Can we trade Gavin Newsom for Kristi Noem?

What do South Dakota and California have in common, you may wonder. (I doubt you do, but this is me making a point).

I can’t attest to specific commonalities between the states, but on an intuitive basis it’s safe to say that the contrast between the two is stark. In geography, climate, demographics, economy and social outlook, I see nothing that binds them, except for this…

Pretty Governors

California and South Dakota share photogenic governors, but even in this, the synchronicity is weak, if not directly oppositional.

Plains State Republican Kristi Noem has displayed a renowned laissez faire handling of the pandemic which contrasts with Gavin Newsom’s California mother hen approach. If we’re going to get statistical about it (an approach the public and news media prove to be incredibly blind about), California’s COVID-19 mortality rate is glaringly lower than South Dakota’s.

I pulled current numbers at (1145 PDT)

In our gold shiny State of tanned, non-lockdown-abiding politicos, about .13% of residents have succumbed to the virus while in South Dakota that figure is approximately .21%. We generally do not dig this deeply into the scheme of fear and Chicken Little hyperbole, however. The human mind does not tolerate decimals well, and definitely not if the decimal points rightward. Numbers like .0013 and .0021 are incomprehensible to the normal person’s intuitive decoding mechanism. Now whole, big numbers on the other hand, do. Those we can wrap our puny little heads around. California has 51,979 deaths, South Dakota, 1,886. In the interest of statistical fairness, there is a third factor here which must be included for accurate context.

C’mon. Who needs pretty ornaments like “accurate context” when brute figures like 51,979 and 1,886 are sparring? Nobody, least of all the media or politicians.

The alluring Kristi Noem, saddled with pretty girl problems like governing a small state during a big number crisis, is free to ruffle her colorful feathers quite magnanimously and appear as if she’s really knocking it out of the epidemiological park (ie, the Sweden approach).

I’m sold.

Here in California, we’re crucifying Governor Newsom for keeping the state’s COV-mortality rate pretty damn low (below the national average). We’re not trying to recall him due to California’s respectable stats, but for its glaring raw numerical supremacy. One cannot downplay 51,979 deaths while up-playing our 40,000,0000 population. Humans only have the ability to harness one number at a time in their cranium; you expect them to do that while simultaneously tethering another in a different compartment as an objective comparison? And that is just one data point…wait until we make it 4 by adding a second state to the mix.

Screw it.  I still want Kristi here.  I’m jumping aboard the Recall Newsom bandwagon, but can we arrange this as a player trade?  South Dakota gets Gavin and in return, California gets Kristi.  I realize that her transplanted pandemic strategy would imply California’s new death toll would rise to 84,000, but I’ll accept that as a necessary evil in exchange for Noem’s sparse, from-the-hip transparency.  And those eyes!

Kristi looks like one of those girls whose attractiveness has fomented much auspiciousness in their prosperous life.  In addition to a swell pandemic divisor which will chronically denote South Dakotan success, there are other statistic she’s “inherited” which will radically affect the results of her transplanted strategy once she takes office in California.


 [see] White white Black black Hispanic hispanic Asian asian American Indian american indian
California 37.0% 5.5% 39.1% 14.4% 0.4%
South Dakota 82.3% 1.9% 3.6% 1.2% 8.6%

Is it hate speech to guess which governor pulled the short stick?

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