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There’s a good chance that California — a solidly blue state — will get a right-wing Republican governor as a result of the September 14 recall election. If Gov. Gavin Newsom is recalled, the health, civil rights and future of Californians — and people across the country — will be profoundly threatened. It is also possible that Newsom’s defeat could change the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, since the next California governor may be in a position to appoint a senator.
In defending his governorship, Newsom emphasizes that a GOP leader would likely roll back progressive reforms.
“The recall is an attempt by national Republican and Trump supporters to force an election and grab power in California,” Newsom’s ballot statement in the Official Voter Information Guide says. “The leaders of the Republican recall seek to repeal California’s clean air protections, roll back gun safety laws and take away health care from those who need it.”
Newsom cited his efforts to fight racism and police violence in an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune:
California has fought systemic racism and fought to infuse our justice system with more safety and equality…. I’ve signed into law the nation’s strongest police use-of-force standard; outlawed private, for-profit prisons and immigration detention centers; banned all chokeholds in California; passed the nation’s first bill requiring independent investigations by the attorney general of all police shootings of unarmed individuals; and passed legislation to reform California’s juvenile justice system, break the school to prison pipeline, and phase out state-operated youth prisons.
Right-wing forces behind the recall were aided by the pandemic, gaining more time than usual to collect signatures to place the recall election, estimated to cost taxpayers $276 million, on the ballot. Newsom is also suffering from a self-inflicted wound stemming from the pandemic. Although he was the first governor to issue a mask mandate, which was popular with most Californians, he attended a dinner in November at the upscale French Laundry restaurant with no masks or social distancing, giving rise to charges of hypocrisy.
Even though Republicans make up just 24 percent of registered California voters, a CBS News poll released on August 15 indicated that Newsom has only a slim lead, within the margin of error, among likely voters. Republicans will probably vote at a greater rate than Democrats because California Democratic Party leaders didn’t initially take the recall seriously and dragged their feet while Republicans were mobilizing.
Right-Wing Republican Larry Elder Leads the GOP Pack to Replace Newsom
Trumpster radio talk-show host Republican Larry Elder is the front-runner among the 46 candidates vying to replace Newsom if the latter is recalled. Elder — who mentored Trump’s anti-immigrant adviser Stephen Miller — denies the existence of systemic racism, inaccurately describes Black people as crime-prone, and opposes sanctuary laws and citizenship for Dreamers. He is against vaccine and mask mandates and doesn’t take the climate crisis seriously. Elder opposes gun control, any minimum wage, paid family leave and has called Roe v. Wade “one of the worst decisions that the Supreme Court ever handed down.”
California is a national leader in moving away from fossil fuels,