the premature extinguishing of many more lives. Consider a few of Newsom’s recent accomplishments:
- California has the highest functional poverty rate in the country.
- If you take into account the near-poor, more than a quarter of Californians are suffering from serious economic stress.
- 172,000 Californians are homeless.
- California ranks fourth among states for economic inequality, and the gap continues to widen.
- A fentanyl crisis continues to ravage the state. Middle and high schools are now stocking naloxone.
- An income-based life expectancy gap that grew by 4 years from 2019-2021, which means the poor now die 15.5 years sooner than the wealthy. The gap will likely be even wider now due to California’s Covid policies, which disproportionately hit low-income workers who must work in unsafe conditions or lose their job. More than 100,000 Californians have died from Covid-19.
That’s carnage that Bateman could only dream of.