By Herb Boyd
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California defeated the recall and decisively rebuked Trumpism. With more than 70% of the vote tabulated, Democrat Newsom is projected to get two-thirds of the turnout, repelling a recall that was successful 18 years ago.
In fact, the tally resembles the one President Biden received when he won the state in 2020, which helped to push him over the top and to defeat Trump.
Early polls were not favorable for Newsom, but in the end the Democratic voters, who have double the number of registered Republicans in the state, showed up when it truly counted. And this was one of the basic differences from the recall mounted in 2003.
On the “No” vote for recalling him, Newsom said that was not the only thing that mattered: “I want to focus on what we said, ‘yes’ to as a state: We said yes to science, we said yes to vaccines, we said yes to ending this pandemic.”
Republican Larry Elder, the leading contender in the recall, was banking on the support from Trump and his legion of followers, but they were unable to deliver and to remove Newsom from office. The outcome may not have been a referendum of the staying power of Trumpism, since he was not that visible in supporting Elder’s campaign. But it was a setback that could have broader implications as the race for 2022 looms larger and larger.
“Let’s be gracious in defeat,” said Elder, an African American talk radio host. “We may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war.” He veered away from earlier platform positions about voter fraud and kept his words keyed to positive developments in the future.
At the crux of the recall was the pandemic, and Newsom often spoke of the recall as a “life or death” issue, noting how Texas and Florida were experiencing a surge in the Delta variant.
Apparently, the voters in California heeded his warning, and it could be one that resonates across the land to challenge the anti-vaccine believers.