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Tag: newsom recall

Flattened By Vote, Recall Activists Wanly Claim 'Success'

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

On Wednesday, after the GOP effort to recall California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom officially came to an end in a resounding loss, Fox News hosted a roundtable of anti-Newsom activists who claimed they had achieved "success."

The recall results were not close. The ballot against recalling Newsom received 64 percent of the vote and held a lead of over 2.5 million votes, with 70 percent of the total counted.

However, Fox & Friends invited several guests who were a part of the recall movement to react to the results of the election, and many of them declared successes.

"I do think this was a huge success because a small group of people did put some fear into the governor to the point that he actually had to fly out the vice president and the president," Erica Kious, the former owner of a San Francisco hair salon, said, after saying she was "devastated" by the recall results.

In September 2020, Kious had released a video of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visiting her salon despite COVID restrictions.

"It was a huge grassroots effort," guest Aaron Bergh said. "It was great to see this revolution of small business owners and dissatisfied parents and just ordinary Californians to put their foot down and say we need change here."

The GOP effort to oust Newsom lost despite national support and fundraising campaigns.

While Newsom outraised his opponents, there were millions raised in favor of the recall campaign. The Los Angeles Times reported that pro-recall efforts received over $45.2 million in donations.

The recall campaign also had the support of the national Republican Party and the California Republican Party.

"Gavin Newsom has had three years to solve California's problems. He has only made them worse. His time in office is up," Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote in an op-ed column on FoxNews.com on Tuesday.

Jessica Millan Patterson, chair of the California Republican Party, wrote a few hours before the election, "@CAGOP has grown to 72,000 volunteers and made 18 million voter contacts to #RecallGavinNewsom - the excitement and enthusiasm is there, Californians are hungry for change."

And then there was Fox News. As polling began showing a likely Newsom win, Fox began to promote baseless conspiracy theories alleging that the election would be stolen.

"The only thing that will save Gavin Newsom is voter fraud," Fox host Tomi Lahren claimed on the September 7 edition of the program Outnumbered.

On August 22, Fox contributor Newt Gingrich similarly alleged that "this is going to be an election where they go all-out to steal the referendum."

And on August 25, Fox host Tucker Carlson claimed that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris campaigning for Newsom was a threat to democracy: "Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are now set to campaign against the recall — 'No more democracy for you!' You've got to wonder, will the state survive this? Will there be a free and fair election?"

Despite the efforts of the state and national Republicans and their allies at Fox, the leading Republican candidate in the recall, Larry Elder, conceded on Tuesday night.

"Let's be gracious in defeat. By the way, we may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war," Elder said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Recall Results Show Trumpism On The Run

Reprinted with permission from DC Report

The overwhelming failure in the recall of California Gov. Gavin Newsom should send a powerful message to those Republicans who think their future lies with Donald Trump and Trumpism. It doesn't.

By any measure, the vote to retain Newsom was a landslide. Almost 64 percent of voters cast ballots against recalling Newsom.

That's better than the record margin by which Newsom won in 2018. He won that race with just under 62 percent of the vote. It also equals the share of California votes for Biden against Trump in 2020.

The recall vote is a clear repudiation of the Trumpian tactic of trying to disrupt and delegitimize government when anyone but a Trumper wins the popular vote. Havoc will continue, but it can be defeated – always — if enough sensible Americans cast ballots.

Trumpism isn't dead, not yet. But it's not attracting new adherents, either. That's because all it offers is anger, the lethal rejection of medical science and cultish devotion to a deeply disturbed con artist who just makes stuff up like his very recent delusional claim of being rescued on 9/11 by two firefighters.

Trumpism is not an ideology, just political masturbation.

And no one in America is more captured by self-love than Donald Trump.

General elections, especially when the presidency is on the ballot, draw far more voters than special elections. That's why the Republican Party has long relied on them to put its people in office. The GOP simply does better at turning out the vote than the Democrats, or at least it did until 2020.

In spring, it looked like Newsom could become the third governor in American history to be recalled because rank-and-file Democrats weren't paying attention. Neither were the independents, whose numbers equal those of Republicans in California.

Newsom had loaded himself up with political baggage in the way he handled the worst of the Covid pandemic. His public health emergency order last fall imposed mask and indoor activities limits that infuriated not just the freedumb crowd but some struggling small business owners.

In an act of maddening arrogance and political stupidity, the governor enjoyed dinner in a Napa Valley French restaurant without a mask. He violated other Covid protocols as well. And he got photographed.

