The California recall election really has Newsom supporters grasping at straws. “Stop The Republican Recall,” a political action committee, has recently released a flurry of advertisements and social-media campaigns desperately trying to slander the reputation of recall voters. The Tesla-driving Netflix billionaire Reed Hastings has been pumping the PAC with millions of dollars, and his Machiavellian tendencies are bleeding into his advocacy.
The billionaire-backed fund’s home page aligns recall voters with all of the media’s favorite alt-right boogeymen. As its name indicates, campaigners are attempting to characterize the recall as entirely partisan, orchestrated by an impressive array of “national Republicans,” “anti-vaxxers, Q-Anon conspiracy theorists and anti-immigrant Trump supporters.” They even toss in the Proud Boys for good measure. The implications are hilarious: Caitlyn Jenner, a puppet of an exclusively male group of chauvinists? This seems pretty transphobic. Nevertheless, it is honestly shocking that no one has accused the PAC of defamation. As if the franchisee who wants to keep his TJ Maxx shop from getting cleared out in broad daylight again is some sort of lunatic.
As California spirals out of control, major Democrats are trying to spin those backing the recall as either radicals or people without a genuine stake in the election. This is observably untrue: over 1.7 million citizens signed the petition that got this whole process started, and roughly half of all likely voters support Newsom’s removal. The claim becomes even more ridiculous when you look to see who “Stop the Republican Recall” has enlisted to rally support for Newsom. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Stacey Abrams all make the PAC’s front page.
Warren’s recent anti-recall advertisement deserves its own acknowledgement. She claims that voters should reject the ballot because managing the election “is costing taxpayers millions” — this is of course coming from the woman who wanted to spend over 20 trillion dollars on Medicare for All. She never offers a reason why Californians should prefer Newsom over his challengers, either. It’s the same-old, disconnected rhetoric that birthed “the basket of deplorables.”
National Republicans be damned, but national Democrats and Netflix billionaires? I guess it is totally acceptable if they sway the election. It’s one thing when national figures offer reasons for and against supporting issues they have no personal stake in. Writers at National Review, the United States government, your uncle at the Thanksgiving table — everyone does it, and it can be useful to hear a different perspective. But hypocrisy is a different story. If Warren wants to criticize Newt Gingrich for endorsing a recall, then she too should butt out, especially if she has nothing of substance to say.
That being said, this is a good sign. Leftist political actors, sweating over their base’s low enthusiasm, are appealing to their most energetic supporters by broadcasting endorsements from New England socialists. But this could easily backfire. Newsom is on the chopping block precisely because of his out-of-control progressive policies. As he and his supporters align themselves with people such as Bernie Sanders, who has called for ludicrous changes in the criminal-justice system, recallers should call them out. Californians may be less open to Sanders if they knew he wanted to enfranchise incarcerated felons, even monsters such as the Boston Marathon bomber. California needs to be more tough on crime, not less. Democrats are portraying recallers as people on the fringe, and Republicans should paint Newsom and his backers as radicals in a similar but more honest way.
So keep up the good work, California! Bring down Gavin Newsom!