Republicans leading the uphill campaign to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom are facing fresh hurdles after former President Donald Trump discouraged GOP turnout by raising doubts about the legitimacy of the election.
Trump said in a statement issued Monday afternoon that “millions and millions of mail-in ballots will make this just another giant election scam, no different, but less blatant, than the 2020 presidential election scam!” Coming less than 24 hours before Californians head to the polls to render their verdict on Newsom in a special election, the former president’s comments could depress Republican turnout and further boost the Democratic incumbent’s prospects.
“Republicans have never had a coherent message,” said Tyler Law, a Democratic operative in California. “They have never made a coherent and simple case for why a Democratic governor elected in a landslide in an overwhelmingly Democratic state should be recalled and replaced by a conservative Republican. That’s a tough case to make and they failed spectacularly at making it.”
Trump interjecting himself into the campaign on the eve of the election by suggesting it is a waste of time for Republicans to vote is more good news for the governor. And it is bad news for talk radio host Larry Elder, a Republican and the leading candidate to succeed Newsom if he is recalled. Elder’s victory on the replacement ballot won’t matter if less than 50% of voters oppose the recall.
This would not be the first time Trump expressing doubts about the legitimacy of an election publicly has negatively affected Republican turnout and bolstered a Democratic campaign. In early January, Democrats won twin Senate runoff elections in Georgia after Trump, on the heels of being defeated by President Joe Biden and losing the Peach State’s electoral votes, insisted the 2020 election was stolen.
“Does anybody really believe the California recall election isn’t rigged?” Trump asked rhetorically on Monday as a part of his statement.
Indeed, Elder is already alleging massive voter fraud. In doing so, he seems to be suggesting that the recall is guaranteed to come up short when the votes are counted because the outcome is being illegally influenced. Under a tab on his campaign website labeled “Stop Fraud,” Elder asks voters to sign a petition demanding that a special session of the California Legislature be convened to investigate instances of fraud in the recall election.
“We trust in our elected officials to safeguard that ballot box, such that its results will truly reflect our will as Californian’s,” Elder says on his website. “However, when those officials, either through laziness or incompetence, allow thieves to steal amidst the dead of night and cheat our ballot box, we can no longer rely on its contents. Will we now have to fight the California jury box, in the hope that the final box — the one most akin to Pandora’s — remains closed?”
“As is the case, we implore you,” Elder continues, “to join us in this fight as you are able, primarily by signing our petition demanding a special session of the California Legislature to investigate and ameliorate the twisted results of this 2021 Recall Election of Governor Gavin Newsom.”
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Original Author: David M. Drucker