Apparently running California is a part-time job.
Why else would Gov. Gavin Newsom want to debate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over migrants — the ones coming here illegally?
Newsom says he’s not positioning himself to run for president if Joe Biden doesn’t run. If that’s the case, then there’s only two possibilities. The first is Newsom has fixed everything that ails California. The other possibility is he’s bored with Sacramento and is more interested in fixing America’s ills.
Keep in mind Newsom, who is running for an apparently trivial post as governor of 39.6 million people on Nov. 8, only recently agreed to what will likely be the one and only debate against Brian Dahle, the Republican challenging him for the governorship. It takes place on Oct. 23, long after most people have started sending back mail-in ballots.
California being a one-party state means Newsom doesn’t have to debate anyone running against him for governor that is a Republican.
But for the future of California and the Democratic Party, perhaps people might want to stop parroting the assumption California is a one-party state. It’s because it is based on the assumption that all Democrats think alike as well as all Republicans think alike.
There is a reason in the 2018 primary that Newsom’s machine spent more energy undermining fellow Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa, the former Los Angeles mayor, than eventual Republican nominee John Cox.
The reason is simple. In California’s primary elections where the two top vote-getters regardless of party affiliation advance to the general election ballot, Villaraigosa represented a clear danger to Newsom’s ascension.
Villaraigosa, as a moderate, would have kept his base in the general election if he came in second and likely would have captured most of the Republican vote.
Someone who was concerned about the direction the state was taking and not whether a Republican had to be elected, would have seen Villaraigosa as the better choice from their perspective.
The danger of the Democrats continuing to use that tactic is it ultimately will split their own party.
It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. All Democrats do no walk in lock step. The realities of representing an urban coastal city in California is much different than representing the suburbs or the farm region.
This, however, has nothing to do with whether the day is coming when California will have two major parties split from the Democrats. It has everything to do with the optics.
To be clear, I do not think Florida or Texas are better governed, per se. They have different realties.
As an example, when it comes to air quality leadership in both states keep calling California “wacko” when it comes to our air quality measures. There are no dominating basins ringed on four sides by mountain ranges such as the Great Central Valley or even on three sides like the Los Angeles Basin in either Florida or Texas. The reason why Valley air pollution has been roughly halved since 1992 while the population has almost doubled has everything to do with reformulated gas, catalytic convertors, and other air quality measures.
The so-called “wacked” Air Resources Act was signed into law by Gov. Ronald Reagan. California was conferred the ability to set its own air quality standards based on its unique circumstances by a federal bill signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson who represented Texas in the US Senate before becoming vice president and then president.
What you just read may strike you as being a detour down a road that has nothing to do with Newsom calling out DeSantis to a debate or immigrants, but is isn’t.
Whether you want to admit it or not, California has a somehow different view on immigrants — including illegals — than Florida, Texas or even much of the rest of the country for that matter.
The No. 1 reason first and foremost is the fact we grow the lion’s share of fruits and vegetables this nation consumes. It’s a labor intense process that is filled by many migrants including those that are here illegally.
And because the need has gone on for years, there are many “illegal” immigrants brought here as youngsters who have been educated in California schools that are in a twilight zone. They aren’t here legally. They don’t have a clear path to citizenship. They’ve been educated to the tune of at least $130,000 by the time they graduate from high school.
The so-called DREAMers represent a huge investment and a big asset for California.
Rest assured a debate between Newsom and DeSantis on migrants won’t touch on such nuances. It’s because they are indeed California-centric issues more so than national issues. There are DREAMers — and illegal immigrants — in every state but not to the degree they are in California.
Beyond that, there is a bit of audacity in telling the voters of California all of the pressing problems of California — homeless, wildfires, drought, flood control, high-speed rail, high energy costs, transportation needs, dam safety. taxes, green power, crime, and such — can be addressed in one hour-long debate yet Newsom is willing to devote a full hour or so politically sparring with DeSantis over migrants.
That said, why limit the use of a state’s tax dollars to the question of whether they should be used to transport illegal immigrants to other states?
Why not take the debate down to its most common denominator? Simply put, it is the using the taxes paid by the taxpayers of one state to transport non-state residents to or from other states for whatever the reason might be whether it is sheltering immigrants or to secure abortions.
Newsom is correct that DeSantis was elected to govern Florida, not the United States.
But he is also guilty of the same sin. He was elected to govern California and not the United States.
It doesn’t matter where you stand on immigration or abortion but both Newsom and DeSantis are using tax dollars to undermine or call on the carpet the actions of the states.
It would be nice if Newsom bothered to at least put California first until at least after Nov. 8 passes.
As for DeSantis, he’s not our governor.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Courier or 209 Multimedia.