For those who have not heard, California is a giant state shoved off to one side of America where residents’ primary hobbies include listing their least favorite freeways, feeling grateful for even scant amounts of precipitation, and recalling governors. And since the clear answer is the 10 and there seems to be no chance of rain, it would appear to be, once again, recalling time.
As the Republican-backed vote on whether or not to recall the admittedly not great Governor Gavin Newsom looms on September 14, many in the state, especially California’s Vietnamese-American population, are remembering that time Newsom incorrectly stated that the first cases of COVID-19 began in California nail salons.
In May 2020, Newsom bafflingly and incorrectly blamed his own constituents, namely those who own nail salons, for the spread of COVID-19, making it seem like his decision to keep those salons shut down was somewhat punitive as other businesses began to re-open:
“‘This whole thing started in the state of California, the first community spread, in a nail salon,’ Newsom said in his daily media briefing on COVID-19 in Sacramento, after being asked why personal services, such as nail salons, should stay closed even as the state starts to slowly open businesses.”
Even as this information was deemed untrue by experts, and anti-Asian violence spiked alarmingly amid the pandemic, Newsom never seemed to take responsibility for the danger in which his remarks placed members of Asian American communities—nor has he addressed his reluctance to re-open nail salons, 80 percent of which are owned by Vietnamese residents of California. Predictably, the people Newsom erroneously blamed for covid aren’t too keen on keeping Newsom in office, according to the Los Angeles Times:
“‘Certainly, there’s a sense of insult to the community when a core group of its members has been portrayed negatively like this — especially when that community historically has leaned toward the Republicans’ because of the party’s consistent anti-communist messaging, said Sara Sadhwani, assistant professor of politics at Pomona College who has researched voting behavior with an emphasis on the representation of racial, ethnic and immigrant communities.”
It is worth noting that the candidate who would likely replace Newsom is “libertarian” conservative talk radio pundit Larry Elder, a person who has never held political office, is against most forms of government, doesn’t like universal health care, loves school vouchers, and has been accused of pulling a gun on his ex-fiancée. And so the moral to this story is a common one: Neither of these men is really any good. However, only one of these not all that good men is responsible for giving us Trump goblin Stephen Miller, who is still alive despite our best intention setting, so consider that if you are in California and have not yet cast your ballot.