LOS ANGELES - Another big week in American politics.
On the COVID front, the battle continued to rage, with another 880,000 Americans contracting the disease, and 22,595 losing their lives. At the same time, the United States has now administered some 38.5 million doses of vaccine, averaging, according to Bloomberg, some 1.36 million shots per day.
On the political front, Washington D.C. prepared for next week’s impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, while in California, the effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom began to gain steam.
To explore these issues, and more, Elex Michaelson is joined by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia (D), Conservative FOX News Political Analyst Gianno Caldwell, and Ana Kasparian, the Progressive host and executive producer of The Young Turks.
THE ISSUE: VACCINATION SUCCESS IN LONG BEACH
BACKGROUND: Despite, according to Bloomberg, having administered some 4.2 million vaccine doses, California still ranks as one of the bottom ten states in terms of percentage of vaccine supply actually used. One bright spot in California’s vaccination drive, however, has been the city of Long Beach, which has already vaccinated health care workers and nursing home residents, making way for educators, grocery workers, and those over 65.
GARCIA’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I’m really proud of the work that’s happening in the city… We did make a key decision, I think early on, that really helped us out, when vaccines started coming in towards the end of December, we didn’t overly plan how much vaccine we were going to give out over the next two to three weeks, and space it out and worry about running out… our plan, and our day one initiative was ‘let’s run out, let’s get as much vaccine out the door as possible’… that helped us move really fast, really quick, I mean our health care workers are done, 100% nursing homes are done, fire fighters, police officers, and now, of course, we’re the real first city to be doing our school institutions as well as food and grocery…"
THE ISSUE: "HERO PAY"
BACKGROUND: Last month, the Long Beach City Council voted in favor of "Hero Pay," mandating that large supermarkets increase employee salaries by $4/hr amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This week, in the aftermath of the City Council’s decision, grocery giant Kroger announced that they would be closing two Long Beach locations.
GARCIA’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Let’s be clear, heroes pay has been earned by those workers, it is a temporary $4/hr increase over a few months, and it’s also something that was done by these grocery markets over the summer, they actually were paying it and stopped doing it… Supermarkets are making record profits on the backs of these workers during this pandemic, and so I don’t know that anyone can go into the grocery store and look at one of these workers in the eye and not think that they deserve a few extra bucks during this pandemic… What Kroger is doing with these two stores is wrong, and really shameful for them to really do that, considering that these workers have earned this…"
THE ISSUE: THE SENATE TRIAL OF PRESIDENT TRUMP
BACKGROUND: On Tuesday, February 9, twenty days into the term of President Joe Biden, the Senate will convene to begin the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. This go around, Trump is being tried on a single article of "incitement of insurrection," the House having voted 232-197 that the former President incited his supporters to storm the Capitol on January 6.
CALDWELL’S CENTRAL TAKE: "What I would say, is that he stirred up the passions of his people, and said ‘go to the Senate,’ where he knew they were doing the people’s business. So, whether it was to be a distraction outside, or much more, he did incite that, so he should be condemned for his actions, and I don’t think there should be any consideration of trying to defend him on that point at all… When it comes to impeachment, is it really worth the people’s time, when we have really serious issues? I would say it isn’t. What’s the point, when we have real issues that the American people are considerate of, versus the politics of convicting a former President, when you’re not even going to be able to convict him…"
KASPARIAN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "The 45 Republican Senators who came forward and essentially argued that the Impeachment trial would be unconstitutional, even though, that’s not true, legal experts have weighed in, and Donald Trump was a sitting President when he engaged in this type of behavior, so I do believe there needs to be consequences… I’m incredibly frustrated they’re not going to find him guilty, they’re not going to convict him, and I think that sends the wrong message, so I’m worried that the Democrats actions here will backfire in giving people the sense that he actually did nothing wrong, because he wasn’t convicted in the Senate trial…"
THE ISSUE: THE EFFORT TO RECALL GOVERNOR NEWSOM
BACKGROUND: As of this week, some 1.4 million Californians have signed the petition to recall California’s Governor Gavin Newsom. Organizers of the effort have until March 10 to collect the roughly 1.5 million signatures required to place a recall on the ballot. At the same time, the Governor finds his poll numbers underwater for the first time, as a new poll out of UC Berkeley shows support for Newsom has fallen 18% in the past four months, from 64% in September to 46% today.
CALDWELL’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Two months into the shutdown I moved to Miami, and I was supposed to return back January 15, however, things have gotten so bad in California, I can’t move back at this particular point in time. You’re talking about over 19,000 businesses, as of last year, had shut down, and I’m talking about food, and retail, in addition to other industries, they won’t be able to come back, these are places that are permanently closed. We already had 160,000 homeless people in the state of California, that number has gone up drastically… This Governor has mismanaged COVID, businesses shutting down…"
KASPARIAN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I would not only like to recall Gavin Newsom, I think we should also focus a little bit on Eric Garcetti, who has been a complete and utter disaster in Los Angeles County. I’m a native Angeleno, I was born and raised in California, I love my state, I love the people in this state, but it is an absolute wasteland right now. Every freeway bridge is full of people living in tents, there’s excrement on the sidewalks, it’s unsafe, crime has gone up, and when it comes to coronavirus, the fish rots from the head down…I have not seen competent leadership from Gavin Newsom, and I will state on this show, every single member of my family signed our names, provided our signatures, to recall him…"
The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to TheIssueIsShow.com.