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A new poll shows Gavin Newsom’s approval rating has plummeted 18 points in just a few months, down to 46 percent. While you might wonder how it isn’t single digits by now, one analyst called this “the market sign of real vulnerability” as many voters are just becoming aware of the Recall. Even 31 percent of Democrats either support the Recall or are open to it.
Therefore, the Recall is neither a sure bet nor a pipe dream. It will be a great debate. And many voters will naturally ask: if it succeeds, what comes next?
Removing Gavin Newsom will not solve California’s problems all at once. But his failures do offer a roadmap. I’ve described Newson’s worst-in-the-nation COVID response with eight adjectives: self-promotional, lawless, corrupt, unscientific, incompetent, partisan, hypocritical, and neglectful. These qualities put everything that has gone wrong with our politics on such stark display that their repudiation can set us on the opposite road we need to travel.
Humility. The opposite of Newsom’s self-promotional mode of governance is one of humility. This means humility not only in the conduct of the state’s chief executive, but in the role of the government itself. It means remembering that every action we take has legitimacy only by the consent of the people we represent. It means restoring power to local institutions that know their communities best.
The Rule of Law. The opposite of Newsom’s lawless mode of governance is one that respects the rule of law. That means recognizing that written words are binding on those in positions of power. It means restoring a proper separation of powers and respecting the Constitution’s limits on government authority.
The Public Interest. The opposite of Newsom’s corrupt mode of governance is one dedicated to the public interest. This requires defusing the power of the lobbyists and Special Interests who control his every move.
Accountability. The opposite of Newsom’s unscientific mode of governance is one that is informed by facts and accountable for its outcomes. Just as Newsom’s political interests led him to dismiss science in responding to COVID-19, policymaking at the Capitol often proceeds in a willfully ignorant manner.
Citizen Service. The opposite of Newsom’s incompetent mode of governance is an approach based on customer service. This means a new business-oriented paradigm for agencies like the EDD and DMV that is modern, performance-based, and geared towards serving Californians.
Transparency. The opposite of Newsom’s hypocritical approach to governance is to make the actions of our elected officials transparent to the public. This means eliminating perks like the secret DMV office and rooting out the many undemocratic practices at our Capitol.
Unity. The opposite of Newsom’s partisan approach to governance is one based on bringing people together. This means advancing principles of good government to solve our state’s fundamental problems and restore public trust.
Responsibility. The opposite of Newsom’s neglectful approach to governance is one that is mindful of our responsibilities. Satisfying immediate political demands has long been the way of the Capitol. We need a new model of political leadership based on durable stewardship of the public good.
I recently spoke with a Recall volunteer named Lori who’s worked every weekend for months to collect 1,782 signatures, calling it the “most important volunteer work of my life.” The heroic efforts of Lori and so many like her have given us an extraordinary opportunity. These next few months could set our state on a new course, with no limit as to what we can achieve.
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