California Lieutenant Governor and gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom reportedly claimed that he has no idea what a “Davos Democrat” is even though former Los Angeles Mayor and challenger Antonio Villaraigosa has been slamming Newsom with the elitist label.
“I honestly don’t know what it means,” Newsom reportedly said on Monday evening at a University of San Francisco event. “The effort there is to discredit my past, my record, and I’m frankly dismissive of it.”
— Joe Garofoli (@joegarofoli) February 6, 2018
Villaraigosa has been hammering Newsom as an elitist who is out of touch with the concerns of working-class Californians who do not drive Teslas, painting him as someone who feels more comfortable among the Davos elite than blue-collar workers.
“There are some who have never been in the trenches, in the fight for social and economic justice,” Villaraigosa said at the last year’s Democratic state convention. “These Davos Democrats fly over the homes of Californians left behind — have never been in their living rooms.”
When asked later to clarify those remarks, Villaraigosa said when Newsom was hobnobbing at Davos while he was San Francisco’s mayor, Villaraigosa was attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors instead when he was Los Angeles’s mayor.
“And I was doing that because I understood how important it was for us to focus at home. I do think we spend a lot of time standing up for people who drive a Tesla, and not a Toyota. Not to mention people who ride a bus,” Villaraigosa said.
The Washington Post recently noted that Newsom realizes he needs more support among non-coastal Californians, pointing out that Newsom has been “attempting to speak to the growing sense among the state’s more conservative rural voters that they are paying too much for services that primarily benefit those who live on the coast. That east-west divide largely has replaced the north-south rivalry that once shaped state politics.”
Outgoing California Governor Jerry Brown also acknowledged that while California’s “consulting class” has prospered, many have been left behind. Brown reportedly worried that more rural laborers who have a “culture of working with their hands” are disappearing.