Exclusive — Michael Shellenberger: An Independent Can Win California

Michael Shellenberger
Wikimedia Commons

Independent gubernatorial candidate Michael Shellenberger told Breitbart News Sunday that an independent can unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) in the November election by targeting bread-and-butter issues that Californians care about across parties.

Shellenberger, a writer and public policy wonk, is a Democrat-turned independent who described himself in an interview on Sunday as conservative on law-and-order issues, liberal on the goals of government policy, and libertarian on social issues.

But ideological minutiae, he said, matter less to an electorate worried about crime, homelessness, drought, and electricity.

Though voters are still split along partisan lines when it comes to their priorities — Democrats are still worried about climate change, while Republicans worry more about crime — both sides are concerned about homelessness, even if solutions differ.

In his bestselling bookSan Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities, Shellenberger outlines how good intentions and left-wing sentiments have made San Francisco and other Democrat-run cities ungovernable. He has called for more policing and ending permissive drug policies that have turned parts of San Francisco into open-air drug markets, with official sanction.

Recently, Shellenberger has also been a strong advocate for nuclear power, opposing the closure of Diablo Canyon, the last nuclear power plant in the state. (The liberal New Yorker recently described him, disapprovingly, as “a controversial figure, known for his pugilistic defense of nuclear power and his acerbic criticism of mainstream environmentalists.”)

Shellenberger also told Breitbart News Sunday that the timing of a recent decision to remove four dams on the Klamath River was inappropriate, given that the state has not built new water storage capacity in decades, and that it is running low on hydroelectric power in the middle of a drought. He is also a strong advocate for expanding the number of desalination plants.

Though taking on an incumbent Democrat — especially one at the apex of the state’s liberal establishment — is a near-impossible task in California, Shellenberger believes that as a “No Party Preference” candidate, he can finish second in the June 7 primary and face Newsom in a runoff in November under the state’s “jungle” system, in which the top two primary finishers advance to the general election, regardless of party. Without the Republican label, he believes, he can actually win.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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