Queue the Fleetwood Mac song Landslide.
No on can rightly say that despite their inherent (thank God!) incompetence, Trumpublican’s lack strategic vision. With their African American Trump proxy in what they thought was the lead in the effort to unseat Gavin Newsom, the idea was to do an end-run on the fragile Senate majority with their guy being able to appoint a Republican to Diane Feinstein’s seat when it is finally vacated—either by death or retirement.
Yesterday’s massive loss by recall supporters should bring a huge sigh of relief from those who feared the worst. The prospects of Larry Elder being elected governor by a tiny minority of the California electorate were nothing short of grim—that is unless one favors all the insanity that attaches to supporters of the Trumpian ideals now pushed by that faction.
Like the dubious attorneys that brought the “Kraken” lawsuits to try to overturn Biden’s election, those that started this recall effort should be charged for its costs. According to published reports, the cost of this recall to the state was over $276 million. Pure waste.
But despite the recrimination that can be heaped on the recall campaign, it perversely served as a valuable tool. This recall vote turned into a referendum on the entire Trumpublican agenda: voting rights, women’s reproductive rights, Covid safety measures and the rest of it.
While California’s population is substantially larger than the nearest next state, the number of Covid-19 infections are proportionately far lower. Right wing complaints center on their “rights” being violated by being required to wear masks, socially distance and worst of all, get vaccinated. But these work. Frankly, Trump’s faction is so nuts now that it is demanding the right to infect others—pretty obvious when you look at it without the gold-tinted lenses.
Gavin Newsom has made a lot of missteps in his handling of Covid-19. No question. Probably the worst of them was the horrible example of his lunch at the French Laundry which I am sure will haunt him for some time. But comparing his efforts to the “Oh, it’s just a hoax and not a real problem” lick and a false promise from Trump just does not fly. There is no comparison. And somehow throughout it all California ended up with a massive budget surplus which now benefit the entire population of the state—unlike the financial debacle Trump oversaw.
There is no such thing as a perfect human much less a perfect politician. All members of the political species have to be measured by the sum of their achievements or the lack of them, or the sum of their support or the lack of it. The contrast between Newsom and what Trump supporters hold dear is pretty stark.
Newsom’s victory and the reasons for it should serve as an incredibly loud rejection of Trumpian policies. Sensible political operators would be taking a hard look at their positions and figuring out how to change. But as the immediate actions of Larry Elder’s screaming voter fraud may telegraph, they are probably not going to get the message.
We should be ready for more attempted to undermine democratic norms from this crowd. That is prudent. But we should also take heart in the fact that California clearly demonstrates that they don’t have either the numbers or the mandate to overthrow democracy.