Should Gavin Newsom be recalled?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the California governor’s response, many within the state are advocating for his recall

Photo from Creative Commons

Photo from Creative Commons

The American government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been, quite frankly, awful. At best, it has been mishandled. At worst, it has been the direct cause of thousands of deaths in the very country we swore to protect. As we slowly approach the one-year lockdown milestone, the pandemic continues to weigh heavily on the lives of millions.  Each day brings an increasing amount of new cases and an increasing amount of vaccinations.

At the center of it all, California. 

California is currently the epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States. With a total of nearly 3.5 million cases and hospitals at max capacity, it’s clear that the disease has wreaked havoc on the golden state. As one would expect, many people turn desperately to California governor Gavin Newsom for leadership during this crisis. 

Recently, Newsom has come under fire from members of both parties; Democrats in California question if he is doing enough to keep people safe as he continues to prematurely lift regional stay-at-home orders and push for non-essentials such as outdoor dining. Republicans fear Newsom has gone too far and are worried that strict lockdowns are infringing upon their personal freedoms to work, go to school, and assemble in groups. It is a common worry among members of both parties that Newsom is handling the pandemic incorrectly. 

As of late, there is a growing movement to recall Newsom from office. If approved, this would remove Newsom from his post before his term is over. Simply put, he would be fired. While it is easy to blame Gavin Newsom for the immense issues our state is facing, one has to understand that up until recently, there has been little to no organized response to the virus on a national level. This left each state to handle COVID-19 on its own with no direction from the federal government. 

This is an extremely tough position to put anybody in, whether they are controlling a smaller state such as Delaware or a larger state like Texas or California. What is unique about California is that we are the largest state by population with the largest and strongest economy, making the response to the virus much more complicated. California is home to two major cities, one of which is the largest county in the U.S. by population: Los Angeles. 

Given the circumstances, Newsom has done a considerably better job than others in his position. He has prioritized saving lives and preventing mass outbreaks rather than focusing solely on returning life back to normal regardless of the safety. 

From the beginning, Newsom has shown that he can make tough choices in regards to health and safety. He has promoted social distancing, mask wearing, and shown his support for Dr. Fauci and the scientific community since the outbreak began. Newsom himself cannot force people to comply, but by standing behind such a strong message, he has shown true leadership during the pandemic. While his response has not been perfect, nobody’s has. We have no model, no examples to go off of and no help from the federal government under the Trump administration.

 In hindsight, it’s clear Newsom has made mistakes and wrong calls in certain situations, but his response to the pandemic overall truly has not been bad enough to warrant a recall from office.