Decryption | A “retrograde” governor for California?

(New York) He equates abortion with murder. He considers efforts to combat global warming to be in vain. He is against gun control and the concept of the minimum wage.

Posted on Aug 23, 2021 at 6:00 am

Richard Hétu Special collaboration

His critics refer to him as “extremist” or “backward”, while his admirers refer to him as a “breath of fresh air”. On September 14, talk radio veteran and provocation master Larry Elder could be appointed to replace Democrat Gavin Newsom as governor of California.

PHOTO SANTIAGO MEJIA, RELATED PRESS ARCHIVE

Gavin Newsom, Governor of California

To date, voters in America’s most populous states have two impeachment questions to answer. The first goes like this: “Should GAVIN NEWSOM be removed from office as governor?” ”

The second asks voters to choose from a list of 46 candidates, Democrats or Republicans, who they prefer to replace Governor Newsom if he is deposed.

The outcome of the first question cannot be foreseen. According to polls by benchmark site FiveThirtyEight, 48.8% of California voters are against the impeachment of their governor and 47.6% are in favor.

It is less tight with regard to the possible replacement of the regulator. According to the FiveThirtyEight poll average, Larry Elder has a 10.2 percentage point lead over closest rival Kevin Paffrath, a 29-year-old Democrat who first rose to prominence as a real estate-savvy YouTuber and financial expert.

According to FiveThirtyEight, however, the radio presenter ranks first in the polls with only 19.3% of voting intentions. This means that only a fraction of the electorate could reach the post of governor, this 69-year-old man who already advertised a book from the 1950s called How to Be a Good Woman on his website.

One piece of advice: “Don’t complain. ”

The 2003 precedent

But how did California get there? It should first be remembered that she was already there. On October 7, 2003, 55.4% of the state’s electorate dismissed a governor for the first time, in this case Democrat Gray Davis, the scapegoat for an energy crisis marked by tariff increases and blackouts.

After fighting under the Republican banner, his future successor, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, won 48.6% of the vote that day, up from 31.5% for his closest rival, Democrat Cruz Bustamente.

Eighteen years later, a health crisis could defeat Gavin Newsom. Republican activists, strategists and funders have used the outcry over restrictive COVID-19 measures to launch a petition calling for an impeachment trial against the governor.

To achieve their goal, they had to collect at least 1.5 million valid signatures, or 12% of the voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election (in 2018). They got two big nudges.

In view of the pandemic, a judge initially gave them an additional 120 days to obtain the necessary signatures. Then Gavin Newsom did them an invaluable favor by disregarding his own policies regarding gatherings and the wearing of masks. On November 6th, he and a dozen people celebrated the 50th birthday of a lobbyist friend of his.

And he did it at the French Laundry, California’s chicest and most popular restaurant, where a meal can cost $ 450 per person. Worse, among the guests were two senior officials from the California Medical Association, an organization that brings together doctors and researchers from the state.

After photos of the evening were released, Gavin Newsom apologized, but the episode put the impeachment campaign into orbit.

“The Wise One from South Central”

“Gavin Newsom should be nervous. I’ll take over his post. He must fall. The crime, the homeless, the outrageous cost of living, the gas tax, the way he shut down the government while ignoring the restrictions it imposed, in the French laundry with the lobbyist who drafted the restrictions … ”

On July 12, four days before the nomination deadline, Larry Elder made the remarks during the start of his campaign for governor of California.

It was an unexpected decision by what presents himself as “the sage of South Central”, a nod to the Los Angeles district in which he was born. But this African American is rarely where you would expect him to be. Coming from a poor background, he attended the prestigious Brown University before studying law at the University of Michigan.

As a regular at the Playboy Mansion, he now boasts of introducing rapper Snoop Dogg to marijuana. As a promoter of the re-election of Donald Trump in 2020, he describes himself as a libertarian. Therefore, he opposes measures that require wearing a mask or vaccination.

In a way, his entry into the race suits Gavin Newsom. Like the media in recent weeks, the governor recalled the radio host’s most controversial positions to encourage Democrats and Independents to vote against his impeachment.

He doesn’t just dwell on the sexist comments that shaped Larry Elder’s career. He also accuses him of “promoting murderous conspiracy theories” that would lead him to pursue policies similar to those that contributed to the resurgence of the contaminations in Texas and Florida.

“What is at stake in the September 14 poll? It’s a matter of life and death, ”said the narrator of a recent ad from Gavin Newsom.

The irony doesn’t escape anyone: the health crisis that contributed to the impeachment of the Governor of California could also be his lifeline.

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