By SEAN QUINTAL
Republicans, who haven’t won a statewide election in California for 15 years, got themselves all excited over their opportunistic shot at the recall of a popular (53% approval) Democratic governor. How did that work out for them? Well, let’s look at some numbers:
As of Sept. 17, Gov. Newsom could count 31 of California’s 58 counties in his column, to include every one of the state’s major population centers. What looks to be Newsom’s 64% to 36% victory will be even more convincing than his win in 2018 over John Cox, which was the most lopsided in state history. Further, Newsom significantly improved on his winning percentage in a number of counties he won three years ago, to include Orange County. Even in Fresno County, the most populous county to vote for the recall, as of this writing, Newson is trailing by only 679 votes.
So, once again, the California Republican Party was slapped silly by the state’s voters. To understand why, it’s important to take note of the astounding success the state has enjoyed during Newsom’s tenure. Here are some basic facts to consider about how California is thriving under Newsom’s gubernatorial leadership.
Under Newson, California is a roaring economic success
Gavin Newsom is the governor of a state that is the envy not just of the U.S., but of the globe. As Matthew Winkler wrote for Bloomberg this summer:
“…California has no peers among developed economies for expanding GDP, creating jobs, raising household income, manufacturing growth, investment in innovation, producing clean energy and (generating) unprecedented wealth through stocks and bonds.”
Moreover, consider the following facts:
California is the world’s fifth largest economy. Under Newsom’s governance, over the last five years, California’s economic growth has outperformed the economies of the United States, Japan and Germany, surpassed only by China.
Gavin Newsom this year disbursed to Californians the biggest state tax rebate in American history.
The budget surplus under Newson stands at a record $80 billion.
1.3 million Californians were added to payrolls this year, far surpassing the jobs created in the next two states, Texas and New York.
Household income in California increased $164 billion, as much as the increases in Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania combined.
California’s GDP the last five years increased 21%; compare that to the number two state New York (14%), and the number three state Texas (12%).
Newsom and the Democratic state legislature have made enormous progress to improve the lives of Californians
Newsom and the legislature have doubled the size of both California’s Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Young Child Tax Credit.
The Governor has accomplished expanding paid family leave from six weeks to 12 weeks. Further, Newsom and the Democrats have added 200,000 childcare slots, and have spent $250 million to retrofit and improve childcare centers
Gov. Newsom successfully reduced childhood hunger, because now all public school students in the state may receive two free meals a day. Additionally, Newsom and the Democrats have funded summer- and after-school for 2 million kids. And, by 2025, the State will have in place a full year of transitional kindergarten for all four-year-old’s.
Newsom has invested $12 billion over two years in permanent residences and mental health care for the unhoused in California.
California has managed the pandemic more successfully than any large state
As of Sept. 1, 2021, California reports a total of 167 deaths per 100,000 residents. Compare that figure to those of the next two largest states, which both have Republican governors: 207 deaths per 100,000 in Florida, and 196 per every 100,000 people in Texas. While those differences might not appear significant, they prove that 10,000 more Californians would be dead if the state had the same rate as Texas.
The sharp contrasts in California’s favor are attributable, in large part, to Gov. Newsom’s leadership. California has urged all residents, even those fully vaccinated, to wear masks in indoor public spaces. In California, masks are required in all K-12 schools.
Florida and Texas, on the other hand, are suffering under Republican governors who have largely banned schools and municipal governments from establishing mask mandates. Consequently, Florida is in the grips of its deadliest wave of the pandemic yet, while its governor threatens to withhold funding from schools that require masks. Texas’ governor vows to punish local governments and school districts that defy his mask ban, even as he begs other states for medical personnel, because Texas’ hospital emergency rooms are having to turn away patients due to over-capacity.
Voters in California recognized all this and turned out to vote in numbers that exceeded many forecasts. The fact that the leading GOP candidate on the ballot was Trumpian blowhard Larry Elder tells us all we need to know about the current state of California’s Republican Party. In its current iteration, the state GOP is a withered shell of its former self, and now functions largely as nihilistic doomsday cult, animated by misinformation and lies, conspiracy theorizing and white grievance.
Californians chose to keep moving forward with optimism, and not backslide into bitter anger and recrimination. Given the decisive and sweeping nature of Newsom’s electoral victory, he looks poised to be reelected (again) next year, in a similarly dominant fashion.
— Sean Quintal writes on behalf of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club.