Newsom Survives Recall by Attacking Trump Voters

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Gov. Gavin Newson survived a feisty California recall election Tuesday night the only way he could: by stoking fear, vilifying opponents, and adding in some bigotry.


Having piloted a failing state into the ground, Newsom could not run on his record, so he and his acolytes simply attacked Republican frontrunner Larry Elder and former President Donald Trump.

Trump gave Democrats an opening when he claimed Monday, “Does anybody really believe the California Recall Election isn’t rigged? Millions and millions of Mail-In Ballots will make this just another giant Election Scam, no different, but less blatant, than the 2020 Presidential Election Scam!”

Much like when Democrats won two crucial Georgia U.S. Senate elections in January, Newsom appeared thrilled that Trump inserted himself into the race, as liberals believe the former president keeps suburban moderates in their tent, especially in California.

Advertisements supporting Newsom described Elder as a “Trump Republican.” President Joe Biden, rallying for Newsom  on Monday, called Elder the “closest thing to a Trump clone,” adding: “You either keep Gavin Newsom as your governor or you’ll get Donald Trump,” even though Elder disagrees with Trump on free trade and reducing troops in Afghanistan.


With no legitimate Democrat challenger, once Elder catapulted to the top of Republicans’ preference, the race became Newsom vs. Elder and Trump, instead of about Newsom’s destructive gubernatorial tenure.

Democrats plastered the 45th president’s face on campaign flyers and ads, claiming the recall threatened to usher in “an anti-vaccine Trump Republican.”

It worked.

August surveys showed the election in a statistical tie, but a flurry of recent polls showed nearly 60 percent of registered voters opposed ousting the first-term governor.

“If the recall were simply a referendum on his record, Newsom would have a big problem,” Claremont McKenna College professor John Pitney Jr. said. “But he successfully framed it as a choice between a Democrat and a Trump-worshiping extremist Republican.”

Newsom used the Trump tactic to distract voters from the Golden State’s woes, including record-breaking wildfires, an estimated $30 billion in pandemic relief fraud, high taxes, failing schools, draconian regulations, and the governor’s hypocrisy of dining unmasked at an exclusive restaurant with lobbyists during lockdowns.

“Just yelling ‘Trump, Trump, Trump’ is what Gavin Newsom does to divert attention from his record on crime, record on the rise of on homelessness, his record on the fact that for the very first time in history, people have left California and we’re losing a congressional seat as a result of that,” Elder, who’s recently written powerfully on key issues, said last month.



“The polling clearly startled Newsom and his campaign advisors, so they turned from defending his record as governor for the past 30 months, particularly his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, to offense, branding the recall as a power grab by disgruntled fans of ex-President Donald Trump,” California political columnist Dan Walters opined on Friday.

Still, more than 2 million Californians signed recall petitions to oust Newsom. It was not enough to help the South Los Angeles Republican born into poverty overcome the San Francisco Democrat born into privilege.

It always was a major uphill battle, with registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans 2 to 1 in California, and Biden carrying the state by nearly 30 percentage points last November.

Even a New York Times writer confessed Monday, “A victory will be less a vote of confidence than a resounding rejection of the right-wing Republican agenda.”


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