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Gavin Newsom: The Worst Governor in America?

Gavin Newsom
Governor Gavin Newsom speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. Image Credit: Gage Skidmore.

Has Gavin Newsom Ruined California? He’s a popular governor, at least for people who decide to live in California. Gavin Newsom’s approval rating stands at 58 percent. However, others who have migrated from the state believe woke policies and politics have damaged their former home, high crime and drug use, unsustainable levels of homelessness, and unaffordable housing, not to mention a tax burden that kills household spending and stifles innovative business practices.

Just ask billionaire Elon Musk, who disembarked for greener pastures in Texas. The state also lost a U.S. House of Representatives seat for the first time.

Get Out of California

At least 500,000 people have left the state in the last two years.

More residents are allowed to work remotely from anywhere, so they have looked at all of the problems in California and uprooted for locations around the country that have favorable laws and policies. Texas is a popular destination as is Florida, which has no personal income tax.

Nevada and Utah are seeing more Californians coming in who are looking for cheaper housing and a better quality of life. Newsom is governing a shrinking state.

Covid-19 Police State

Gavin Newsom also instituted some of the most draconian anti-liberty policies during the Covid-19 pandemic, with never-ending lockdowns, vaccine passports, business closures, and no in-person schooling.

Gavin Newsom Touts California as a Liberal Oasis

The governor seems impervious to bad news and criticism. He has won an award for education reform and is battling Florida and Texas in the culture wars by touting California as the best state for individual freedoms for access to abortion and friendliness to the LGTBQ community. He thinks the California brand of progressivism is the best way to govern and he has run ads in both states to tout this philosophy. But despite these claims, Californians are leaving.

Education Suffered Under Lockdowns

And the people who stay are frustrated by the Gavin Newsom school lockdowns that hurt learning and educational achievement. Even the liberal Brookings Institution conducted research that found K-12 students suffered under the closures. The study concluded that national “test-score gaps between students in low-poverty and high-poverty elementary schools grew by approximately 20 percent in math and 15 percent in reading.” The gap was the worst in California.

Never-ending Crime Hurts Californians

Soft on crime district attorneys in large cities around the state are not prosecuting crimes that have led to social dysfunction and homelessness, dirty streets, and rampant drug use. This has resulted in more violent crime too. Los Angeles had an increase of 36.1 percent in murders from 2019 and 2020 and a further 13.7 percent growth in homicides from 2020 to 2021. This is the second highest rate in the country, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

Ranking Last Is Becoming a Regular Occurrence

The conservative Hoover Institution has blasted Newsom for his failing policies. “California continues to be near the bottom in the rankings of all states in terms of traffic congestion, poverty, school performance, air and water quality, and infrastructure,” the think tank said in a report.

People Can’t Afford to Live There

High costs in housing have made the state unlivable for the middle class. The median home price is $600,000. The state ranks 49th in housing affordability. Only 20 percent of the population can afford to own their homes. This problem has worsened under Newsom, even though he has repeatedly promised to solve it.

Governor Leaves Some Residents Stranded

Newsom also has an arrogant and self-righteous governing style.

He often claims he is a man of the people, but he can show callous disregard for his constituents’ wellbeing. During the recent snow and rainstorms that plagued parts of the state creating power outages and stranded residents, Newsom inexplicably left the state on personal travel.

Recall Effort Failed

He has been recalled, although to his credit, his supporters came out in droves in 2021 to handily beat back the recall challenge in a referendum. But this shows he still has numerous people who despise his rule.

Sure to Run for President

Despite all of these problems, Gavin Newsom still has national ambitions and is often mentioned as a presidential hopeful, although he has repeatedly said that he would not challenge President Joe Biden in a primary in 2024.

Gavin Newsom is likely to run for the White House in 2028 and it remains to be seen what record he will run on. California has numerous drawbacks that have happened under his watch. The state is struggling and people are voting with their feet. There are so many problems, it is difficult to pin down the number one downside to living in California – it’s likely a combination of the high cost of living, crime, and homelessness.

Newsom appears to ignore these issues and if he doesn’t succeed in mitigating them, he could find that a national run for president is harder than it looks.

Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.

Written By

Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.



  1. Rick

    March 16, 2023 at 3:18 pm

    Did Sarah Hunkabeef miss your extensive search?

  2. Scott

    March 16, 2023 at 10:04 pm

    I guess that means you aren’t moving to California. Maybe Idaho is more your speed, or Mississippi, very hands off government, and 50th in all categories.

  3. Richard Ainsley

    March 17, 2023 at 1:57 am

    Why is it that we have a housing shortage in the San Francisco Bay Area if so many folks are leaving? I think your data are either bad or do not represent what is happening in Northern California.

    Personally, I would love to see fewer folks in California, but that does not seem to ever happen.

  4. greg fox

    March 17, 2023 at 3:44 pm

    Don’t know why Gavison can’t take a personal trip. Ted Cruse did the same thing when all the power went out in Texas. What’s your point? Neither Ted Cruse or Gavison had anything to do with causeing those events and there are plenty of people in charge of public services that are handling the events.

  5. April Moore

    March 17, 2023 at 5:09 pm

    I loved California when I moved here 13 years ago, and it saddens me to see what it has become. I am looking forward to being back in Florida by the end of the year.

  6. Don

    March 17, 2023 at 10:56 pm

    Such MAGA nonsense. And I do thank you. Please, all right wingers — stop watching Fox for a minute read the article. If you don’t live in California, don’t come here. If you do live in California, take Mr. Eastwood’s warning and leave as soon as possible — any Red state will be much better for you.

  7. Charles Apperson

    March 18, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    So, the people who are voting for this man support corruption, coercion, and abuse of power at all cost? It isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue. This is about a crook that is still in office.

