LOS ANGELES (AP) – A fading coronavirus crisis and an astounding surprise tax dollar amount has led to reshuffles in the upcoming California elections, allowing Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsome to talk about ending most COVID-19 restrictions and propose billions of new spending as he looks to fend off Republicans who portray him as a dude loser.
The governor spent much of 2020 advocating for quick fixes in the midst of a pandemic that has angered many business owners and residents. But as of late, he seems to have been steadily moving forward in anticipation of the inevitable elections this fall.
With more than $ 100 billion in cash surplus in his budget this week, he crossed the state to unveil a series of proposals that are sure to make many voters smile: $ 12 billion to fight homelessness; checks up to $ 1,100 worth of millions of low- and middle-income people who have experienced isolation; $ 2.7 billion in free kindergarten attendance for all 4-year-olds in the state; and hundreds of millions to help small businesses recover from the economic downturn.
Its budget, released on Friday, was loaded with initiatives endorsed by its progressive base, including $ 7.2 billion in outstanding rent and utility bills and $ 300 million in traffic write-offs and other fines for low-income residents. … It also allocated $ 35 million to encourage local universal basic income programs and money to provide Medicaid benefits to people age 60 and older living illegally in the country.
As the threat of the virus diminishes, the economy recovers and Californians return to business as usual, Republican candidates will need to highlight policy differences on issues such as taxes and homelessness, rather than relying on long-standing grievances over restrictions and the pandemic. said Tim Rosales, a GOP veteran. a strategist waiting for a review.
As conditions improve in the state, he said, “it’s harder and harder to maintain this level of … anger” during the worst days of the pandemic, acknowledging Newsom is “on the right trajectory in terms of his ratings.”
The Newsom team’s goal is not just to survive feedback. They are aiming to appoint a governor for the proposed re-election campaign in 2022, which will begin immediately after the recall and, not least, will return his name to the nationwide discussion about potential candidates for the White House.
At its best for the governor, the comeback storyline could even help Newsom discredit the image popularized by his GOP gubernatorial rivals from the smartening-up lightweight.
Republican businessman John Cox mocks Newsom as a “pretty boy.” Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer says the race is “between genuine and fake.”
On Wednesday, Falconer put forward his own attention-grabbing proposal: the elimination of state income taxes for individuals with income under $ 50,000 and households under $ 100,000, which could find widespread voter support in a state where taxes seem to go steadily in one direction: above.
Newsom was elected in 2018 in a landslide landslide on Cox, but his popularity has fallen as he battled public unrest over prolonged school and business closures during the pandemic, the aftermath of the billion-dollar unemployment benefit scandal, and embarrassment from – for his decision to attend a lavish event. a birthday dinner at an exclusive restaurant in November, while residents are encouraged to stay home for safety reasons.
Expect Republicans to continue attacking his image – he remains chained to the French laundry rout. In one night in this restaurant with lobbyists and friends, he managed to reinforce three disgusting stereotypes about politicians – hypocrisy, elitism, and the smell of inappropriate backroom deals. He later apologized for what he called a “serious mistake.”
While Newsom has dominated the race narrative all week – the economy is “going backwards,” he told reporters in Los Angeles – a sudden spike in virus cases or another epic bushfire season will experience it again. And schools can also be a vulnerable flank. California is losing out to other states in getting children back to class, which Republicans repeat at every turn.
The leading GOP candidates in the race start off at a disadvantage in heavily Democratic California, where registered Democrats outnumber GOP voters by nearly 2: 1. The Republican candidate has not won the nationwide race since 2006, when Arnold Schwarzenegger won re-election after taking your post as a result of a review.
Newsom’s team worked for months to link the recall to Republicans, supporters and operatives of former President Donald Trump, who is generally unpopular in California outside of his GOP base.
For Newsom, one of his strengths as a candidate was vividly demonstrated this week: he used the power of his office to dominate the public scene when he performed in San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland and Central Valley, among other venues.
Cox, meanwhile, is campaigning with the bear to gain public attention. He criticized Newsom on Friday for the spike in spending: “We need to cut taxes and make California more affordable, not increase the size of our government,” he said.
Reality personality and former Olympic champion Caitlyn Jenner has so far seemed more curious than a rival, barely registering in a recent poll. On Friday, she tweeted that “California should be completely open by now!”
Falconer’s biggest problem comes to light outside of his hometown of San Diego. He said he intends to campaign in communities across the state where voters are looking for “someone who really has experience … who can bring positive change and reform.”
Thad Kusser, professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, said a lot will have changed by the time voters go to the polls. Will massive investment in homelessness change? Will Newsom have another self-inflicted wound like in a French laundry?
“Now the recall is not in the hands of the governor or his supporters. It’s all about the direction of the state, ”he said. “What really matters is where we are in the fall.”