Nervous Newsom: Democrats should worry about what recall election means for 2022

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

California’s Governor Newsom sounds worried. His recall election was supposed to be a walk in the park. Instead it seems to be turning into a bit of a nightmare. A poll published earlier this week showed that Californians were almost evenly split between those who still support Newsom and those who want to see him go. Newsom has clearly seen the numbers and now he sounds a bit shaken. He gave an interview to the editorial boards of four California papers in which he warned that his loss could be a sign of more losses to come for Democrats in 2022:

If California Gov. Gavin Newsom is recalled, he predicted the effects would be felt “all across the country” for “many, many years,” arguing Thursday in an interview with McClatchy’s California editorial boards that it could boost Republican chances in the 2022 midterms…

“If this was a successful recall, I think it would have profound consequences nationwide, and go to not just politics, but to policy and policymaking.”

Newsom is predicting that if his recall is successful then the process could be weaponized against other leading Democrats. And even if it doesn’t lead to more recalls, his replacement could be more favorable to Republicans in a way that could impact the 2022 congressional elections. Republicans only need to pick up a handful of seats to gain control of the House.

In the same conversation, Newsom defended his record on homelessness, crime and education. On the crime front, California is seeing the same surge of shootings and murders that is happening across the rest of the country. In LA the number of people shot is up nearly 60 percent compared to last year. In San Francisco, a midyear report showed shootings were double what they were last year. Burglary, car break-ins and auto theft are also up this year. Gov. Newsom has some personal experience with the crime in San Francisco. A wine shop he co-owns in the city was broken into yesterday for the fourth time this year.

While police did not identify what shop was broken into, a spokesperson confirmed to the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday that PlumpJack Wine and Spirits, the wine shop owned by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, was the target…

Gavin Newsom’s wine shop in the Cow Hollow neighborhood has been subject to multiple break-ins over the course of the pandemic, including three other attempts this year alone, SFPD spokesman Adam Lobsinger told the Chronicle.

In any case, Newsom sounds almost resigned the possibility that his run as governor could end in a few weeks:

“If they kick me out. I’m gonna feel good about what we just did, and not ever regret a damn thing,” he said. “We put it all out there on this education budget.”…

“I‘m a future ex-governor. It could happen in a few weeks, it could happen in a few years, but I love this damn state,” he said. “The California dream … I think is still alive and well.”

He’s still leading in the polls if only slightly but the fact that California is moving toward more COVID restrictions right now (masks are already back in LA County) probably isn’t helping. Newsom’s somewhat resigned tone makes me wonder if he’s seen some internal polling that is as bad or worse than what the public has seen. He really sounds like someone trying to rationalize an impending loss. Here’s an edited portion of the interview with Newsom. Probably not a coincidence that he’s taking this opportunity to reject the “defund the police” movement.

But it’s not just big policy issues that are driving the recall. Some of this is personal to Newsom who has repeatedly gotten into trouble for his elitist attitude, most famously with the French Laundry debacle last year. Just this week he got in trouble again for sending his kids to a summer camp that doesn’t require masks. Newsom claimed ignorance but his denial is somewhat dubious because all parents were informed by email about the camp’s mask policy.

Finally, here’s Larry Elder claiming Newsom is “scared to death.” Elder says many Californians are just fed up.