Is Gavin Newsom Pivoting to the Center?

Is Gavin Newsom Pivoting to the Center?

Governor of California Gavin Newsom attends a press conference in Beijing on Oct. 25, 2023. (Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images)

Christian Milord

Christian Milord


Updated: 12/21/2023

In recent weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed a number of legislative bills to the consternation of many folks on the left. He claims that many of these vetoes are the result of budgetary constraints related to the 2023–2024 fiscal year.
Is he vetoing 15 percent of these Democrat-led bills due to the state deficit, or is Mr. Newsom rejecting several bills because he wants to be palatable to voters if he runs for higher office? In other words, are his flip-flops based on Mr. Newsom experiencing a conversion or are they due to political expediency? It’s more likely the latter, such as his about-face from “reimagining” (defunding) the police in 2020 to a call for greater law enforcement due to spikes in crime.
Mr. Newsom has reiterated his support for regulating the cannabis industry, and he refused to sign a bill that would distribute condoms to all of the state’s public high schools. He is right on these counts, but he still pushes plenty of leftist causes.
If the budget were balanced or had a surplus, would he have vetoed these original directives? Instead of encouraging promiscuity in high schools, isn’t it appropriate to teach comprehensive health and delayed gratification to students? Immature sexual experimentation can often lead to diseases, school dropouts, heartbreak, and unwanted pregnancies for folks who aren’t ready for commitments and mature relationships. High school students ought to be studying, developing character, and thinking about careers and higher education.
Mr. Newsom also signed a bill to give raises to healthcare workers. This action might make sense since healthcare occupations are challenging, have legal requirements, and emphasize compassion. He also signed a bill that would forbid landlords from charging two- or three-months’ rent in advance for tenants who rent apartments. Many landlords charge first and last month’s rent, which can be burdensome to many renters who can’t afford a large down payment.
A "for rent" sign is displayed outside an apartment building in Los Angeles on Sept. 22, 2022. (Allison Dinner/Getty Images)

A "for rent" sign is displayed outside an apartment building in Los Angeles on Sept. 22, 2022. (Allison Dinner/Getty Images)

When renters move out of an apartment, they receive the balance of the down payment minus any apartment damages. It’s probably more reasonable to require tenants to pay the first month down and sign a lease with stipulations such as reliable monthly payments, noise limits, and expected behavior toward guests and other tenants.
While Mr. Newsom has vetoed some bills, he continues to endorse anti-freedom policies that adversely impact Californians. For example, he would like to rewrite the Second Amendment to make it more difficult for law-abiding adults to possess firearms. If he had researched authoritarian regimes, he’d find that one of the first steps toward tyranny occurs when the ruling elites take away the people’s right to defend themselves. As a result, decent citizens become powerless vis a vis criminals and the powerful state.
Next, Mr. Newsom, along with Attorney General Rob Bonta and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, have continued to promote Marxist-inspired critical race theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion in key state institutions. These are distorted ideologies regarding history and human nature due to their fixation on color, ethnicity, gender, and race instead of individual character and merit.
Third, these three officials and transgender activists have called for public libraries and schools to inject more LGBT curricular materials into their spaces in order to allegedly protect vulnerable students. These policies are often carried out without adequate input from the community and parents. Instead of focusing on a quality education, taxpayer dollars are wasted on reading materials that are inappropriate for minors and take precious time away from rigorous teaching and learning.
Donated LGBT books are displayed in the library at Nystrom Elementary School in Richmond, Calif., on May 17, 2022. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Donated LGBT books are displayed in the library at Nystrom Elementary School in Richmond, Calif., on May 17, 2022. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Fourth, Mr. Newsom could allow California to be energy independent as I wrote in a prior commentary piece, but the thicket of regulations and taxes have made it difficult for oil companies to extract, refine and distribute fossil fuels. They have to jump through several hoops to provide energy to the state, which causes fuel prices to remain persistently high due to free market obstacles.
Fifth, Mr. Newsom’s misplaced priorities failed to provide enough resources for fire suppression and critical infrastructure such as aging bridges, roads, aqueducts, and reservoirs. Over the past three-plus years, far too much funding was diverted to excessive pandemic mandates, high-speed rail, and housing-first homeless policies that exacerbated crime and homelessness.
Sixth, Mr. Newsom has consistently advocated for raising the minimum wage far too often. The minimum wage isn’t meant to be a long-term wage, but rather a steppingstone to upward mobility through experience and training. Raising it too high translates into rising business costs which trigger cost of living increases for consumers. Isn’t it up to employers to decide on realistic minimum wage hikes?
Seventh, while it’s acceptable to visit Israel to comfort the victims of a horrific Oct. 7, 2023, why is Mr. Newsom suddenly so interested in democracy and border sovereignty abroad while he erodes democracy, prosperity, and lawfulness in California? Let’s hope he didn’t lecture the Israelis on how to respond “proportionately” to the Hamas atrocity. President George W. Bush wasn’t constrained by America’s allies following Sept. 11, 2001, when he pursued Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
In addition, despite pleas to stay home, Mr. Newsom is on a week-long tour of China to discuss climate change, zero-emission policies, and trade. Perhaps in his alternate universe, Mr. Newsom believes he can influence the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to agree on going green through memorandums of understanding. It’s more likely that communist leaders will make promises only to break them. Indeed, the CCP wants the world to go green while China maintains a voracious appetite for cheap fossil fuels that isn’t letting up.
In short, Mr. Newsom rarely pivots to the center or to common sense values unless he must. Unsurprisingly, he repeats the same mistakes over and over, since he has a special place in his heart for socialist policies. Consequently, large numbers of Californians are exiting the state and heading to pro-liberty states.
Christian Milord

Christian Milord


Christian Milord is an Orange County, California-based educator, U.S. Coast Guard veteran, and writer. He graduated from the University of Winnipeg and received his M.S. in education administration at California State University–Fullerton (CSUF). He mentors students at CSUF and participates in library literacy programs.

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