Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor of California, is a good man, a good governor, and a leading voice for the principles and values of a large majority of Californians and Democrats across America. This is why Democrats from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to President Biden and Vice President Harris and former President Obama have so strongly united behind him.
Larry Elder, the far-right conservative who would almost certainly become governor if the vote to recall Newsom passes, is a prime example of what has gone wrong with conservatism and Republicanism. He has made repeatedly false statements on multiple issues.
Female voters, working-class voters, black voters, Hispanic voters, young voters and supporters of same-sex marriage have a stake in the California recall campaign that is enormous, and incalculable.
If California women rise in large numbers to back Newsom against the recall, and the recall loses, those women will fire a political cannon that will be heard across the nation.
Until recently it appeared the anti-Newson right and partisan Republicans had the advantage, but there has been a surge of support for Newsom, concern about Elder, and enthusiasm against the recall.
While many voting groups I mention in this column are increasingly activated on the recall issue, today I single out California women as critical and potentially decisive.
It is hard to overstate the radicalism and extremism of the Texas law that would virtually outlaw abortion in Texas and other red states that are considering similar laws.
The law is aggressively punitive against those exercising their reproductive freedom rights under Roe v. Wade, and would turn millions of anti-choice citizens into compensated vigilantes attacking the rights of their neighbors, dividing citizen against citizen against what is still the law of the land today.
Similarly, it is hard to overstate the dangers of the recent Supreme Court decision that refused to intervene against this law. The real danger is that the court could, in the near future, fully overturn Roe v. Wade, which a strong majority of Californians and Americans support. The decision in the Texas case was so extreme that even Chief Justice John Roberts, who is not pro-choice, dissented against it.
In a recent column I suggested that this case will make reproductive freedom a major issue in the midterm elections. The California recall vote will support or refute my suggestion in that column.
If California women rise in large numbers to back Newsom against the recall, and the recall loses, those women will fire a political cannon that will be heard across the nation, electrify and empower women everywhere who demand their reproductive freedom rights, and be heard — potentially with profound effect — even in the chambers of the United States Supreme Court.
If the recall is defeated, Newsom would govern in the tradition of important Democrats. He reminds me of leaders such as Robert Kennedy, who brought together minority voters, white voters and working-class voters with a hard-nosed progressivism based on a rising economic tide that lifts all boats and ideals of social justice that seek opportunity for all.
If the recall is passed, Larry Elder would govern in the style of former President Donald Trump, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) who spearheads aggressive voter suppression and anti-choice policies that would turn many millions of Americans into anti-choice vigilantes, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) who wages aggressive political war against masks and other actions that would defeat the COVID-19 virus.
When John Lindsay was mayor of New York City decades ago, he called his post “the second toughest job in America.” In our times with the deadly COVID-19, an economic collapse that at one point threatened to be a new Great Depression, and the challenges created by the presidency of Donald Trump, it would not be unfair to consider the governorship of California as the second toughest job in America.
Considering the mighty forces he was up against during his term, Newsom has performed admirably and well. Imagine if California had been governed during this time by Larry Elder, who has made repeated misstatements about the COVID-19 virus, has stated he would prefer a minimum wage that is $0, would have rejected government action to lift the economy, is aggressively anti-choice and hostile to same-sex marriage.
Next week it’s up to California women, workers, minorities, young people and believers in equality and same-sex marriage to fire that political cannon that would be heard across the nation in support of rights, values and visions that a majority of Californians and Americans hold dear.
Crossposted from The Hill with the author's permission.