"Do as I say and not as I do" has ended the careers of more than a few politicians, yet Newsom is coming out of the recall much stronger than ever.

Newsom got lucky, but that stroke of political luck contains a valuable lesson for defeating Trumpism.

The leading candidate to succeed Newsom if the recall won was Larry Elder, a deranged Trumper radio talk show host. Elder made clear the recall was a referendum on Trumpism, a novice political move that professional Democrats exploited fully.

Under California's century-old populist recall rules, a small minority can force an election. Then if 50 percent plus one voter favor recall, the new governor is whomever gets the most votes the same day. That could, literally, be someone who earns less than ten percent of the vote. Elder polled at about 18 percent but won 45 percent of the vote in a field of almost 50 gubernatorial wannabes. Still, Elder secured far fewer votes than the number of votes favoring recall.

Let us hope the populist California recall, initiative and referendum rules will get modernized to make putting items on the ballot harder.

There is a lesson in what happened between June and September 14.

Elder is a longtime fixture in the Los Angeles radio market, a robust marketplace of music, news, ideas, and nonsense.

A true-red Trumper, Elder spouts crazy, illogical, half-baked, fact-free, absurd, and downright offensive ideas, sometimes contradicting himself just like his hero does.

After Elder complained that Los Angeles Times never reviewed his books, the paper obliged. The devastating result is an object lesson in being careful what you wish for because it may come true. Wrote reviewer David L. Ulin after reading four of Elder's seven books:

Elder is not a writer but a brand. As such, he is always on brand, regardless of the issue: the economy, the unhoused, law enforcement, immigration rights. His columns represent not so much a voice in conversation as a series of diatribes. When it comes to public policy, Elder offers neither subtlety nor nuance, not least because that isn't what his audience wants.

Facts are to Elder just as they are to Trump: They don't matter. Like Trump, Elder creates his own reality.

That goes over well among the American Taliban and their uncouth cousins, the American Yahoos. California is not poor Alabama or Mississippi or home to Covidiocy leaders as in Texas and Florida.

California, where I grew up and lived for 36 years, is rich. It would boast Earth's fifth-biggest economy if it were a nation because of education and science.

Be it growing strawberries year-round, making movies, or splicing genes, California's economy is science-driven. Trumpism rejects science as it preys on the minds of people who didn't pay attention in high school and couldn't explain the function of RNA if their lives depended on it. Among Trumpers, it's OK, indeed more than OK, to be ignorant.

Elder promotes some wildly crazy ideas. He proposed reparations for slave owners because their "property" was taken away by President Abraham Lincoln. He also said he would have voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

By the way, Elder is Black.

On the day before the recall vote ended, Elder posted on his website assertions that the recall vote results were fraud and statistical analysis proved that.

That's a remarkable claim to make before any vote results are known and before the election ends. But it's consistent with the Trumpism practice of just making stuff up. The week before the election, Trump said the election was rigged for Newsom. He reiterated that on election day.

Elder's campaign also made clear that he intended to govern California in pure Trumpian style, by tweet rather than substance. That also alarmed voters in a state whose economy is heavily based on science.

Most Californians had never heard of Elder before the recall. Only when Democratic strategists started to get out the word about what a crazy loon Elder is, Democrats, independents and those Republicans not infected with Trumpism began mailing in their ballots in large numbers.

The lesson: Who votes is all that matters in elections.

Trumpers are a slowly dwindling minority. As a class, they don't understand how the world works, don't embrace logic, think they are smarter than the scientists they denounce, embrace stupidity and incompetence [see Dunning-Krueger Effect] and are easily taken in by slogans rather than substance. Many are as closed-minded as the Taliban.

Those people love Trump because he freed the inner racism of the Republican Party, which has always been there. Witness opposition to civil rights and voting rights. Trump told his followers that it was OK to use racial slurs and that violently attacking those you disagree with meant you were "fine people."

The insurmountable problem for Republicans – unless they steal elections – is that white supremacy continues to slowly fade despite its vicious public displays during the brief Trump era. That's because humans evolved toward cooperation, not Trump's Hobbesian notions of brutal power abused to make life nasty, brutish, and short for the many.

The lesson about building a better America is that to defeat Trumpism its opponents must make sure they get out the story of who Trumper candidates are and what they believe. Letting them hide behind slogans is a terrible strategy.

But most of all, people must vote. All that matters is turning out the vote. Period. Elections are won by those who cast ballots.

That's the whole point of the GOP proposing — and in many states enacting — laws to suppress the votes of people not in line with what's left of traditional Republicanism and politically flaccid Trumpism.

