By Beting Laygo Dolor, Editor
SACRAMENTO – The GOP-backed recall election of California Gov. Gavin Newsom scheduled for next week is expected to be defeated handily, thanks in no small part to the support he has from the state’s various minority groups, FilAms included.
The latest surveys indicate that the pendulum has again swung in Newsom’s favor after previously approaching a near statistical tie in the middle of last month. Back then, Newsom had the support of about 50 percent of the state’s registered voters, as against 47 percent who supported his recall and subsequent removal.
The nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) recently published a survey showing 58 percent of voters rejecting the removal of Newsom. Other surveys from other credible institutions showed similar majority support for the governor.
California has traditionally been a blue state, which is why Newsom was elected governor two years ago via a landslide. Also, the Republican Party could not present a viable alternative to the incumbent, one who could draw widespread bipartisan support.
The best the GOP could come up with was conservative African American talk show host Larry Elder, but his candidacy lost steam when a background check showed he had made some unpopular statements in the past. As recently as last week, Elder told a church group that sex education “has no role in school.”
That Elder is also a Trump supporter could be considered a kiss of death on his plan to replace Newsom.
To insure that he remains governor, the Democratic Party is throwing its full support for Newsom. President Joe Biden may not be heading for California to campaign for the governor, but Vice President Kamala Harris is.
The Democrats had also resorted to vigorous campaigning via emails and text messaging when it became clear that a Newsom win was not to be considered a done deal.
The governor’s campaign team had, in fact, warned supporters that “we could lose this recall.”
Such a strategy of covering all corners and acting as if the other side was winning is considered sound politics. Analysts said that while Newsom remained popular, supporters who would not bother to cast their votes could have a negative impact on the results.
California voters were also wary of Elder’s promise to do away with mask and vaccine mandates, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has surged nationwide. For this reason, nearly half of the residents surveyed by PPIC said they were against replacing Newsom.
Some 41 percent also said they expect the situation in California to get worse if Newsom is ousted.
To their credit, the Republicans were able to give the Democratic governor a scare at the start with their energized campaigning. But their failure to raise serious issues against the governor proved to be their undoing.
Their accusation that Newsom had not handled the pandemic properly was too broad, and can be used against many governors of many states, both Democrat and Republican. The Golden State is no better or worse than most US states where reaction to the pandemic is concerned.
Perhaps the biggest indication that Newsom is headed for a win is the high number of early ballot returns mostly from Democratic strongholds.
Also, as of last week, political betting website PredictIt said the chances of the recall failing stood at a practically insurmountable 85 percent.
Thus, Gavin Newsom’s continued stay at the Governor’s Mansion after Sept. 14 is for all intents a certainty.