I’ve recently reported on how the once great state of California has been decimated under Governor Gavin Newsom’s policies.
The topic is near and dear to my heart for a simple reason: I live in this state and care about its future.
But I worry a lot of about the way things are going under Gavin Newsom these days.
The state, along with Texas and Florida, also ranks in the top three for human trafficking cases, 85% of which are comprised of sex trafficking while forced labor accounts for 15%. In 2019, 1,507 cases were reported, but that does not account for the thousands of cases that likely go unreported. These numbers were also before COVID and the flood of illegal immigrants and unaccompanied minors in the past few years that made their way to so-called sponsors or were never accounted for.
However, none of this seems to phase voters who have decided to stay in the Golden State — or for whatever reason, can’t move — but continue to support Gavin Newsom.
In 2021, California had an opportunity to oust the man who dined at the $500-a-plate restaurant French Laundry while you stayed locked in your home eating takeout.
The recall was, not surprisingly, mostly fueled by a massive dissatisfaction of how Governor Hairspray, as someone I know likes to call him, handled the COVID-19 response.
Hypocrisy aside, with all that’s gone wrong out here on the West Coast, why can’t voters get it right?
In addition to what the press reported concerning the power of the Latino vote, and the lack of good alternatives (although I’ll argue ex-mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer was as good as they come), as a longtime resident of California, I have a couple of my own theories. These of course are notably unscientific and completely observational. However, sometimes the most obvious answer is the right one.
Gavin Newsom and Culture
D.C. is built around politics. Hollywood is built around entertainment. Life imitates art here and there’s a level of — I’m not sure how else to put this — out-of-touchness with the real world. I speak from experience. As a “spiritual seeker” with an “evolved consciousness,” I thought I was above the sullied business of politics.
While California is a huge state with diversity of thought and political preference, most of its population is located along the coast in the liberal havens between San Diego and San Francisco, which is built around the tech industry. People are more concerned about getting films made and code written. Many don’t seem to correlate their vote with their experience of the day-to-day anxieties of life like gas prices and crime.
If politics is downstream from culture and culture is shaped by the industries that thrive in this state, well, it’s not hard to connect the dots of why nothing much changes.
Fantasy vs. Reality
Nowhere is the phrase “all the world’s a stage, and human beings, merely actors” more true than in California. Gavin Newsom fits that bill perfectly. Like many progressives, he speaks the rhetoric of compassion and care fit for a movie script yet instills policies that continue to fail the state and waste taxpayer dollars. There is a large gap between the fairytales of Hollywood and the reality of living on Hollywood Boulevard.
Those that make enough money to live sheltered behind gilded gates and send their kids to private schools don’t seem to be as concerned with how California spends its own funds. They have built-in protections from the devastation that many of Newsom’s policies inflict on the plebes of society.
Others, particularly in the yout- obsessed cities around Los Angeles, don’t have children at all, making it easier to suffer financial burdens solo or be impervious to public education policy.
That Weather Thing
As for those of us who can’t afford a house in the hills – or a house at all for that matter – well, many of us seem to suffer what a friend of mine calls the “Vitamin D” problem. It’s much easier to be nonchalant about some of the financial inconveniences — or, say, a homeless person defecating in front of you during your morning jog, even in the nicest parts of a town like Santa Monica — when the weather hovers around seventy and sunny during even the gloomiest parts of the year for most. SAD (or seasonal affective disorder) is real, and depression can occur when people don’t get enough sunlight, usually in the fall and winter months. This is not a problem out here on the West Coast.
Granted, it’s not a problem in Florida, either, and many did flee the Pacific for the Atlantic during the restrictive lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. However, the humidity and summertime heat in The Sunshine State can be oppressive for some. Then again, so can gas prices.
The fact is, no state is perfect and there will always be tradeoffs. At the end of the day, it’s not where you are but the people you’re with. I know many who stay in California despite all its headaches because they’ve built a career and family here, and found friendships and community.
At the end of the day, that is what matters most, no matter who’s running the show.
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor and opinion writer for 19FortyFive.com. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics, and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.