THE BUZZ As Republicans line up to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor is keeping an eye on his left flank.

Progressive paragon Bernie Sanders became the latest national to register a recall stance on Monday, excoriating right-wing Republicans for trying to punish Newsom for telling people to wear masks and for listening to scientists.The Vermont senator exhorted his 15 million Twitter followers and anyone else who might have been paying attention to unite to oppose the recall in California. It was the latest sign that Democrats around the country are taking the recall seriously and mobilizing in opposition, coming a month after the White House weighed in.

Unity has been the watchword for California Democrats lately, as it becomes ever more apparent that recall will likely go before voters. At event after event and in statement upon statement, Democrats have praised Newsoms coronavirus management, underscoring the fact that Newsom still presides over a state where voter registration skews overwhelmingly Democratic. But those numbers are no guarantee. As he combats pervasive pandemic malaise, Newsom must also contend with the risk that disaffected progressive voters will break ranks, either sitting this one out or backing some yet-to-emerge Democratic challenger who they view as better channeling the partys left.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks during a U.S. Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. | Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times via AP, Pool

Sanders has enormous clout and credibility with that progressive base.Some 2 million Californians backed him in the Democratic primary; he won about 400,000 more votes than President Joe Biden drew, or, put differently, 500,000 more than the number of signatures needed to qualify a recall. Rep. Ro Khanna, one of Bernies highest-profile California surrogates and a leading progressive figure, told POLITICO on Monday that he reached out to Team Bernie on Team Newsoms behalf about securing that bloc. I made the case that he really needed to weigh in, Khanna said, that this is a Republican attempt to take over California.

Khanna and other California Berniecrats stressed to us that, even if Newsom has fallen short of their loftiest goals, he is immensely preferable to a Republican governor. “I understand there may be some progressive disappointment in those goals not being achieved yet, such as single-payer, but this is the time we really need to unify against the recall, Khanna said. (Mark this down: Khanna also categorically said he is not running in the recall.)

Assemblymember Ash Kalra, a fellow Sanders stalwart who is carrying a single-payer health care bill in Sacramento this year, told us that Republicans want us to be divided on this issue, but there is no Republican that is going to even give a moments thought to any progressive causes we want to achieve in California.

That gets to the narrow political path Newsom may try to carve.Theres a view in Sacramento that a recall-besieged Newsom may be reluctant to embrace some of his ambitious but divisive legislative goals. But while that hesitance could help sway or neutralize the middle, it also risks alienating the left. So some progressives hope Newsoms woes will make him more receptive to their own agenda.

Susie Shannon, a DNC delegate who was Sanders 2020 California political director, framed the recall to us as an opportunity for the governor to reconnect with some of the constituencies he has upset which in our estimation could mean anyone from environmentalists to single-payer advocates to tenants groups to wealth tax seekers. There are specific constituencies who have been ignored that the governor does need to reconnect with in order to beat back this recall.

BUENOS DÍAS, good Tuesday morning. Newsom delivers his State of the State speech today and unlike his first two, this will be in primetime, with a 6 p.m. start to give Newsom a chance to reach a larger share of Californians. In another reminder of how the pandemic has upended politics in the last year, rather than addressing the Legislature in person, Newsom will be speaking remotely from Los Angeles Dodger Stadium which seats roughly as many people as Californians have died of coronavirus.

Newsoms last SOTS was almost entirely devoted to homelessness. Count on this one being focused on the coronavirus. Newsom said on Monday it would be shorter and lighter on policy announcements, honoring the sacrifices of caregivers and farmworkers and others while projecting optimism that we are very close to turning the proverbial page on the pandemic. Will he mention the recall? Stay tuned.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe they buy a new Tesla or convertible, but they dont go out and start buying airplanes overnight. Wealth manager Aaron Rubin tells NYTs Erin Griffith about newly rich techies limiting their spending, sort of.

TWEET OF THE DAY: Sanders @BernieSanders weighs in against the recall: Right-wing Republicans in CA are trying to recall @GavinNewsom for the crime of telling people to wear masks and for listening to scientists during COVID. Extremist Republicans have done enough to undermine democracy already. We must all unite to oppose the recall in California.

WHERES GAVIN? Prepping for his evening State of the State, which you can stream on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE RECAST TO JOIN AN IMPORTANT CONVERSATION: Power dynamics are changing. Influence is changing. More people are demanding a seat at the table, insisting that all politics is personal and not all policy is equitable. The Recast is our new twice-weekly newsletter that breaks down how race and identity are recasting politics, policy and power in America. And POLITICO is recasting how we report on this crucial intersection, bringing you fresh insights, scoops, dispatches from across the country and new voices that challenge business as usual. Dont miss out on this important new newsletter, SUBSCRIBE NOW. Thank you to our sponsor, Intel.

TOP TALKERS

SHMEAR CAMPAIGN The Best Bagels Are in California (Sorry, New York) by the NY Times Tejal Rao: West Coast bakers are driving a great bagel boom, producing some of the most delicious versions around and finding ways to expand during the pandemic.

