California Governor Gavin Newsom beats recall election
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday became the second governor in U.S. history to defeat a recall election to expel him from office earlier.
After a contest he hosted as part of a national battle for the values of his Democratic Party in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and lingering threats from Trumpism, the victory cemented Mr Newsom as a leading figure of national Democratic politics, preserving its prospects for a future Federal Course.
It has also allowed America’s most populous state to remain under Democratic control as a laboratory for progressive policies on immigration, climate change, representation and inequality.
A Republican would almost certainly have replaced Newsom had the recall been successful, bringing an opposing political worldview, although they would have faced a Democrat-dominated State Capitol.
The recall, which focused on Mr Newsom’s approach to the pandemic, reflected the country’s passionate political divide over business closures and mask and vaccine mandates, and the two sides will dissect its results beforehand. the 2022 midterm elections.
President Joe Biden has called for validation of the Democratic Party’s approach to tighter restrictions and vaccine requirements, urging Californians to show the nation that “leadership matters, science matters.”
The race was also a test of whether opposition to former President Donald Trump and his right-wing politics remains a motivating force for Democrats and Independents.
“We have defeated Donald Trump, we have not defeated Trumpism. Trumpism is still alive all over the country, ”Mr Newsom said as he campaigned in a state the former president lost by 29 percentage points.
Republicans were hoping for proof that frustrations over months of pandemic precautions would keep voters away from Democrats.
They also looked for evidence that voters were tired of the Liberal leadership. Democrats have controlled all levels of government in California for more than a decade, a time marked by a housing crisis and the increasingly damaging effects of climate change.
Republicans reclaimed four seats in the United States House last year, a success leaders hoped had shown signs of rekindled life.
But a recall election is a flawed barometer – especially of national trends. Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 2-to-1 in California, so the results may not translate into troubled state governors or reflect how voters will judge members of Congress next year. The fact that the unusual contest took place at the end of the summer meant that some voters were not listening.
Two questions were put to voters: Should Mr. Newsom be recalled and, if so, who should replace him? Only a handful of the 46 names on the replacement ballot had any level of public recognition, but most failed to gain traction with voters.
Conservative radio host Larry Elder, who entered the race just three months before election day, quickly rose to the top of the field. But it allowed Newsom to turn the campaign into a choice between the two men, rather than a referendum on his performance.
Mr Newsom took Mr Elder’s opposition to minimum wage and abortion rights as proof that he was outside the mainstream in California. The governor called it “more extreme than Trump”, while Mr. Biden called it “the closest thing to a Trump clone I’ve ever seen.”
Although Mr. Newsom defeated the recall, he may soon run again against Mr. Elder. The governor is due for re-election next year, and the primary, which puts candidates from all parties on a single round, is only nine months away.
The recall was initiated by an amateur political organizer, and around 1.5 million public signatures were required to trigger the ballot.