Today’s Recall Election Shows California’s One-Party Rule May Stick Around
It’s Election Day in California, where voters will be deciding whether they want Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to finish out his first term, which ends in 2022, or be replaced by one of the 46 replacement candidates.
The latest polls are favorable to Newsom, with 53 percent of voters opting to keep Newsom and 45 percent opting to remove him. If those numbers hold, this is going to be far from a replay of Gov. Gray Davis’ recall in 2003.
Back in July and August it looked pretty dicey for Newsom as undecided voters had started to break toward tossing him. But the latest poll by the national survey company Trafalgar Group has the undecided voters flipping back in his favor, and only 2 percent of those polled remained undecided.
Republican talk show host Larry Elder remains the front-runner as a possible replacement. But Republicans are already blaming voter fraud for a potential loss in a state where mass numbers of citizens in the cities habitually vote blue over and over again. It’s the two-button meme in action: Conservatives regularly decry the state’s citizens favoring progressive candidates and policies that wreck the economy, harm businesses, prevent housing construction, and drive people out of the state. And they’re right! But to also claim that the vote to keep Newsom is fraudulent? Those two ideas don’t combine well. Newsom is not that special or different a politician from the rest of the Democratic establishment in a profoundly blue state.
The voter-fraud excuse, instead of an acceptance of defeat, also makes it harder for candidates like Elder to insist on being seen as independent from former President Donald Trump if Elder’s just going to pursue the same sore-loser tactics.
What might have caused a bit of a secondary shift in undecided voters was the actual statements put out by recall proponents that were then sent out to citizens. The signature-gathering effort began well before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, before Newsom used his emergency powers to oppressively lock down the state and then swanned off to The French Laundry for a fancy dinner. It’s a hobby for some folks to try to recall elected officials. Pretty much every
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