Tech spent years fighting foreign terrorists. Then came the Capitol riot, by Protocols Issie Lapowsky: Despite the heavy-handed approach to international jihadism, tech giants have applied a notably lighter touch to the same sort of xenophobic, racist, conspiratorial ideologies that are homegrown in the U.S. and held largely by white Westerners.

CDC cuts travel advice from guidelines for vaccinated people, by POLITICOs Erin Banco, Adam Cancryn and Sarah Owermohle: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released hotly anticipated guidelines for vaccinated people Monday, saying those who have received their Covid-19 shot can socialize with other fully vaccinated individuals indoors without wearing masks or social distancing. An earlier draft of the guidelines included a travel section but senior health officials decided not to release that portion of the recommendations at this time, one senior administration official told POLITICO.

California launches way any resident can become vaccine eligible, by SFGates Amy Graff: California launched a new program Friday that gives the residents the opportunity to get vaccinated by volunteering to help get others inoculated at sites across the state.

GAVINLAND

California’s fossil fuel expansion plan to test Newsom’s clean energy record, by POLITICOs Colby Bermel: Kern County officials approved a plan that could increase the number of oil wells in California by a staggering 40 percent or more over the next 15 years. Experts and insiders expect the Newsom administration will honor the local decision by signing off on many of the drilling applications, which could undermine the governor’s climate-friendly image and damage his relationship with environmentalists.

SOTS PREVIEW Gavin Newsom’s challenge: With Trump gone, he needs to ‘show competence’ as governor, by the SF Chronicles Joe Garofoli: The governor has his own problems, some of them self-inflicted from how hes handled the pandemic to a campaign to recall him that could go before voters this fall. And hes got to fix them fast, as his poll numbers are wobbly.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

Our pandemic year: As San Francisco recovers, hope for the best expect the worst, by Mission Locals Joe Eskenazi: Despite what you may have read or seen on TV, Californias out-migration has not increased significantly. But San Franciscos has. And its certainly not all entitled tech bros, acting with agency.

LOOKING UP L.A. County is this week expecting its largest shipment of COVID-19 vaccines yet, by the LA Times Luke Money and Rong-Gong Lin: Officials in the city of Los Angeles said they anticipate administering 88,000 shots this week, and most of those nearly 68,000 will be first doses.

Many Californians have just three days of paid leave. What if they get COVID-19? by the LA Times Margot Roosevelt: For many workers, Californias current patchwork of laws and regulations offers little protection beyond the three mandatory days. Some exempt small businesses. Others only cover employees who can prove they caught the virus at work. Several offer leave but with diminished pay or none at all an option few can afford.

“Santa Clara County will not participate in states Blue Shield-run vaccine program,” by the Mercury News’ Maggie Angst: “Bay Area counties were expected to start falling under Blue Shield oversight around mid-March, though its unclear whether Santa Clara Countys refusal to sign the contract, and pushback from other counties around the state, will affect that timeline. According to officials from Blue Shield and the state, only one county of 58 in the entire state Kern County has signed a contract with Blue Shield.”

THE 46TH

S.F’s budget will be saved from painful cuts thanks to federal stimulus. What about in the next one? by the SF Chronicles Trisha Thadani: Without a substantial comeback in hotel, sales and business taxes, City Controller Ben Rosenfield said that Mayor London Breed and the Board of Supervisors will likely grapple with a fragile budget over the next few years.

MADAM VP

Kamala Harris is playing an unusually large role in shaping Bidens foreign policy, by the WaPos Olivier Knox: She was also a vocal participant in deliberations over how to respond to Iran-backed militias attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, as well as whether to sanction Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, White House aides said.”

CAMPAIGN MODE

IN THE VALLEY After Taking on Costa and AOC, Elizabeth Heng Sets Sights on U.S. Senate, by GV Wires David Taub: Heng, a Stanford graduate and former Republican staffer in Washington, surprised many election pundits by receiving 47% of the vote in the 2018 congressional primary against incumbent Jim Costa, D-Fresno.

IN OC Why did Vietnamese voters in Orange County swing toward Trump in 2020? by the OC Registers Brooke Staggs, Roxana Kopetman and Ian Wheeler: Local Democrats are blaming a misinformation campaign on the right for the Vietnamese communitys swing toward Trump. Theyre also acknowledging they havent done enough to reach the local Vietnamese community, with party leaders launching a new effort to bridge that gap. Republicans insist the switch was simple political expression and GOP values are better aligned with the Vietnamese community.

BIG SHIFT California politicians used to out-tough each other on the death penalty. No more, by the LA Times Mark Z. Barabak: Newsom, who declared a moratorium on executions soon after taking office, is considering some of the states leading death penalty critics to replace [Attorney General Xavier] Becerra, who shares his opposition to capital punishment. If anything, support for the death penalty may be a detriment to those hankering after the appointment.

