"Gavin may have been on a high thread, but he was wearing a big blue safety harness, "said Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist based in California.
The r ecall offers Democrats in Washington at least one lesson before next year's midterm elections: at least when the strategy is executed with relentless discipline, an avalanche of money and an opponent playing to type.
"Either keep Gavin Newsom as governor or you will have Donald Trump," President Biden said at a rally on the eve of the election in Long Beach, making it clear what Mr Newsom and his allies have been suggesting for weeks about longtime Republican frontrunner Larry Elder.
Au By the time Mr Biden arrived in California, Mr Newsom was well positioned. Yet in the days leading up to the recall, he warned Democrats of the right-wing threat they would face in elections across the countrynext November. embers.
"Engage, wake up, this thing is happening," he said in an interview, calling Mr. Elder a "door -national speech for an extreme program. "
California, which has not elected a Republican governor since the George W. Bush administration, is hardly a point of contention in next year's mid-sessions. Yet for Republicans who contemplate declining approval rates for Mr. Biden and who have growing hopes for their prospects for 2022, the recall failure is less of a worrying omen than it is. 'a cautious reminder of what happens when they present candidates who are easy prey for the opposition.
The last time the Democrats have controlled the presidencyThis and both Houses of Congress, in 2010 Republicans made huge gains but failed to reclaim the Senate because they nominated a handful of candidates so flawed that they managed to lose in the process. one of the best midterm elections for the GOP in modern history.
That is, primaries matter - and if Republicans want the Senate back next year, party officials say, they will do so by raising candidates who don't come with the bulky opposition research files of a 27-year-old veteran Right Radio .
"Larry Elder saved their lives " said Rob Stutzman, Republican strategist in Sacramento, on Democrats. “Until this race had a general electoral context, there wasn't much enthusiasm for life in California. MBut when you have the near-perfect caricature of a MAGA candidate, well, you can reject your constituents. "
Gray Davis, the elder Democratic governor of California who was recalled in 2003, more concisely: “It was a gift from God,” he said of Mr. Elder. campaign as if the electorate were conservative Republicans. " Image Gray Davis, center, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, right, who succeeded Mr. Davis as governor after a recall election in 2003, attended the inauguration of Mr. Newsom in 2018. Credit .. . Jim Wilson / The Hfrance.fr
Hungry for good newsafter a dark month, Democrats will nonetheless happily enjoy Mr Newsom's apparent triumph. After all, Mr. Biden himself knows it all too well from his experience as vice president in 2010 - when his party lost the Massachusetts Senate. seat vacated by the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy - that even the races that seem the safest cannot be taken for granted in special elections.
In addition, Mr. Newsom's success politically justifies the President's decision to issue a mandate on companies to demand the Covid19 vaccine. The governor aggressively campaigned on his own vaccine demands and lambasted Mr. Elder for swearing to cancel them.
In fact, before Mr. Biden announced the policy on Thursday, Mr Newsom's lieutenants believed they were leading the way for other Democrats, including the president. "Welet's do what the White House needs to do, which is to become more activist on vaccines, "said Sean Clegg, a senior advisor to the governor, in an interview last week. The recall election in California ›
Historically, much of California 's political leaning has taken place in right.
From Ronald Reagan's first election as governor, signaling the backlash of the 1960s, to the property tax revolts of the 1970s, Foreshadowing Reagan's national success in the 1980s, the state was sort of a conservative petri dish.
Even in recent years, as California s 'is turned to the left, it was possible to discPin the Republican future in Gov. Pete Wilson's hard line on illegal immigration in the 1990s, and in Arnold Schwarzenegger's mighty coconut ktail of fame, populism and platitudes in the 2000s.
As the summer began, it became clear that California once again could herald national trends. Burdened by growing crime, homelessness and Covid fatigue, Mr Newsom has been seen in polls as in danger of being recalled.
His challenge, however, was not a vague tide of opposition, but Democratic apathy.
This started to change when Mr. Newsom took over. overtook his Republican opponents and four-on-one recall supporters on television during the summer. Voter sentiment shifted even more sharply away from replacing him once Mr. Elder emerged, transforming the contestfrom a referendum on Mr. Newsom to a more traditional Republican versus Democrat election.