America is home to far more good, decent and caring people than losers drawn to Trump.

Vote. Be an owner of our government, not a renter or, worst of all, a squatter.

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

As Major Defeat Loomed, McCarthy Said Recall Is ‘Pretty Big Victory’

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday claimed that even if the Republican-led campaign to recall Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in California fails, it will still be a "pretty big victory" for his party. McCarthy represents California's 23rd Congressional District in Congress.

In an appearance on Fox News' Fox and Friends, he was asked what his expectations were for the outcome of the recall attempt, with polls set to close in California at 8 p.m. PT on Tuesday.

"Gavin Newsom has all the money, we just have the issues on our side," said McCarthy, adding, "Just getting it to a recall is a pretty big victory in itself."

California has some of the most lenient laws in the country as far as recalling a governor or other statewide official. The state requires that a petition collect signatures amounting to 12 percent of the votes cast in the last election for the office, the smallest percentage of signatures needed of all states. And due to the pandemic, recall hopefuls were granted an additional 120 days to gather signatures.

In spite of these advantages favoring the Republican-backed recall, polling has consistently shown opposition to the effort. In FiveThirtyEight's average of recall polls, 57.8 percent of respondents support keeping Newsom in office, while support for removal is at 41.5 percent.

The 12 most recent polls listed on the FiveThirtyEight site show the option to retain Newsom with a double-digit lead, ranging from 10 to 19 points.

From the September 14 edition of Fox & Friends:

AINSLEY EARHARDT, Fox News: What do you expect in California today, your state, with this recall?

KEVIN MCCARTHY: It's going to be interesting. Because here we are in California, Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one, but you're going to have to really watch what turns out today.

If Republicans are – independents are voting to remove Gavin Newsom, because think about it for one moment, if you travel California, there's homelessness in every place of it. Crime rising. There's not one national park in California open because there's mismanagement of forest that comes every single year. And do you want to reward that?

He's been in Sacramento for more than a decade and he has no plan to turn it around. All he does is bring in Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and others to say, "Keep me, otherwise a Republican will win."

This is an opportunity to change the course. If we have a deficit going into election day, of a million or less, there's an opportunity that we can be successful here. But, you know, Gavin Newsom has all the money, we just have the issues on our side. Just getting it to a recall is a pretty big victory in itself.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Christian Nationalists Predict Victory For Far-Right Recall Candidate

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Christian nationalists in California are making an aggressive push to have embattled Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) recalled. The candidate they are advocating for heavily aligns with their own political agenda.

According to a new report published by Right Wing Watch, far-right Christian leaders and Republicans are advocating for conservative radio host Larry Elder.

Holding a sharp position on key conservative issues like abortion, voting rights, and COVID mitigation, Elder has received an influx of support from conservatives religious leaders.

One of his strongest supporters is Ché Ahn, a Pasadena, Calif.-based religious leader working to get as many evangelicals as possible to vote on the recall.

In fact, Ahn has a long history of advocating for Republican candidates and controversial policies the party has long worked to enact.

On January 5, just one day before the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Ahn appeared at the "Stop the Steal" rally that was organized to stir up the pro-Trump base. At the time, Ahn reportedly circulated misinformation about the presidential election by telling Trump-supporting rallygoers "that the election was stolen but that Trump would remain in office."

"We're gonna rule and reign through President Trump and under the lordship of Jesus Christ," he declared.

Over the last several weeks, a number of similar events have been held to boost Elder's campaign but the publication highlights one event in particular as it sheds light on how Christian nationalists are using religion to justify their political goals.

Per the publication:

A Sept. 2 California Pastors Town Hall sponsored by the Salt & Light Council focused in part on the recall election. Bishop Art Hodges urged pastors to bring their ballots to church and to portray voting as a sacred duty. 'It is our duty as Christians in America,' he said, to ensure God's continued blessing on the U.S. by 'choosing leaders who will honor biblical values and morality.' Hodges presented talking points favoring the recall, which began with Newsom performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples and running through a litany of complaints, including 'Cash payments to illegals.'

California's special election will be held on Tuesday Sept. 14.

Why Biden’s Approval Ratings Will Rise Again

When President Joe Biden announced his new plan to mandate vaccinations and additional strong measures to curtail the spreading coronavirus, he was refreshingly brisk and blunt. It was a speech that marked an important step toward restoration of American political sanity.

"My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We've made vaccinations free, safe and convenient," the president said. And then he sounded the bass note: "We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us."

