Recently, Gavin Newsom has been all over national media, picking fights with prominent Republican governors of other states and pretending he’s not running for president.
Though this has given short shrift to his gubernatorial reelection, it has saved him from being forced to talk about his record running California, which has been four years of hot air and spending other people’s money and not much else.
You don’t have to take my word for it. The Sacramento Bee this past week looked at ten different promises made by Newsom as both a candidate for governor and as an incumbent. The results were not good.
First, he said he’d build 3.5 million new homes by 2025. The Bee highlighted several housing initiatives that Newsom has signed, but concludes by predicting that at this rate, “it would take nearly 30 years to reach 3.5 million.”
Newsom also campaigned on expanding gun control measures. On its face, the statement is true: he signed more laws. But what has that produced? Not only have some of the biggest gun control measures during his first term been deemed unconstitutional, but the firearm death rate between 2018, when he was elected, and 2020, actually jumped 13%, according to data collected by the CDC. For what it’s worth, homicides increased 25% over the same period.
How about his push to lower prescription drug costs? “His most ambitious plans have yet to materialize,” wrote the Bee, adding that costs have actually increased.
Newsom endorsed a single-payer healthcare system, which of course has not materialized. He promised to overhaul the state’s approach to wildfire prevention, which is apparently Newsomspeak for grossly exaggerating how much progress he’d made – a fact Capital Public Radio uncovered in a 2021 report.
Newsom said he’d end chronic homelessness, yet the issue is as bad as ever. By the last count, in 2020, homelessness had reached a high of 160,000 on any given night. This claim was particularly odd considering he made a similar promise as Mayor of San Francisco, which also failed to end homelessness.
Newsom said he’d put California on a path to 100% renewable energy – which I’m sure delights everyone who was forced to ration energy this summer when the state was suffering an unbearable heat wave. At least the governor came to his senses and decided to keep the state’s lone nuclear power plant open for a bit longer.
He promised to leave no one behind in his COVID recovery. Of course, no one turned out to be lots of people, including all of the students who suffered massive learning loss as a result of school closures. I could go on, but in a state-by-state comparison, Politico found that California’s pandemic response ranked 28th nationally.
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And Newsom said he’d eliminate child poverty in California. It takes a special kind of delusion to even utter a statement like that, or as the Bee put it: “His stated goal of ‘eliminating child poverty’ may be too ambitious to ever truly achieve.”
The only area measured by the Bee where Newsom might have kept his promise is on abortion. Under his leadership, California went from what was already one of the least restrictive and made it even less restrictive and is set to become a “haven” for women seeking abortions throughout the country.
A recent Berkeley/IGS poll found that Newsom’s abortion haven plan is popular with the electorate. But purely as a matter of policy, it means that one of his biggest successes benefits non-Californians, while his promises to Calfornians have fallen flat.
With all of that in mind, it’s not surprising Newsom seems to be campaigning everywhere but California.
Follow Matt on Twitter @FlemingWords