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California Man Announces Plan to Leave California, Travel to Red States

Townhall Media

What if I told you that one California resident is planning to leave his state and travel to freer, more successful, and more prosperous red states? You'd probably shrug.  Dog bites man.  Happens all the time.  In fact, over the last few years, more than half a million Californians have moved away, many of them to the aforementioned types of states.  Indeed, one particular measuring stick of the trend continues show that the Golden State is once again the undisputed king of out-migration:

The California exodus continued in 2022, at least according to new data recently released from U-Haul. The moving truck rental company’s annual growth index shows that more moving trucks departed from California than any other state for the third consecutive year. California has had one of the greatest net losses of U-Haul trucks since 2016, always landing in one of the lowest-growth spots...Texas is the top destination for U-Haul trucks, followed by Florida and the Carolinas. Texas and Florida were the top destination states in 2021 as well.  Illinois was the state with the second-largest loss in U-Haul trucks in 2022, the same as in 2021.

But what if I told you that the California resident in question is...Gov. Gavin Newsom?  No, he's not packing up and leaving for good, but he is putting all of his jurisdiction's many problems in the rearview mirror in order to embark upon a political tour of GOP-run states -- which he claims are sliding into fascism, or something:

Newsom launched the Campaign for Democracy using money left over from his 2022 campaign for governor, where he easily won reelection against a little-known Republican opponent. In a video announcing the committee, Newsom pledged to take on “authoritarian leaders” he says are “directly attacking our freedoms,” including Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “What’s happening in those red states?” Newsom asked. “That’s not who we are. It’s un-American. It’s un-democratic.” Newsom blamed those governors for banning books and targeting transgender children. Republicans, meanwhile, have criticized Newsom for using taxpayer money to pay for women in other states to come to California for abortions and to cover the health care expenses of people living in the country without legal permission. “There’s a reason why Gavin Newsom never focuses on the problems he’s caused in his own state,” Sanders spokesperson Alexa Henning said. “California residents are experiencing sky high rent but Governor Sanders is living rent free in his head.” Newsom and his family will visit Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi early next week...


Ah yes, the free state of California, from which people are fleeing in droves -- perhaps, in part, because schools were closed, kids were forcibly masked, vaccines were mandated, businesses were shut down and punished, and political dissidents and unhelpful journalists are persecuted by the government.  I can't imagine that Republican officials in those three places are anything other than enthusiastic about a visit from the slimy, culture war-leading, leftist leader of California, especially since he's in town to demand that their states vote more like his.  That's a helpful juxtaposition. The truth is that Newsom isn't going to any of these places to "help" his party per se; he's off on this little stunt to help himself.  This is presidential positioning.  He wants to run for president so badly, and there's a chance that Joe Biden might ultimately opt out, so he's keeping his options open.  This is a multi-million-dollar PR tour to show off for the progressive base by demonstrating an eagerness to fight.  The current president, for his part, appears to be in no rush to announce his re-election intentions, as he's likely more than satisfied to allow the Trump indictment drama play out for as long as possible, with minimal political intervention from his end:


This delay leaves the door cracked for him to back out (which is why I suspect a guy like Newsom is contingency planning), but it also starts to run out the clock on any serious potential primary challenge.  As long as Biden keeps signaling that he 'intends' to run as the incumbent, even as he punts on a formal announcement, the party is more or less frozen in place -- despite the reality that a majority of Democratic voters tell pollsters that they're not excited about a second Biden term.  That dynamic, plus the fact that Biden hasn't officially taken the 2024 plunge, is why Newsome is on his Look At Me road trip.  There is one little complication, however:

The governor’s plans — while not official travel — violate the spirit of the widely-panned political ban on state-sponsored and state-funded travel to 23 GOP-run states. Fox News Digital asked Newsom’s office if the governor’s travel involved state-funded security and if Newsom believed his travels violated the spirit of his own law. Newsom’s office did not respond. Newsom's spokesperson Anthony York told the Washington Free Beacon the governor's trip had nothing to do with a state Democrat's attempt to repeal the law and that "no state paid staff will be on his trip." The California governor dropped $10 million into the new PAC last week, making wild claims about Republicans in the states, including calling their governors "authoritarian leaders."

California performatively barred state travel to the Bad Places for political reasons, but Gavin needs to go to the Bad Places, for his own political reasons. So the ban doesn't apply. Coincidentally, one of the top Democratic leaders in the state proposed repealing this travel ban one day prior to Newsom's announced theatrics.  The governor's office insists one has nothing to do with the other.  The alternative explanation actually makes quite a lot of sense, however: 


California’s travel boycott was intended to put economic pressure on states that banned transgender bathrooms or instituted other policies seen as anti-LGBT. But the law largely backfired, as red states stood by their policies and the list of banned states grew from 4 states in 2017 to 23 today. Atkins acknowledged the law’s failure in a press release, which noted that the travel ban only served to complicate things like college sports travel to public university research collaborations. It also landed Newsom in hot water when he visited his in-laws’ ranch in Montana. A San Francisco lawmaker in February moved to repeal the city’s red-state boycott, after a report showed it is pummeling the city economically without changing any minds.

A giant virtue-signaling culture war policy failure out of California? You don't say. I'll leave you with Disney's Democratic CEO escalating the war of words between his increasingly politicized and woke company and Florida's governor, who seems more than willing to go another round or two:

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