Newsom vs. DeSantis | city ​​newspaper


California Governor Gavin Newsom tried to troll Florida on July 4 with a 30 second commercial, which aired on Fox News, attacking Sunshine State Governor Ron DeSantis for allegedly depriving Floridians of their freedom. Pretty rich, considering DeSantis is running for re-election using the Keep Florida Free motto, and has a more than 20-point lead over his two potential opponents, according to the latest state poll. The Newsom-DeSantis feud could be a preview of the 2024 presidential election, so it’s worth unpacking its critique.

“Freedom is under attack in your state,” Newsom says in the Florida ad. “Republican leaders, they ban books. Make it harder to vote, restrict speech in classrooms, even criminalize women and doctors,” Newsom said. “I urge you all to live in Florida join the fight or join us in California where we still believe in freedom. Freedom of expression. Freedom to choose. Freed from hate. And the freedom to love. Don’t let them take your freedom.

Washington Post Opinion writers Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent praised Newsom for the announcement, saying that “few, if any, National Democrats make the comprehensive case that right-wing radicalization threatens a nightmarish future, on several fronts at the same time”. And given Democratic nervousness over Joe Biden and his potential successors, Newsom’s growing national profile is certainly remarkable. But his criticism of Florida doesn’t hold up. When I moved my family from Oregon in 2019, the obvious destination would have been southern California, but we moved to Florida and we didn’t regret it. Many of the millions who have come here have sought to escape the kind of “nightmarish future” they believe is unfolding in the blue states. Newsom’s attacks on Florida overlook this reality and obscure the basic facts.

California was far from free for much of the pandemic. In April 2020, a paddleboarder was handcuffed and arrested for being alone in the Pacific Ocean when beaches were closed. Newsom imposed severe restrictions on personal freedoms, imposing mask and vaccine mandates that led to many Californians losing their jobs. An article published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, ranking states on a Covid Report Card, ranked Florida sixth in overall performance, while California finished at 47. (As Bloomberg recently noted, the Florida’s age-adjusted Covid death rates are nearly identical to California.)

DeSantis also fought to keep Florida schools open. According to Burbio’s K-12 school opening tracker, Florida’s percentage of in-person school days was the third highest among states in the 2020-2021 school year, while California’s was the last. Virtual learning represented a massive assault on both parental freedom and children’s academic development, but Newsom was too scared of teachers’ unions to insist on in-person learning during the pandemic.

Economic freedom is in terrible shape in the Golden State. California imposes a crippling tax burden, with residents earning between $61,215 and $312,686 paying a top marginal tax rate of 9.3% and residents earning more than $625,370 paying a top marginal rate of 12.3 %. According to the Tax Foundation, California has the fifth highest state and local tax burden of any state, while Florida has the 11th lowest. Californians also pay an additional 70 cents per gallon for gasoline, thanks to the highest levies in the state. According to AAA, the average cost of a gallon of gasoline on July 6 was $4.51 in Florida and $6.21 in California. And, according to the wall street journalresidential electricity costs 66% more in California than in the rest of the United States

Newsom’s attacks on DeSantis’ record also repeat distortions, as in his reference to “book banning.” Florida has rejected a number of math textbooks in an annual review, some for ideological reasons, others for not meeting state criteria. But not buying books is not the same as banning them. Either way, Florida law gives school districts the latitude to buy up to half of their books as they see fit; the state also endorsed K-5 textbooks from STEMscopes, a company that runs an emphatic endorsement of Black Lives Matter on its website, so it’s not like officials are piling on the ideological deck.

Newsom’s claim that DeSantis “restricts speech in classrooms” appears to be a reference to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act. The law restricts “in-class instruction” on gender identity and sexual orientation from kindergarten through third grade, but does not prohibit informal conversations about these topics. A recent poll indicated that 67 percent of parents and 61 percent of all respondents support the legislation. Newsom is no friend of free speech either: in February he announced he was assembling a team to tackle Covid ‘misinformation’ online, opening the door to sanctioned internet censorship by the state.

Newsom alleges that DeSantis “makes it harder to vote.” Last year, DeSantis signed a bill that tightened voter ID requirements, banned mass mailing of ballots and banned ballot harvesting. Still, these provisions tend to be popular and were common across the country before the pandemic. Florida’s voter turnout is unlikely to decline. If state residents are worried about not being able to vote, the liberal media here has yet to find them.

Using powerful imagery of a woman in scrubs and handcuffs being photographed, Newsom says Republicans are criminalizing abortion in Florida. But Florida’s new abortion law allows the procedure for up to 15 weeks – a more permissive standard than found in many European countries, including Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and Norway. The law also provides exceptions for women whose health is threatened by pregnancy or in the event of “fatal fetal abnormality”. It establishes penalties for doctors who perform illegal abortions but does not punish the women who receive them.

Americans seem to understand all of this. As Newsom knows, California is losing people while Florida continues to add new residents. According to a Moody’s analysis of consumer credit reports, Florida gained more new residents than any other state, while California lost the most from February 2021 to February 2022. IRS data from 2020 reveals that California’s net adjusted gross income fell by $17.8 billion, second worst in the nation behind New York, while income rose by $23.7 billion in Florida, the most of any state. Newsom’s announcement may be part of a ploy to reverse this dynamic, but it will not succeed. And if Newsom wants to run nationally on his California record, Republicans should say, go ahead.

Photos by Aric Crabb/MediaNews Group/East Bay Times via Getty Images (left) / Joe Raedle/Getty Images (right)

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