Polls show California Governor Gavin Newsom leading tomorrow’s recall election. But that doesn’t mean his political future will be unscathed.
After being pushed to detail his policy plans that would benefit women, Faulconer proposed creating the country’s first fully paid parental leave program.
Women, especially women of color, suffered the most from the economic fallout from the pandemic – some relate to in-person jobs like babysitting and others struggle to work from home while juggling distance learning tasks.
This means that many Californian women are already on high alert about what they stand to lose in the face of political upheaval, said Melissa Michelson, professor of political science at Menlo College at Atherton.
For many Californian women, she said, the recall election poses “a direct perceived threat.”
“What would happen to my reproductive rights? What will happen to the safety of my children in schools? »She said of women’s considerations. “Both women and men have children, of course, but women are more likely to make political decisions based on how they take care of their family or their community. In this case, it helps Gavin because he’s the one saying he’s going to make sure these things stay. “
Only 27% of women polled in recent polls said they thought the recall would improve life in California; 47% said it would make matters worse.
Like any electoral bloc, however, women are not a monolith.
So-called Mad Moms, frustrated with protracted school closures last year under Newsom’s watch, helped spark the recall effort as other states accelerated their return to in-person education . The fact that Newsom’s own children attend a private school as he suggested they were at home in “Zoom School” like most families fueled a common criticism from the Governor: that he is out of touch with the Californian. way.
Schools are now open with some of the strictest safety protocols in place, but some parents, especially mothers of school-aged children remain frustrated.
Harmeet Dhillon, a member of the Republican National Committee and San Francisco-based lawyer who sued Newsom over some of his school pandemic policies, said the governor’s focus on Republican threats to abortion rights and public health was “dishonest” and not sufficiently focused on reality. problems facing Californian women.
“The big problem with women that I heard from day one of this recall is how the closures and forced distance schooling have affected women as primary caregivers. It has been devastating for women’s careers and their life satisfaction, ”she said. “It has certainly motivated all the mothers I know who are working on the recall. “
In the deep blue of California, however, women are much more likely to vote Democratic than men.
Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute of California – which released the recall poll this month – said women here have long skewed blue, but the gender gaps in recall are still glaring.
“No matter how you look at the makeup of the electorate, it underscores the importance of female voters in Democratic causes,” Baldassare said. “I think that’s why there has been a lot of emphasis in this election around the importance of women. When you talk about getting the vote among Democrats, you are talking about more women than men.
Newsom was successful in preventing all viable Democrats from entering the race, and the GOP failed to nominate a prominent female candidate. Olympian turned television star Caitlyn Jenner, a Republican candidate, only votes 1%.
The recall election itself sometimes felt like a toxic masculinity contest.
Republican candidate John Cox paraded a live bear as a campaign prop. In a campaign ad, he called himself a “beast” and called Newsom “the beautiful” and a “pretty boy”.
Wednesday, Elder’s campaign published a spot it compared Newsom to “the guy from high school who took my girlfriend, then moved on to the next girl.”
“It really fuels stereotypes and reinforces this idea that it takes a strong man to run the state, which has always held back women,” Michelson said. “In this case, the message is you want a man who can tame a bear.”