by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Not a week had gone by after the midterm elections before California governor Gavin Newsom’s presidential possibilities were being talked up. A Republican consultant even suggested Joe Biden ask for Kamala Harris’ resignation and appoint Newsom as his vice-president. Biden could then either resign himself, leaving Newsom president, or position him to run as semi-incumbent in 2024.
No matter what turns the journey takes, there will be a train wreck at the station.
Don’t be fooled by the governor’s margin of victory this year (59-41) and in 2018 (62-38). He has done nothing in his public life that recommends him for the presidency. Popular, yes, competent, no.
Before he was elected governor, Newsom was San Francisco’s mayor. In 2004, his first year in office, he said he would end homelessness there within a decade. Either the promise was broken, or it was empty. Homelessness grew worse during Newsom’s tenure, rising from 5,404 in 2005 to 5,669 in 2011.
His failure to eliminate homelessness wasn’t due to bad luck. It was a case of poor judgment. Newsom leaned heavily on the government responses of the past that have never been successful. As evidenced by the state homeless crisis that has grown exponentially worse under his governorship, heaping more money into failed programs doesn’t make them work better.
It’s not just his failure to resolve homelessness that renders Newsom unfit to lead. The totality of his policy portfolio strongly suggests he’s ill-equipped. His record is one of mismanagement and neglect (at best), supporting energy policies that are flawless for virtue-signaling but disastrous as a matter of reality and practicality; refusing to ease the taxpayers’ burden or lift the heavy yoke of regulation on business; doing little to relieve the state’s housing crisis, improve its failing public education system, or promote economic freedom.