On New Year’s Day 2021 the 105th Annual Rose Bowl was supposed to be played in Pasadena, California. Instead, it will be played 270 miles north of Pasadena—Pasadena, Texas that is, in the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
California’s on a losing streak and the eventual loser might well be the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom.
Just in the past few weeks, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Oracle moved from Silicon Valley to Texas.
Elon Musk moved to Texas.
And even Joe Rogan left L.A. for Texas.
And now the Rose Bowl, America’s most-attended football game, played continuously since 1916, moved to Texas—it was that or be shut down because California’s politicians, enacting increasingly draconian and apparently ineffective COVID-19 rules, wouldn’t allow a few friends and family attend a football game in a giant outdoor stadium capable of holding more than 92,500 people.
This is serious.
This is only the second time “the Granddaddy” of bowl games (so named because it is the oldest continuous contest) won’t be played in California. The other? In 1942, three weeks after the Japanese Empire attacked Pearl Harbor, fears of a Japanese raid caused the military and game organizers to shift the contest to North Carolina.
COVID-19 isn’t a world war and, compared to the Spanish Flu of 101 years ago, the young and healthy have relatively little to fear from it.
For context, the Spanish flu killed about 675,000 Americans – with a far great proportion children under 5 and young adults—that’s about 6.8 times per capita the number of fatalities due to COVID-19 to date.
Even so, during the height that the Spanish flu pandemic, the Rose Bowl was played before a crowd of 25,000 on New Year’s Day 1919 for a wartime matchup featuring the Great Lakes Navy Bluejackets who shut out the Mare Island Marines, 17-0.
The proximate cause of the Rose Bowl’s move east is California lawmakers, from Gov. Gavin Newsom to city officials, putting the state into another, tougher lockdown—despite a growing body of evidence that such lockdowns do little to slow the virus and save lives.
What the lockdowns do instead is destroy businesses, especially family-owned ventures, harm mental health and lead to an increase in suicide and overdoses.
Now, Texas is happy to have the Rose Bowl—especially for bragging rights over California. But Texas is fortunate that it’s being graded on a curve and California is the most troublesome kid in the class.
Right now, it’s not too hard to beat California. Unfortunately, Texas isn’t doing a whole lot better with an 8.1% unemployment rate only a shade lower than California’s 8.2% as major Texas urban areas, run by Democrats who look to California for inspiration, copy the Golden State’s disastrous policies.
Losing something as symbolic as the Rose Bowl over unyielding—and unthinking—policies (cardboard fan cutouts would far outnumber the spectators at the game) while California politicians are discovered gorging themselves in high-end eateries, typically within hours of ordering people not to do the same, is going to make a certain segment of the electorate bad-tempered.
This can’t help California Gov. Newsom who finds himself in the middle of a growing recall effort. Recall organizers have now gathered about half of the 1.5 million signatures they need by mid-March to force a recall election.
In 2003, California Gov. Gray Davis became only the second governor in U.S. history to be recalled. The issues that drove Davis out of office then were electrical blackouts (sound familiar?) and a big car tax hike.
California recalls are odd affairs. Should the recall qualify and an election held in mid-2021, voters will have two choices: recall “yes” or “no” and then decide whom to support for governor. In 2003, 135 people appeared on the ballot when Arnold Schwarzenegger won with 48.6%.
As the recall gathered steam 17 years, ago, Democratic politicians treated Davis as if he were radioactive. Newsom, then a San Francisco supervisor, was busy running for mayor.
Campaign finance records and media archives indicate that Newsom did little to nothing for Davis. Newsom should expect the same if the 2021 lockdown recall qualifies.
Chuck DeVore is Vice President of National Initiatives for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, he served as a California State Assemblyman from 2004 to 2010 and is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Retired Reserve.