LOS ANGELES - One month to go.
One month until September 14, the final day to vote in the recall election of Gavin Newsom.
And as ballots are currently being mailed to California voters, the campaign is now in full swing.
To discuss the state of the race, as well as some of the most pressing issues of the campaign, Elex Michaelson is joined on The Issue Is this week by Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Caitlyn Jenner, and political strategists Bob Shrum (D) and Mike Murphy (R).
THE ISSUE IS: HOMELESSNESS
BACKGROUND: According to data collected in early 2020, California is home to more than 160,000 homeless residents. That number is expected to have only risen in the midst of the pandemic. As Governor Newsom has set aside an additional $12 billion in his "California Comeback" plan to combat the problem, how would Governor Jenner combat the crisis?
JENNER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "The homeless crisis in California has become such an industry... You see Gavin Newsom, what does he do, he throws money at the issue and then to special interests and then that's the end of it. Special interests, as far as homeless, have done a horrible job - they are in it for their own salaries. If you look at some of the top "nonprofits," 90% of the money that they take in is towards the nonprofit - only about 10% of the money sent to them is actually going to the homeless. I want the California taxpayer to get a good return on their investment, and they are not getting a good return on their investment, not even close when it comes to this. Plus, special interest, if they solve the homeless issue, they don't have a job anymore, so there's no incentive to do that. The next round of budgeting would determine by the results that they get, is their program actually working to solve the homeless problem... We're going to go with the organizations that actually gets results."
THE ISSUE IS: RUNNING IN THE RECALL RACE
BACKGROUND: When California voters go to cast their ballots in the Gubernatorial recall, they’ll be asked two questions. First, should Governor Newsom be recalled? Second, if he is recalled, who should replace him? On that second question, while Jenner maintains the highest name-recognition, she is running behind the likes of syndicated radio host Larry Elder, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and businessman John Cox.
JENNER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "When I came into this campaign, I made it a national campaign... When you go to Sacramento, you have to have political power. I have political power. I think they're afraid of me because of that, because I do have a national platform... I wonder about Larry Elder - he's been around, obviously I know Larry, but he's very hard Right. I think for California, what they're looking for is a person that is more center-right and that is me. I call myself an 'Inclusive Republican.' Why am I a Republican? Because I have conservative economic values - less taxes, less regulations, pro-business environment. But on the social issues, I'm also inclusive to all people... We have a large group of undecideds, and they're mostly Democrats…"
THE ISSUE IS: GOVERNOR NEWSOM’S CHANCES
BACKGROUND: This week, with the recall election only weeks away, Governor Gavin Newsom began his four-day "Vote No" tour, criss-crossing the state encouraging voters to help keep him in office. This, as news broke that President Biden and Vice President Harris are likely to travel to California to campaign for the embattled Governor.
MURPHY’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Paranoia pays off in politics, even when you're in a safe state. I think as the COVID Delta variant has come back, so has Governor Newsom's mounting political problems. We have a lot of polls that show the states ready to fire him. The problem is, for the Republicans, the election is not tomorrow - there's going to be a period now where the Republican opponents are examined... what the Newsom campaign is going to do, is they're going to try to make the election all about the opponents, they're going to staple a big Donald Trump suit to him, knowing that if they can make this a partisan election with Republican versus Democratic loyalty, in this Democratic state, that could bail out Newsom. Now, he's not that great on the attack, he's kind of an 'attack puppy,' as we saw, but any time we're talking about his opponents, and not him, is a good day for the Newsom campaign…"
THE ISSUE IS: VACCINE MANDATES
BACKGROUND: This week, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously for the City Attorney to draft a proposal for requiring proof of partial vaccination for people to enter most public indoor spaces, including bars, restaurants, gyms, theaters, and retail. That, as San Francisco moved ahead with a similar order, but rather than partial vaccination, full vaccination would be required.
MURPHY’S CENTRAL TAKE: "We've got some morons in this country who aren't going to be persuaded, no matter what the slide show is, or the jingle, or the soundbite. So we're going to have to start cracking down, particularly on vaccinations, and incentivizing people with both carrots and sticks to get vaccinated, because they don't have the freedom to act irresponsibly in something that affects the entire society. So, I think we're moving to the tough-love phase here, and, you know, if you rely on government support, government checks, government things like that, you have a social contract to be part of society - it's helping you get vaccinated…"
SHRUM’S CENTRAL TAKE: "A, it's the right public health policy, but B, it's good politics. I think a very large majority of Californians would support these kinds of vaccine mandates. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, yesterday, of the Supreme Court upheld Indiana University's requirement that students be vaccinated. You have to be vaccinated to come to the USC campus, UCLA, any of the state colleges. So why aren't we going to apply this to restaurants, to gyms, to other places? Look, this goes back to a 1906 Supreme Court case where they upheld vaccine mandate, but it also, as Mike suggests, goes back to George Washington - if he hadn't made vaccination against smallpox mandatory, I think we'd be sitting here talking to you on the BBC because we would've lost the Revolutionary War…"
The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to TheIssueIsShow.com.