Democrat governors nationwide have failed to effectively manage the coronavirus pandemic in their states, leading to nursing home death cover-ups, economic devastation, and jaw-droppingly hypocritical scandals.
Here in California, Gavin Newsom has failed leadership test after leadership test, offering a rudderless, illogical COVID-19 response that has done overwhelming damage to Golden State families and the state’s economy. As the rest of the nation starts to gain momentum as we recover from COVID-19, Newsom is actively holding Californians back.
Newsom’s harshest-in-the-nation lockdowns destroyed California’s economy, and his policies look increasingly wrong-headed as more research suggests that lockdowns actually did very little in stemming the spread of COVID-19. California now has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation, while less than half of the jobs lost during the pandemic have returned.
This state has the highest poverty rate in the nation, and more than a quarter of the nation’s homeless population reside here. California families are feeling the impact of Newsom’s failures on a tangible, day-to-day basis. The Golden State’s average home cost just surpassed $800,000 for the first time as the state becomes increasingly unaffordable for the middle class; meanwhile, California’s highest-in-the-nation gas tax is set to rise again on July 1.
Job creators are no better off. More than 19,000 California small businesses have closed their doors for good during the pandemic. Newsom’s mistakes have affected large-scale job creators as well: Companies like Oracle, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Tesla have recently announced they will be leaving California for more business-friendly states.
This is a top-to-bottom disaster, and the responsibility lies squarely at Newsom’s feet.
This is the exact opposite of what we need as the nation finally turns the corner against COVID-19. Thanks to Operation Warp Speed, President Donald Trump’s hugely successful vaccine development program, we now have the upper hand against the virus. Comparing Newsom’s approach with the Republican approach, Californians witnessed a stark contrast between lockdowns and success. With programs like the Paycheck Protection Program, which saved more than 6.5 million California jobs, Republicans offered common-sense solutions to protect citizens and small businesses from the pandemic.
Democrats like Newsom, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris offered nothing but division and economic ruin.
Newsom’s failures are especially damning when compared to the strong leadership of Republican governors in other large states. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis took a measured approach to managing the pandemic, which balanced protecting vulnerable citizens with preserving personal freedom and protecting small businesses. The result? Florida has become a success story as the pandemic comes to an end and has now fully reopened.
The numbers don’t lie: Republican-led states nationwide are leading the way in recovering from COVID-19. Seventeen of the 20 states with the most jobs recovered post-COVID have Republican governors; 12 out of the 15 states with the lowest unemployment rates nationwide do, too. In fact, the average unemployment rate in red states is almost two points lower than that of Democrat states. If he finds a moment between trips to the French Laundry, Newsom ought to pay attention to these trends.
He is presiding over a true economic crisis that is leaving Californians behind, just as red-state neighbors pick up steam. Newsom has offered a master class in failed leadership throughout his time in office, and Californians deserve better.
Ronna McDaniel is chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.