Appraising the Governor’s Recall Election Results

By Fraser Perkins —

At the September 19th Palos Verdes Democrats virtual meeting, LACDP Vice Chair Sergio Carrillo characterized the recently failed attempt to recall Governor Newsom as exciting, but dumb, citing the cost to taxpayers of $300 million dollars, apart from what each side spent on campaign expenses.  The campaign took several twists.  Initial indications were worrisome for Democrats as voters showed both apathy and a lack of understanding of the two-question recall ballot.  Then, a gift appeared:  Larry Elder.  Democrats learned not only how opponents would campaign, but also how to counter Republican tactics.  Equating Donald Trump, Texas Governor Abbott and Florida Governor DeSantis to Larry Elder fired up Democrats.  This, plus Mr. Elder’s span of 27 years of recorded presentations, provided a bonanza of material, such as his position that women were not as capable as men and advocating a minimum wage of $0.  The final month of campaigning showed a massive upswing in volunteering within the Democratic Party.

Carrillo summarized, “Continuing to run against Donald Trump helps Democrats.  It helped us in California and it might help us in other states as well.”  Elder ran as an anti-vaxxer in a state with an adult vaccination rate of 70%.  In counties throughout California, there was a direct correlation between vaccination rates and a “no” vote on the recall.  Carrillo believes the 2022 midterm election will be a referendum on vaccination policy.  The successful tactics in California may be repeated in special elections this fall in New Jersey and Virginia.

Carrillo also drew a generalized conclusion about the recall process.  He felt most Californians were fed up with the process, citing the dropped attempt to recall LA County DA George Gascón.  He noted that statewide, four million voters left Question 2 on the ballot blank, as advocated by the Democratic leadership.  In LA County, 74% of voters voted against the recall.

Check out the LA Times breakdown on how people voted in California in Connie Sullivan’s ‘How the Peninsula Voted in the Recall’ article.

Asked to comment on the question, “What were the prospects for Democrats in 2022?”, Carrillo noted California will lose one Congressional seat.  Though the desire to keep similar communities together resonates, reapportionment will be the big unknown.  Overarching issues such as homelessness, the Biden Administration and vaccination policy will dominate the political landscape.  He emphasized that the lead up to the 2022 election is an eternity from now, saying, “A lot can, and will, happen.”

Carrillo was asked to comment on the erosion of Latino male votes.  He noted that the Latino community is increasingly diverse, not only in countries of origin, but also from a generational perspective.  This poses a challenge for Democrats.  Overall, he wasn’t convinced that Latino male vote erosion was a big issue.

He was asked to comment about how the reapportionment process could be changed.  Carrillo noted this would require a California Constitutional Amendment.

Carrillo concluded by commenting on the makeup of the Congressional delegation.  Due to retirement and redistricting, he believed we were at an inflection point and big changes loom ahead.  This may result in friends in adjoining districts running against each other.  As new districts have not been determined, the lead time to run has been shortened.  Many would-be candidates are raising funds like crazy in anticipation of running in 2022.



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