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Progressive Case to Vote No

My story last week —- “Don’t Let the Insurrectionists Win: Urgent Action Needed to Defeat Newsom Recall”— coincided with others raising alarms over California’s September 14 recall election. Voters are realizing it’s not a choice between Gavin Newsom and an ideal governor of one’s choosing: rather it’s a contest between Newsom and a Republican candidate whose views most California voters oppose.

A Republican who could become Governor after winning only 8% of the vote.

Based on the most recent polls, frontrunner Larry Elder could find himself leading the nation’s largest state. Who is Larry Elder and what are his views?

Larry Elder’s Politics

A Black conservative talk-show radio host, Larry Elder has taken some controversial positions. For example, he does not believe there should be a minimum wage. He is a huge fan of Donald Trump. He also believes police “systemic racism” against Blacks is a lie and urged Twitter to ban Black Lives Matter.

Elder identifies as a libertarian. That may explain why he moderated a panel whose members attacked the idea that government should regulate who can drive. That’s right. Elder’s allies see driving tests and the need for drivers’ licenses as a wrongful government infringement on freedom.

Elder also has a problem with gun control. According to the LA Times, “Elder sounds like the National Rifle Assn., contending: ‘All they do is tie the hands of law-abiding citizens.’”

Unhappy with Newsom’s handling of COVID? Elder recently attacked Newsom for requiring masks, calling that position “anti-science.”

If you want a governor who will put California in the running with Florida and Texas for national leadership in COVID hospitalizations and deaths, Elder seems like your guy.

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Unhappy with Newsom’s handling of COVID? Elder recently attacked Newsom for requiring masks, calling that position “anti-science.”

Recall Favors Fringe Candidates

This is a very different recall from 2003, when Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced Gray Davis as California’s Governor. California was nowhere near as solidly Democratic two decades ago. Schwarzenegger would likely have defeated Gray Davis had he run against him in 2002.

Newsom would beat any of the recall candidates by double-digits. In 2018 he defeated John Cox—-a candidate in the recall who gained media attention by campaigning with a bear—by a 62%-38% margin. It was “the biggest victory in a gubernatorial race in California since Earl Warren won re-election in 1950, and the biggest victory for a non-incumbent since 1930.”

Now, if 50.1% of voters back the recall Cox can become Governor regardless of how small his “victory” margin.

Opposition is Mobilizing

In the past week, labor councils across the state have hit the streets to stop Elder from replacing Newsom. People are knocking on doors and texting their friends amidst concerns about wildfires, COVID, and concern about kids returning to schools.

That grassroots activism is a great sign. The recall campaign is just beginning. Voters will start receiving ballots next week and the clock has started on the September 14 election.

randy shaw

Randy Shaw

Over two million voters signed recall petitions so the pro-recall side has a big head start. Will California choose the politics of Florida and Texas over more progressive California? The answer depends on who votes—and on recall opponents making a large voter turnout a priority.

Think how you felt the night Trump won the presidency. You probably wondered if you could have done something to change that outcome. Avoid that feeling on September 14 by doing what you can to stop the Republican power grab.

Randy Shaw

Beyond Chron