Goodbye, Zoom. This week, The Issue Is features the first in-person panel since the pandemic forced everything to go remote in March 2020.
That all-star lineup includes Progressive attorney Lisa Bloom, professor Dan Schnur, and Jessica Millan Patterson, Chair of the California GOP.
They join Elex Michaelson to discuss the state of the recall race, strategy in the waning days of the campaign, the candidacy of Larry Elder, and the controversial Texas abortion law.
THE ISSUE IS: THE STATE OF THE RECALL RACE
BACKGROUND: The clock is ticking, just days left to vote in the California recall election. After polls appeared to be tightening, this week the polls turned in Governor Newsom’s favor. That, as millions of ballots have already been returned, with more than half coming from registered Democrats.
SCHNUR’S CENTRAL TAKE: "The challenge in this recall for Gavin Newsom is not to persuade anyone to oppose it, but rather to motivate loyal Democrats to turn out because there's a huge cohort in the Democratic Party, Progressive Democrats, who would not vote for a Republican if you put a gun to their head and a knife to their throat, but they're not that excited about Gavin Newsom... With the help of national Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and possibly the President and the Vice President, Newsom appears like he is beginning to motivate those Democrats to turn out, even for a governor who doesn't excite them that much…"
PATTERSON’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I feel very confident in the modeling that we've done... Our work at the California Republican Party has been to turn out the vote, and turn out the vote for ‘Yes' on the recall. And despite more Democrats turning out in these early ballots that are coming in, we see many Democrats that are actually supportive of the recall and in our turnout models. We've seen an increase in our volunteers. We stopped November 3rd with 42,000 volunteers, we're now up to 67,000 - that's a 60% increase. That type of excitement and momentum doesn't just happen on its own…"
BLOOM’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I'm 100% 'Vote No' on the recall, and I'll tell you why. You showed that clip where I said I was following the science back in March of 2020, well, I'm still following the science and so is Governor Newsom on the two most important issues before us, climate change and COVID... I just finished a wonderful book by Michael Lewis about the pandemic and he calls out Governor Newsom for being the first governor in the country to listen to the scientists and to shut down the state… It takes a lot of courage to be first, probably saved 100,000 lives. That's way more important to me than where he ate at a restaurant or what kind of school his kids go to…"
THE ISSUE IS: LARRY ELDER’S CANDIDACY
BACKGROUND: Polls look to be moving in Governor Newsom’s favor on the first question on the recall ballot, but Larry Elder remains far ahead on the second question, that of Newsom’s potential replacement. In a new PPIC poll, Elder claimed support from 26% of respondents, 21% higher than his next closest competitor, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
PATTERSON’S CENTRAL TAKE: It's the person that they've known. We've listened to Larry on the radio for years, it's a voice that's been in Conservative politics for a very long time. So it's someone that they know and it's someone that they can connect with and believe speaks to their voice…"
SCHNUR’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I think what's interesting about this, Elex, is what we're seeing now, whether the recall succeeds or whether it fails, is we're seeing a little bit of insight into where the Republican Party might be headed in a post-Trump era. Larry Elder is the Trump-ish candidate in this race. Kevin Faulconer is sort of a pre-Trump, more traditional conservative, a Bush, Romney conservative, if you will. John Cox is the businessman outsider. Kevin Kiley is the young voice of the next generation. And it looks, at least right now, primarily because of Elder's name recognition, but for other reasons as well, that maybe the Republican Party isn't quite yet willing to move beyond the former President. And that's a decision that will have not just California ramifications, but national ramifications in the in the mid-term elections next year…"
BLOOM’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I've known him a little bit as well. I think he's a very nice guy, but he's dead wrong on climate change. He's dead wrong on COVID, and he's a danger to our state. So I'm, of course, voting ‘No’ on recall. And I have to pick one of the Democrats. I guess it would be Kevin Paffrath.. I'm not crazy about him, but at least he's a Democrat and at least he believes in science…"
THE ISSUE IS: THE LATINO VOTE
BACKGROUND: Despite traditionally supporting Democrats in California, the Latino vote has become an area of concern for Governor Newsom as the recall nears. That, as recent polls show 54% of Latinos supporting the recall, and only 41% saying they oppose it.
PATTERSON’S CENTRAL TAKE: "This is a Governor who, according to exit polls in 2018, experienced a 64% approval rating among Latinos. In the last 2.5 years, we have seen those numbers go down. And it's work that we've done at the California Republican Party to make sure that we're engaging in every single community, that we're showing up, that we're talking to them about issues that matter. What are those issues? They want to make sure they have a good job that they can go to, they want to make sure that their children are getting a better education than they had so they have a better life, and they want to make sure their streets are safe. California Democrats have failed on every single one of those issues that face the Latino community…"
BLOOM’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Those issues are important, but COVID has disproportionately struck the Latino community, especially here in Los Angeles - I think something like three out of four of the COVID deaths have been from the Latino community. I don't think the Latino community wants an anti-masker governor who's going to roll back the protections that we've had in place. You know, California has much better rates right now of COVID than Florida or Texas, which are comparable states in many ways. Why? Because we have a culture where we're not afraid to impose mask mandates when people are indoors, because that's what the science requires. We have higher rates of vaccinations. I think those issues are very important…"
THE ISSUE IS: THE TEXAS ABORTION LAW
BACKGROUND: This week, the Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to deny an emergency appeal to a Texas abortion law that bans the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically around six weeks.
BLOOM'S CENTRAL TAKE: "You know, our Supreme Court has one job, one job, to protect the Constitution, and they ducked and they failed to do it. Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land, and this Texas law is a blatant violation of the Constitutional rights of women and girls in Texas... It was a heartbreaking week for me, and it shows we have to always fight to protect women's rights…"
The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to TheIssueIsShow.com.