Gavin Newsom is running for president. Sure, he hasn’t announced it and has claimed he’s “all in” for Biden, but he’s increasingly taking time off from personally disrupting the nation’s Dapper Dan supply chain in order to weigh in on national issues, measure the drapes, and attempt to troll Republican governors.
His latest salvo, directed toward Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was sworn in as Arkansas’ governor about 15 minutes ago, claims that “While [Sanders] touts public safety, here is what she skips over: Arkansas has the one of the highest murder rates in the nation.” This is, of course, true. In 2020, the last year for which CDC stats are available, Arkansans have a much greater chance of being murdered than Californians.
Our rate of having to navigate a junkie tent village on our way to work is surely much lower, though.
Here’s what Governor Slick leaves out: the most crime-ridden places to live in Arkansas are Democratic strongholds. Little Rock, the capital city located in Pulaski County, was once featured in an HBO documentary about gang violence. While Little Rock’s mayoral contests are officially non-partisan, basically every mayor since at least the ‘80s has been aligned with the Democratic Party.
Jefferson County — where my hometown and frequent contender for “Worst Place to Live in America” is located — is also a Democratic stronghold. And while I enjoyed growing up there, I found it odd when I went to college and discovered that the fathers of my new buddies had not instructed them on what to do in the event of an attempted carjacking. I don’t think they’d ever seen an afterschool gang beatdown or become accustomed to the sound of gunshots at night. Their loss, I suppose.
If you look at the county maps for 2020, you may notice there is a bright blue middle of the state that is mostly surrounded by red. That blue is where Pulaski and Jefferson counties are located.
And let’s not forget the poverty rates, for this is where Pulaski, if not Jefferson, does a bit better. Being home to the capital means there is always going to be capital. However, if we pull back to the 2020 map and compare poverty rates, one notices that the sliver of blue on the eastern side of the state is where the counties that top the poverty index are located.
Granted, Newsom, or rather the jar of Vaseline that serves as his intern, was just sending a tweet, trying to raise his national profile by comparing himself to Republican rising stars. A white paper this was not.
Still, if the governor wants to get into arguments about safety and security, he can’t ignore the fact that California has a lot more empty space than people realize. He also can’t ignore how much crime exists in the city surrounding his own governor’s mansion.
Law and order is always going to be a winning issue, at least outside of California, which is why Newsom is bringing it up. But it’s an issue that Democrats, particularly California Democrats and their greasily coiffed leader, will always lose on. No one wants to navigate junkie tent villages any more than they want to teach their teens about getting away from carjackers.