David Marcus: In Modesto, Newsom's recall survival is in doubt

VP Harris joins Newsom for biggest campaign event ahead of recall election

Fox News correspondent Claudia Cowan reports from the Bay Area just days ahead of the election that could remove California Governor Gavin Newsom from office.

Modesto, California is a very lovely little city. Its small but well-appointed dining district would be at home in Connecticut if the streets were a bit narrower and the buildings a little older.

The skyline is the Doubletree hotel, it is the only structure that you have to look up at. The bars and restaurants feed off of it, even on the old main drag made famous in the movie “American Graffiti,” directed by Modesto’s own George Lucas.

I grabbed a burger at Ralston’s Goat and the bartender there was a very affable kid planning to become a nurse. 

He’s not a fan of Newsom and unlike the cats I chatted with in the Bay area, this guy does think he’s going to be recalled. 

“I think he’s gone,” he told me. “Nobody likes him.” 

I asked how bad the lockdowns had been in Modesto. He said for a couple of months last year it was bad, but then people just stopped listening and went back to their lives.

This reflects something I have witnessed throughout the pandemic while travelling across America — the urban enclaves have been terrified while the country cousins barely bat an eye.

Back at the hotel bar I met Tyler. He feeds cows for a living. This means he is a young scientist and businessman who figures out and sells feeds for bovines meant for milk or meat.

He seemed utterly bored by the entire recall election. For him, California is a place where the south of the state steals water from the north. And he is tired of it.

Tyler is a proponent of something he called “The State of Jefferson.” This is a separatist effort to remove much of northern California and some of Oregon and make it its own state. Modesto would be its largest city. 

The other guys at the bar knew what it was and nodded in some kind of approval. I, of course, had no idea that this was even a thing in the world.

I don’t think the United States Senate needs to start making seating arrangements for a party of two from the State of Jefferson anytime soon, but not for nothing, there are some pissed off people in the north of the state and the northern Central Valley who feel taken advantage of. They tell me that their concerns about water policy always seem just around the bend to the politicians. 

It is hot here in Modesto. During the day it is hot and there is a hot breeze. As the sun goes down it is slightly darker and it is hot and there is a hot breeze. 

I saw many people dining outside, I was mystified. But this is a nice decent town. And how you get that is no big secret. 

On my first jaunt into the little restaurant district I saw five uniformed police outside of Jamba Juice. On foot. There, big as life. 

It was more police than I had seen in total in giant San Francisco.

These are the decisions that get made. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s San Francisco abandons policing; in Modesto a few cops on the actual street make for good, decent living. 

Maybe the kid who served my burger has a point. Maybe Californians are tired of Newsom’s diktats. Here in the Central Valley that sure seems to be the case. 

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