CALIFORNIA AND THE CAPITOL CORRIDOR

THE BIG QUESTION Los Angeles Schools Remain Closed and Families Wonder: How Much Longer? by the NYTs Shawn Hubler: District officials say a deal with its powerful teachers union to resume in-person learning seems close, and might happen this week. But the superintendent, Austin Beutner, has estimated that, even with an agreement in place, it will take at least until mid-April just to welcome back elementary and special needs students. Older students would be phased in over the next couple of weeks.

TURNING INLAND The Bay Area migration has turned the Central Valley into a suddenly hot housing market, by the SF Chronicles J.K. Dineen: The pandemic-driven desire for more living space, coupled with the freedoms afforded by corporate work-from-home rules, is luring thousands of Bay Area families over the Altamont Pass to planned communities where homes are often bigger, and 50% cheaper, than they are in Dublin or Fremont or San Leandro.

State denies San Diego County districts reopening applications, causing frustration, by the SD San Diego Union-Tribunes Kristen Taketa: All three applied through a special state exemption process that allows districts to reopen schools if they believe they had qualified as already reopened before the state issued new reopening rules in mid-January.

GOP targets Californias underfunded pensions in effort to sink Bidens COVID stimulus plan, by the Sac Bees David Lightman: Republicans are taking aim at public pensions such as those in California. GOP senators say the systems are routinely bloated and often mismanaged, and argue those are big reasons federal dollars should not be used to help states.

700 volunteers in California are escorting Asian American seniors to protect them against assaults, by CBS News Natacha Larnaud: Manjusha Kulkarni, a co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate and executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, said violence against the Asian community is not new but has been exacerbated during the pandemic.

SILICON VALLEYLAND

23 House Dems ask Facebook about role of weapons ads in wake of Jan. 6 insurrection, by CNBCs Lauren Feiner: Following the insurrection at the Capitol earlier this year, Facebook temporarily suspended ads promoting weapon accessories and protective equipment through Inauguration Day. The decision followed a BuzzFeed report that found such ads were running next to misinformation about the election and news about the riot.

THEYRE LEARNING Instagram photos help Facebook AI ‘teach itself,’ by the BBCs Zoe Kleinman.

Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg thinks smart glasses could help combat climate change, by CNBCs Kif Leswing.

WATCH: Breaking the Glass Ceiling in Silicon Valley, via Bloomberg.

HOLLYWOODLAND

Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa lists Hollywood Hills perch, by the LA Times Jack Flemming: The L.A. native served as mayor from 2005 to 2013 and bought the property two years later for $2.5 million, records show.

Malala Yousafzai launches her own production studio: Entertainment can help us see what society should look like, by Fast Companys Elizabeth Segran: In 2015, Apple produced a documentary about the young activist, and since 2018, the company has sponsored research at her organization, the Malala Fund, on the intersection of girls education and climate change.

MEDIA MATTERS

Oprah Winfreys interview with Meghan and Harry pulls in 17.1 million viewers on CBS, by the LA Times Stephen Battaglio: CBS paid roughly $8 million for the rights to the program and sold 30-second commercials at a rate of $325,000.

MIXTAPE

Panda Express workers forced to strip in cult-like team-building seminar, lawsuit alleges, by the OC Registers Scott Schwebke.

Ghost Ship defendant Derick Almena to serve the remainder of his sentence from home, by the SF Chronicles Sarah Ravani.

Domestic violence, attempted strangulations on the rise in Sacramento. Whats being done, by the Sac Bees Molly Sullivan.

Five ways COVID changed Bay Area traffic, by the Mercury News Nico Savidge.

No super bloom in Anza-Borrego this spring, but late-season wildflower burst is coming, by the San Diego Union-Tribunes Pam Kragen.

Bay Area restaurants have yet another way to lose money during the pandemic: diner fraud, by the SF Chronicles Janelle Bitker.

LA County Officials Will Discuss Whether To Increase Funding For Hate Crime Reporting Program, by LAists Chris Greenspon.

MEDIA MATTERS

Simon Chan, owner of iconic Sacramento bar Simons Bar & Cafe, dies, by the Sac Bees Benjy Egel.

BIRTHDAYS

Facebooks David Ginsberg POLITICOs Leah Nylen

Did you know that POLITICO Pro has coverage and tools at the state level? All the state legislative and regulatory tracking, budget documents, state agency contact information, and everything else you need to stay ahead of state policy movement integrate into our smart and customizable platform. Learn more and become a Pro today.

CALIFORNIA POLICY IS ALWAYS CHANGING:Know your next move. From Sacramento to Silicon Valley, POLITICO California Pro provides policy professionals with the in-depth reporting and tools they need to get ahead of policy trends and political developments shaping the Golden State. To learn more about the exclusive insight and analysis this subscriber-only service offers, click here.

Want to make an impact? POLITICO California has a variety of solutions available for partners looking to reach and activate the most influential people in the Golden State. Have a petition you want signed? A cause youre promoting? Seeking to increase brand awareness amongst this key audience? Share your message with our influential readers to foster engagement and drive action. Contact Jesse Shapiro to find out how: [email protected].

This article tagged under: