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Francis Wilkinson

Gavin Newsom Declares California a ‘Nation-State’

The state is at odds with the federal government over coronavirus plans and much else.

Going his own way.

Going his own way.

Photographer: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America

California this week declared its independence from the federal government’s feeble efforts to fight Covid-19 — and perhaps from a bit more. The consequences for the fight against the pandemic are almost certainly positive. The implications for the brewing civil war between Trumpism and America’s budding 21st-century majority, embodied by California’s multiracial liberal electorate, are less clear.

Speaking on MSNBC, Governor Gavin Newsom said that he would use the bulk purchasing power of California “as a nation-state” to acquire the hospital supplies that the federal government has failed to provide. If all goes according to plan, Newsom said, California might even “export some of those supplies to states in need.”