Evidently the president now realizes that the great majority of this country's citizens — after enduring the lockdowns, wearing the masks, taking the shots — are frustrated and yearning for effective action against the pandemic and its human accomplices. They see no reason to tolerate collusion in the spread of a deadly disease that has killed hundreds of thousands and threatens to kill many more with surging variants. They are ready to crack down on the selfish, stupid minority who cannot be bothered to protect their neighbors or themselves.

Does that sound angry? Until now, most expressions of rage, not to mention violent threats and acts, have come from the opposite direction. Everyone has seen viral videos of outrageous misconduct and vile assaults from the opponents of masking and vaccination, encouraged by right-wing media outlets that confuse "freedom" with promiscuous infection. This week, millions watched a disgusting person intentionally cough on a woman and her daughter in a grocery store because they were masked. Happily, that person's employers at SAP watched it too, and fired her sorry ass.

Yes, Americans have seen enough of that literally sickening behavior. When Biden said, "our patience is wearing thin," he was putting it mildly. He knows, because recent polls have suggested that patience with him was beginning to diminish too.

While the chaotic U.S. departure from Afghanistan may have influenced the dip in Biden's approval ratings, his deeper problem was the raging wave of coronavirus infections and deaths brought on by the Delta variant. The high ratings he enjoyed since taking office owed much to his deliberate and determined offensive against the pandemic; when he was perceived to falter over the past few months, his numbers slipped. Meanwhile, public support has been rising for vaccine mandates and a tougher approach overall.

The trend first became obvious in California, as so many trends do. The recall campaign against Gov. Gavin Newsom, it should be emphasized, caught fire when he was caught flouting his own COVID-19 regulations at a fancy Napa restaurant. The latest surveys, however, show Newsom pulling ahead because of his own government's vaccination mandates — and because he has rightly warned against the "anti-vax Republican government" that would take over if voters boot him. He has saved his political career by putting vaccine mandates at the center of his administration. If the election were held today, he would likely win by as much as 20 percent, perhaps more.

Even before Biden announced his own new suite of policies, the vaccination rate was steadily increasing again, largely thanks to public and private sector mandates that have gained traction since early summer. By overwhelming majorities, the public approves of those requirements at work and at school — and the result is that vaccine hesitancy has been steadily diminishing, with polls showing resistance at its lowest level since the question was first asked.

The most bracing moment in Biden's speech came when he informed the governors of Texas and Florida, and any others who might follow them, that his administration will financially and legally bolster any school district they attempt to intimidate from protecting teachers and students. In that instant, he confronted the toxic bullying by Republicans who want to prolong the pandemic for partisan gain — and showed who is tougher.

What Americans want from their leaders is usually simple enough. They want compassion, common sense, decency, and above all strength of conviction. In a word, they want the kind of leadership that Biden is providing. His numbers will soon rise again as the infection numbers fall.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

GOP Strategists Dread Elder's Looming Defeat In Recall

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The last time a Democratic governor faced a recall election in California, the Republican candidate prevailed. In October 2003, Californians voted to replace Democratic Gov. Gray Davis with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. But 18 years later, Gov. Gavin Newsom's main GOP challenger is someone much more controversial and divisive than the moderate Schwarzenegger: far-right radio host Larry Elder — and California Republicans, according to the conservative Washington Examiner, now fear that they may have blown a chance to unseat Newsom.

Rob Stutzman, a Sacramento-based Republican strategist who advised Schwarzenegger in 2003, told the Examiner, "Newsom has successfully framed the race as him versus Elder, and Democratic voters are responding by voting. Elder has no appeal outside of GOP voters."

The 69-year-old Elder is much different from Schwarzenegger, who leans conservative but isn't far-right. Schwarzenegger has been vehemently critical of former President Donald Trump, whereas Elder is an in-your-face Trump apologist in a state that Trump lost to now-President Joe Biden by 29 percent in the 2020 presidential election. Schwarzenegger, in contrast, had a lot more crossover appeal; many Democrats voted for him in 2003, and he was reelected in 2006. The Austria-born action film star turned politician is a textbook example of how a Republican can win a gubernatorial race in a deep blue state — not unlike Gov. Charlie Baker in Massachusetts or Gov. Phil Scott in Vermont.

Elder courts controversy. In July, Elder offended many people when, in July, he told right-wing pundit Candace Owens that arguably, former slaveowners were owed reparations after the Civil War because the federal government took their "property" away from them. But while "owning the liberals" and making outrageous comments can draw ratings in right-wing talk radio or on Fox News, it isn't a good strategy in a state as Democratic as California.

