This candidate is challenging Gavin Newsom in California — and he has Joe Rogan, Tucker Carlson’s support
Michael Shellenberger, 50, is running as an independent, pushing for nuclear energy and mental health reforms
Ballots for primary elections in California have started making their way to mailboxes ahead of June 7, and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s competition is gearing up after he dodged the recall effort last year.
Several candidates are running against the California governor, but many have their eyes on an independent homelessness policy advocate.
Meet author, environmentalist and former Democrat Michael Shellenberger.
So far, his campaign has raised close to $700,000. (Newsom’s campaign has raised $7.5 million.)
Running as an independent, Shellenberger, 50, has found approval from Joe Rogan, Tucker Carlson and even The Wall Street Journal, he said in an interview with a local San Diego news station.
Attracting the support of Republicans, independents and Democrats alike, he claims he is “the only candidate that can defeat Gavin Newsom in November.”
Shellenberger appeared on a recent episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” dedicated to Newsom’s reelection campaign, where he claimed to expose the governor’s “lies.”
“If you look at (Gov. Gavin Newsom’s) Twitter feed, he’s entirely obsessed with attacking other states,” said Shellenberger.
He says that his mission is to move away from the “culture wars” and, instead, focus on humanitarian disasters like rising homicides and homelessness.
His website states that his solution for mass incarceration and mass crime is “more police, more probation, and more psychiatry for addicts and the mentally ill.”
Last year, Shellenberger published a book, “San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities,” where he takes a closer look at the homelessness and drug crisis in the Bay Area, while placing the blame for mishandling the cities on the progressive politicians in power.
Crime and homelessness are two issues key issues for California voters who found Newsom’s performance inadequate, according to Cal Matters.
Although Shellenberger’s solutions seem straight to the point, they may have some holes, according to San Francisco Chronicle writer Zachary Siegel, who argued that “stark inequality” has much to do with the homelessness crisis, something he claims the gubernatorial candidate fails to mention.
A Californian minimum wage worker would have to work 112 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment that costs $6,766 per month, Siegel wrote. As for addiction and overdose deaths, forcing thousands of people into institutions and jails may only make the problem worse, according to a study in the International Journal of Drug Policy.
Shellenberger’s “pro-human” environmental agenda, meanwhile, focuses on keeping — and possibly expanding — California’s nuclear energy, as well as tackling water storage and recycling.
Whether it’s French president Emmanuel Macron or Japan prime minister Fumio Kishida, “national leaders around the world are announcing big plans to return to nuclear energy now that the cost of natural gas, coal, and petroleum are spiking, and weather-dependent renewables are failing to deliver,” he wrote in a Substack post from October 2021, making a case for the controversial energy source.
But a big concern that comes with this energy source is the nuclear waste, which is dangerous for humans and stays radioactive for thousands of years. In fact, the country is still dealing with stockpiles from the 1940s.
As for matters of education, Shellenberger’s parents were public school teachers, which he says gives him an inside look into what the system may need — allowing parents to choose their school of choice, reforming education to fit the 21st century and increasing math and reading proficiency.
“I’m not going to let the teachers’ unions dictate how our schools are run,” he adds.
This isn’t the first time Shellenberger has gunned for the governor’s role — in the 2018 primaries, he got only 0.5% of the vote as a Democrat during Newsom’s recall.
A total of 26 governor candidates are on the June ballot. Of those 26, two will move on to the general election in November. Brian Dahle is the biggest name endorsed by the Republican side.
“Right now, we’re in what we called the jungle primary and they’re called that because anything can happen,” said Mike Luery, a political analyst, on a local NBC news station.
“Regardless of party. So you could have theoretically two Democrats facing up against each other or even two Republicans,” he added.
Either way, 42% of likely voters said this year’s midterm elections are more important than in the past, especially for Republicans, who’d rather elect someone new to politics, according to a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Running as a moderate, solely on the quality of living, is an experiment Shellenberger appears willing to bet on, but only time will tell whether he can break the hold progressives have over Sacramento.