Every Democratic campaign panel and leaflet, and even the ballot him - even that was sent to registered California voters, called the vote a "Republican recall," sporting a scarlet R on the exercise.
"We defined that as a Republican remember, that's what it is, "boasted Rusty Hicks, the Democratic President of California, shortly before Mr. Newsom and Vice President Kamala Harris did take the stage at a September 8 rally near Oakland.
A rare convergence of interests between Democrats and Republicans has finally favored Mr. Newsom: from the governor's staff. Image Larry Elder campaigning in Monterey Park Monday. Credit ... Alex Welsh for Hfrance.fr
Mr. Elder appeared on Fox News at Prime time 52 times this year, according to liberal media watchdog group Media Matters. No other Republican candidate has appeared more than eight times.
While this exhibit helped Mr. Elder become the more popular alternative, it turned out to undermine the cause for Mr. Newsom's impeachment, ensuring that the contest looks more like a general election than it does. 'to the latest, and to this day only, a successful reminder from the Governor of California.
In 2003, Mr. Schwarzenegger was best known for his credits Hollywoods than for his politics. He also hammered home a problem.e distinctly local, the California auto tax, which has kept the race focused on state rather than federal policies. And the incumbent, Mr. Davis, was far more unpopular than Mr. Newsom.
California was then a different state as well in a way that illustrates to how much it has become politically polarized. In 2000, Mr. Bush lost California by about 11 percentage points, while retaining Republican redoubts like Orange and San Diego counties. Last year, Mr. Trump was routed in the state by almost 30 points and lost the same two counties decisively.
" There is no safe landing place today for moderates. because, even if you are mad at Gavin, the alternative is Ron DeSantis, "said Mr. Murphy, referring to Governor Trumpian of Florida.
Indeed, what if the Tories thrilled about Mr. Elder - his sharp right-wing rhetoric - is what made him a perfect foil for Mr. Newsom.
Mr. Newsom turned his stem speech into a recitation of chapters and verses of Mr. Elder's greatest hits: comments he made denigrating women, downplaying change climate change and questioning the need for a minimum wage. Joined by a parade of prominent National Democrats who arrived in California equipped with anti-senior talking points, the governor spent more time warning than a Republican would take power only to defend his balance sheet.
He also invoked the specter of the red states and t heir rulers, despising the management of Covid by Republicans, voting restrictions and, in the final days of the campaign, the new restrictive law of theTexas on abortion.
As House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California's most prominent Republican, kept his distance from recall, Mr. Newsom was regularly joined by Democratic members of the state's Congressional delegation, who linked the recall to Mr. Trump's refusal to admit defeat and the onslaught of the 6 January against the Capitol.
"Another kind of insurgency in California," as Representative Karen Bass said at a rally in Los Angeles.
Mr. Elder, for his part, readily portrayed himself as the provocateur he is, crushing the more moderate G.O.P. hopes like former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. He vowed to end the vaccination warrants for government employees on his swearing-in day, which prompted chants of "Larry, Larry!" From conservative crowds in May.ss is insane the pro-vaccine majority of the state. Image California supporters rallied for Larry Elder in the Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks. Credit ... Allison Zaucha for The Hfrance.fr figcaption>
Mr. Newsom polls showed him topped 69-28 among Californians who said they had been vaccinated, his advisers said, a significant advantage in a state where nearly seven in 10 adults have been vaccinated.
The possibility that old-style figures could win primaries in more competitive states alarms many establishment-aligned Republicans as they assess the2022 landscape.
Candidates as closely linked to Mr. Trump, or carrying personal baggage, or both, could undermine the party's prospects in States like Georgia, Arizona, Missouri and Pennsylvania, which will prove essential in determining control of the Senate.
Likewise, Republicans could fight in battlefield governor races in Ohio, Georgia and Arizona if far-right candidates win in the primaries thanks to Mr. Trump's blessing.
In a few states, however, is the Trump-era party mark as poisonous as one in California.
"It's not about Schwarzenegger, it's not even Scott Walker," Newsom said, alluding to the former Republican governor of Wisconsin who rejected a recall. "It's about arming this desk for aExtreme national program. "
This is, said the governor, " Trump's party, even here in California. "