How Gavin Newsom went from landslide victory to fighting for his political survival

In the giddy early hours of his landslide victory, California’s governor-elect struck a tone that signaled the grandiosity of his ambitions. “The sun is rising in the west, and the arc of history is bending in our direction,” Gavin Newsom told jubilant supporters on election night in November 2018.

There was some basis for a progressive Democrat’s fizzy confidence. Newsom had trounced his Republican rival with 62% of the vote. He would enter office with a massive budget surplus in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2 to 1, with supermajorities in both legislative houses.