An unfunny thing happened on the way to the recall election featuring California Governor Gavin Newsom. Newsom prevailed. With 65 percent of the vote in, Newsom has won 64.2 percent of the vote in favor of his retention.
Newsom’s 64.2 percent is nearly a mirror image of Joe Biden’s 63.48 percent share of the California vote against Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Newsom and his allies turned the No vote into a vote in favor of Donald Trump.
They might have done this by turning No or Larry Elder into Donald Trump. Elder won going away against the field on who would replace Newsom in the event of his ouster. He pulled down 46.6 percent of the vote with 65 percent of the vote tabulated. If Newsom had gone down, Larry Elder would have stepped in.
I would say that Elder might have a future in state politics, but the vote cast on the second part of the ballot looks to be substantially less than half the total cast on the retention question at the top of the ballot. As of this morning, 9 million votes have been tabulated on the retention question. Only 3.73 million votes have been tabulated on the successor question.
Victor Davis Hanson framed the recall election as “a choice between Gavin Newsom, who embodies the woke, old-boy privilege of the Bay Area, and an alternative direction. Newsom is the epitome of the virtue-signaling elite who patronize the poor and drive out the despised middle class.” The exodus of the middle class will continue.
Newsom’s victory puts him in a strong position as he enters the final year of his first term. California is not so lucky. The prospects for California continue to dim. See, for example, John Meroney’s Spectator column “Life in LA is murder.”
I wish we could detach from the problem California represents. However, as Michael Anton argues in his Claremont Review essay “Right flight,” the problem of California is also a problem for the rest of us.