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Budowsky: Newsom soars while Trump, Abbott, DeSantis ratings lag


The landslide victory of California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), defeating the recent recall vote, should be compared to the low fortunes in public approval of former President Trump, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and the current United States Supreme Court.

What Newsom accomplished in his recall campaign was to combine his clear vision of a better future based on his governing achievements and high aspirations with his clear, forceful criticisms of the alternate future if the recall succeeded and he was replaced by a Republican acting like Trump, Abbott and DeSantis.   

In a tribute to Robert Kennedy in June 2018, Newsom spoke of how he was inspired by the legacy of RFK, who said there were people in every time, in every land, who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future. It is our duty to future generations to keep dreaming, disrupting and demanding more of the courage to achieve great changes that are needed.

Newsom campaigned knowing that governing is about choices, making decisions that heavily impact the future, and elections are about voters choosing between alternate futures.

Newsom’s governing choices were to support strong moves to defeat and destroy COVID-19. To support civil rights for minorities, equal rights for women and voting rights to protect and enhance our democracy. And to champion policies to protect the Earth from the ravages of climate change, build more houses, reduce the plague of homelessness, lift the economy for all and treat health care as a right.

Newsom ran directly and aggressively against the alternate future that awaited if voters chose to give power to Trump, and to Abbott and DeSantis, and to his recall opponent Larry Elder, who act like mini-Trumps. California chose Newsom in a landslide.

The Newsom challenge to Trump Republicans did not succeed so powerfully only because California is a deep-blue state.

Abbott in Texas and DeSantis in Florida suffer from declining popularity. They oppose strong policies to defeat and destroy COVID-19. They oppose voting rights and promote voter suppression that is alien to democracy. They are hostile to action to protect the Earth from climate change. Abbott achieved, and the Supreme Court refused to halt, an abortion law that was an attempt to destroy Roe v. Wade and created citizen vigilantes who could make $10,000 by enforcing a state law against women who pursued their rights under Roe v. Wade.

In Texas, Abbott, who is running for reelection with declining popularity, trailed one potential opponent, actor and producer Matthew McConaughey, by 9 points, while another potential opponent, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D), has closed to within 5 points. In Florida, DeSantis, with declining popularity, trailed a leading opponent, Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), by double digits in a recent poll.

In Washington, McConnell, who seeks to filibuster virtually every major Democratic proposal, works to legislatively destroy the Biden presidency, has bragged about packing a conservative Supreme Court and is the epitome of partisanship and obstruction that voters loathe, has achieved staggering unpopularity.

In the Real Clear Politics summary of all polling, McConnell’s favorable rating is 21 percent, while his unfavorable rating is above 60 percent. These are politically toxic numbers.

And a recent poll from Quinnipiac found approval of the Supreme Court had fallen to a historic low of only 37 percent!

If the Supreme Court, which Trump and McConnell vowed to pack for the right, is perceived as a Trump-like court, its approval ratings will be Trump-like. This would be a historic disaster for a court that depends on wide public acceptance for fairness, not as a power center packed to achieve political or ideological agendas.

These are reasons Newsom won a landslide victory, Democrats have a pathway to govern and lead, and those who pursue darker tactics of division have reason to be worried. 


Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives.

Tags Charlie Crist Donald Trump Gavin Newsom Greg Abbott Mitch McConnell Ron DeSantis

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