  8. Stuntman

    March 18, 2023 at 6:20 pm

    I am no fan of the arrogant Gavinor, but you have a PhD? From where? This article reads like it was written by a high school junior.

    In those 2 years you cite 500,000 people leaving, 750,000 immigrated, for a net gain of almost a quarter of a million residents. That net gain is 10% of the entire population of MAGA-hellhole Mississippi.

    You denigrate the “anti-freedom” Covid measures taken, but on a per capita basis, you are 56% more likely to die of Covid in “freedom loving” Florida than California. Maybe you don’t think lives are terribly important; that’s the kind of attitude that make a really poor infantry officer.

    Citing a 54.7% GROWTH rate in murders from 2020 to 2022 is misleading: in 2020. California was 27th in murder rate by state (I invite you to check out the top 5, all over 10 per 100,000). Even after applying the rate 54.7% increase, that puts California at 8.6/100,000, not anywhere near Louisiana.

    NO governor is flying rescue helicopters during natural disasters, so saying “he” left them stranded is childish. Are the optics bad? Yes.

    Newsom was most definitely NOT recalled. He won the recall election by approximately 3 million votes.

    As I said, I am no fan and when (not if) he runs for president, I almost certainly will not vote for him. However, if you turned this into me in a high school civics class, you’d be lucky to get a C.

  9. Eric

    March 18, 2023 at 8:57 pm

    This state used to be a nice place to live in the 70’s when we had Reagan in office and it wasn’t such a liberal bunghole… Now gayvin Grewsome seems to be nailing the coffin shut on any semblance of sanity in the state and as well as his planned white house run…God help us…all you anti California a holes out there better take heed and keep this arseclown out of the fed head picture

  10. denmar

    March 19, 2023 at 10:04 pm

    Progressivism is an insane asylum without walls.

  11. Desdishado

    March 20, 2023 at 6:11 am

    California – once the Golden State.
    Now, just a tarnished brass spittoon!

  12. Carmichael Joe

    March 20, 2023 at 7:57 am

    I find it so hard to believe that newsom is still Govenor of calif.he’s so self-serving & egotistical. He has NO moral values, does not care in the slightest about the people who reside in California.

  13. Herman Irizarry

    March 20, 2023 at 5:39 pm

    This attack on an excellent Governor takes the cake. What would you rather have something like we have in NAZI Floriduh with Fuhrer DeSantis? NO THANK YOU.
    Your rhetoric is disgusting and has absolutely NO BASIS. Maybe Sarah Huckabee is more of your liking with her right wing lying bullcrap. I am so tired of you “conservatives” always finding fault with Progressive States while the Fascists continue to take over other States like Floriduh.

  14. Harden

    March 20, 2023 at 5:52 pm

    Newsom is so close to being a Joe Biden clone. Both have done all they can to make our current energy cost so much that their new higher cost Green Energy looks doable.

  15. Jim Hilson

    March 20, 2023 at 10:39 pm

    The article is correct. Newsom is a fiasco. To avoid being recalled he confused votors and made it a Newsom versus a single Republican candidate in may voters eyes. The first question was to recall him. Yes or no. The second question was If #1 was yes then who should replace him. question 2 was only valid if question 1 was yes.
    He has turned billions of dollars in surplus (why are we taxed so much to create this surplus?) into billions of dollars in deficit. He has done little for the homeless. Hehas created energy disasters. He has raised gas taxes for roads and handed EV users a free ride by delaying the taxes to those users, then decrees that gas cars will not be sold in the future while we have an energy emergency that creates alack of available power to our homes and businesses. Then he bans gas appliances while the same electricity issue remains in place.
    He allows criminals to run free to commit more crimes and downgrades felonies to a slap on the wrist while letting convicted felons rto get out of prison early.
    A walking disaster.

  16. Frank Forsey

    March 21, 2023 at 4:29 pm

    RIP California. Are there any honest Americans left in California? If you are one, make yourself known and refute woke lies and BLM thieves who spent donations on houses for themselves.

  17. Lee

    March 22, 2023 at 9:24 pm

    The Problem with CA is that too man conservatives left. They essentially left the state to Ultra-Liberals. Voting with your feet is the wrong way to go. Stay and vote like I am doing.

  18. GreenWing

    March 23, 2023 at 12:09 am

    The record he’ll run on is clear. “I have brilliant ideas. I just need more of America’s money to make them work.” Just like communists who believe communism only failed because the whole world wasn’t communist.

  19. Gary

    March 23, 2023 at 11:27 pm

    Herman, you are part of the cancer that has ruined CA. Excellent governor, what a joke. Horrible electric grid, even with spending $37B a year on water management we’re either in a drought or a flood (no management; that’s the group that is supposed to fix issues before they are emergencies), homelessness, crime, taxes all at an all time high. You, are part of the cancer that has ruined CA.

  20. Larry Lovelace

    March 24, 2023 at 9:24 am

    I was born and bred in Ca. and in 2022 all 17 members of our extended fmily sold our homes and moved away from our once beloved Ca., now a liberal haven, over taxed, always new fees, gasoline prices are ridiculous since Ca. is awash in oil and yet won’t mqrket it. So we are now all in new homes, new jobs and WAY WAY cheaper cost of living.

  21. mike mcadams

    March 24, 2023 at 12:49 pm

    California had a Billion $ + surplus the year of the recall. Newsome immediately rebated $1100 to each taxpayer to buy back his job. I thought you only needed to buy a political office once, when you are first elected. Looks like a new trend is emerging. As some have stated in this thread homelessness, drug abuse and distribution, crime and in addition, general awareness of fire, flood and landslide issues have been ignored for years both at the local and state govenment levels.

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