Larry Elder on reparations for slave owners and Candace Owens in complete agreement. Unbelievable! www.youtube.com

Regardless, Democratic organizers and strategists are leaving nothing to chance. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are among the major Democrats who have either visited California to campaign for Newsom or plan to do so.

The Examiner's David M. Drucker explains, "Earlier this summer, Democratic strategists who lived through the 2003 recall worried Newsom could be toppled despite California becoming a deeper shade of blue since then. Some believe this recall might have ended similarly if a centrist, such as former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, emerged as the consensus GOP contender. Elder's swift rise after entering the race late compared to the rest of the Republican field has them breathing a huge sigh of relief."

Conservative pundit Tim Miller, a Never Trumper and ex-Republican who supported Biden in 2020, views Elder as an extremist and believes that Republicans would have been much better off if Faulconer, not Elder, were the GOP frontrunner in the recall election. In a video posted on the conservative website The Bulwark earlier this week, Miller said of Faulconer, "He's a moderate Republican former mayor of San Diego. He wants to address climate change and supports citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Sounds like my kinda guy. But of course, he also voted for [Donald] Trump." And Miller slammed Elder as "basically a walking Boomer Facebook meme" who has "made countless crazy statements."

Tim Miller on WTF Is Going On With The California Recall www.youtube.com

California Republicans, according to Drucker, "claim Elder squandered opportunities to hobble Newsom when he was on the ropes." A California-based GOP consultant, presumably interviewed on condition of anonymity, believes that if Newsom survives the recall, Elder will be to blame.

That Republican told the Examiner, "Before Elder, the race was all about Gavin, and our polls were looking very good. If the election had been four or more weeks ago, we would have won."

Trailing In Recall Polls, Elder Spews Election Fraud Lies

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

As polling grows grimmer for him, California gubernatorial recall candidate Larry Elder is baselessly warning of"election fraud" — parroting the same lies former President Donald Trump and his GOP defenders told in the wake of the 2020 contest.

"I believe that there might very well be shenanigans, as it were in the 2020 election," Elder, currently the GOP's top candidate in the race, told reporters on Wednesday, after he cast his recall ballot for himself.

Elder's comments came amid a spate of polling showing that Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has opened up a wide lead and is heavily favored to hold on to his position — despite the Republican effort to remove him.

A Suffolk University poll released Wednesday found 58 percent of California voters want to keep Newsom, while 41 percent want to remove him, giving Newsom a 17-point advantage. According to the FiveThirtyEight polling average, voters want to keep Newsom as governor by a 12-point spread.

Election handicapping outlets also say Newsom is the favorite, with Inside Elections rating it a "likely Democratic" contest and the Cook Political Report rating it a "lean Democratic" race.

If voters choose to keep Newsom as governor in the recall election, the race for who will replace him won't matter; however, if Republicans manage to oust Newsom, Elder is the leading GOP candidate in the race.

The Suffolk University poll showed Elder having the support of 39 percent of voters, with "undecided" taking the second-place spot at 28 percent. No other major candidate received more than five percent support.

Elder has echoed many of former President Donald Trump's voter fraud lies, questioning the results of the 2020 election with the same kind of rhetoric repeated by Trump and his defenders both before and after the election and the riot by his supporters, stoked by such lies, at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

"The 2020 election, in my opinion, was full of shenanigans," Elder said in a Fox News interview on Sunday. "And my fear is they're going to try that in this election right here and recall."

Elder also said Wednesday that he's gearing up to file lawsuits if he loses.

"We have a voter integrity project, we have lawyers all set up all ready to go to file lawsuits in a timely fashion," Elder said.

He added falsely that the reason for the failure of the many lawsuits filed by Trump supporters and lawyers in an effort to overturn the 2020 election was that they were "filed too late."

In fact, the lawsuits failed because Trump's legal team and others who filed them provided no evidence that there was fraud, with judges dressing down the lawyers who filed the suits for their efforts to undo the democratic process.

In Pennsylvania, Trump-appointed Judge Stephanos Bibas of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit wrote in a decision in one of the cases, "Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here."

And a number of lawyers who filed lawsuits to overturn the 2020 election, including conspiracy theorist lawyer Sidney Powell, have been sanctioned by a federal judge and face further disciplinary actions.

As of Tuesday, a week before the recall election in California, nearly 6.2 million ballots had already been returned, according to political handicapper Ryan Matsumoto, with Democratic voters far outpacing Republicans in the number of returned ballots.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.