Canceled DNC speech marks end of Newson’s presidential dreams

Posted on August 20, 2020 5:12 pm

Canceled DNC speech marks end of Newson’s presidential dreams

Gil Duran/Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown got it right: The job of California governor is usually a “career-ender,” not a stepping stone.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, facing an apocalyptic portfolio of multiplying crises, has learned this the hard way. The speech Newsom was scheduled to deliver at the Democratic National Convention tonight would have officially marked his transition from a potential future president to a likely future has-been.

That’s a good thing. Once Newsom accepts that he will never be president, he’ll be free to govern California without any concern for swing-state politics. He can focus on doing what’s right for California instead of attempting to triangulate his way to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Newsom probably would have used his DNC platform to regurgitate platitudes about California’s virtues. Against a backdrop of wildfires, rolling electricity blackouts and his disastrous coronavirus response, however, it would have been hard to make a good impression. That’s probably why Newsom canceled his speech at the last minute, according to multiple news reports.

Then there’s the issue of Kamala Harris. Her ascendancy on the national stage has eclipsed Newsom’s presidential hopes. No politician enjoys watching a rival succeed — and these two have long chased the same prize.

While Harris basks in the national spotlight, Newsom finds himself mired in the endlessly complicated horror of the coronavirus pandemic. California’s governor faces difficulty in every direction. Whether he likes it or not, his political future is the now least of his worries.

Newsom’s political career peaked on April 8, 2020. On that day, the term “#PresidentNewsom” trended on Twitter, thanks to the governor’s announcement — during an appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show — that California had signed a billion-dollar deal to buy masks from China.

At the time, with President Trump failing to rise to the coronavirus challenge and with New York’s COVID-19 deaths reaching horrific highs, Newsom seemed refreshingly competent. With Kamala momentarily sidelined after her disastrous presidential campaign, it was Newsom’s moment to shine.

His decisive action in the early days of the pandemic helped smash the infection curve. His use of California’s “nation state” status to procure supplies like ventilators and masks provided a stark contrast with flailing politicians elsewhere. His science-based guidelines and metrics for reopening the state with testing and contact tracing provided a national model.

For one bright moment, it seemed like Newsom might show America how to whip a deadly pandemic with strong, clear-eyed leadership. Even I — a longtime Newsom skeptic — was impressed, writing that he had now become “California’s president.”

Gavin Newsom met the moment. Then, he crumbled.

Polls showed that a resounding majority of Californians supported Newsom’s heroic efforts to protect public health, but he surrendered anyway. He rushed to reopen the state before it was safe. His shift coincided with small but vocal protests from churches, rural counties, Southern California beachgoers and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Newsom abandoned his successful strategy. As Trump pushed responsibility off to the states, Newsom mimicked him by pushing responsibility down to the counties. And as Trump mismanaged the COVID-19 crisis toward today’s 174,000-person death toll, Newsom naively sang his praises.

We are living — and dying — the consequences. California now leads the nation in coronavirus infections, with 641,000. More than 11,500 Californians have died. Those hardest hit, California’s poorest and most vulnerable communities of color, are the very people Newsom pledged to uplift during his campaign. The Central Valley, where Newsom promised to address inequality early on, is a coronavirus hotspot.

You don’t see Newsom crowing on Rachel Maddow or The Ellen DeGeneres Show these days. You don’t hear much chatter about “President Newsom” now that the “California miracle” has become the California nightmare and his top public health officials have resigned.

I feel for Newsom and his team. This isn’t the ride they expected when they took office eyeing Brown’s multibillion-dollar budget surpluses as fuel for a progressive agenda. On the other hand, Newsom pined after this job for years, making no secret of his belief that his abilities far exceeded those of other leaders.

In 2020, fate called his bluff and found him wanting. Even after the virus subsides, California faces a long climb out of hell. Newsom’s bold campaign promises appear destined for the dustbin. It’s not even clear where he stands on urgent issues like halting evictions or taxing millionaires to increase state revenue.

“He’s going to stand up in front of the Democratic National Convention and talk about what the country needs, yet this ‘nation state’ of California actually is looking at his back,” said Christina Livingston, executive director of the ACCE Institute, an advocacy group pushing Newsom to do more for poor and vulnerable communities. “He’s turned his back on us.”

That was before the governor pulled the plug on his big speech.

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Cheyanne
Cheyanne
2 years ago

Newsome’s one-size-fits all corona-virus response has harmed if not devastated millions in Calif. Here is the most genuine thing I’ve seen since Covid started. Cheers & tears for the wonderful voter locals in Shasta County who bravely showed up to speak at a Townhall. *I know all about short attention spans, It’s long. So if need be, watch a few & pause for later. You don’t want to miss any speech, including the kids begging for ‘permission’ to go school.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIkHsj1SuDA

Fred Stevens
Fred Stevens
2 years ago

Newsom murdered the elderly.

B C
B C
2 years ago

Who’s your Daddy now, POS
TRUMP 2020

JF1962
JF1962
2 years ago

Maybe had to do more with exposing his incompetence to the rest of the country.

Canntee
Canntee
2 years ago

Wow, he actually showed some sense. Terrible optics… speaking @ the convention (fiddling) while CA (Rome) burns.