LOS ANGELES - The clock is ticking. By this time next week, after months of signature collection and campaigning, Californians will know Governor Gavin Newsom’s fate and the outcome of the state’s second ever Gubernatorial recall election.
To preview the final stretch of the race, as well as California’s political future, Elex Michaelson is joined on The Issue Is by GOP frontrunner Larry Elder and John Myers, Sacramento Bureau Chief of The Los Angeles Times.
THE ISSUE IS: A CLOSING PITCH TO VOTERS
BACKGROUND: When he entered the recall race in July, Conservative radio host Larry Elder vaulted to the top of the polls, far outpacing the 40-plus candidates who were looking to remove and replace Governor Newsom. In the interim, Elder’s dominance has only increased, that, despite a barrage of attacks from his fellow Republicans as well as Newsom. This week, Elder spoke with Michaelson to make his final pitch to California voters.
ELDER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "The closing argument is this man has mismanaged the state for the last two years. He shut down the state in the most severe way than did any of the other 49 governors. A third of all small businesses are gone forever. Many of them are owned by women and minorities, and I only mention that because the left prides itself on caring about that. He had his own kids enjoying in-person private education while denying that opportunity for the kids who are in our government school, 80% of them are Black and Brown people, again, the very people that the left claims that they care about. Before the pandemic, 75% of Black boys could not read at state levels of proficiency, and those levels were already low. Nearly half of all kids in the third grade could not read at state level of proficiency. The math scores are even worse. They lost a whole year of in-person education. And that is why one of the many things I'm going to be championing when I become Governor is choice in education so that the money will follow the child rather than the other way around…"
"We have the outrageous cost of living. The average price of a home in California just hit $800,000, that is literally 150% more than the average price of a home outside of California, or 250% more, depending upon what study you read. That is why, for the very first time in our state's history, we are losing people, we're losing middle class people, we're losing wealthy people - and speaking of wealthy people that nobody seems to care about, because of our outrageous state income tax, which is 13.3%, highest state income tax in the nation, the top 1% pay almost half of all state income taxes - that's half of the state income tax revenue. They're leaving and they're taking their taxes with them…."
"These are because of the outrageous policies of tax, spend, regulate that businesses have been facing for decades because of the dominance of the Democrats in Sacramento, led by this man known as Gavin Newsom"
THE ISSUE IS: MASK AND VACCINE MANDATES
BACKGROUND: This week, big news on the vaccine front, President Biden announcing a new multi-pronged approach to increasing vaccination rates, including mandating the jab for most federal employees, and requiring companies with 100 or more employees to mandate the vaccine, or weekly testing, or face fines of $14,000 for each violation. Before Biden’s announcement, Elder, who is himself vaccinated, discussed what he would do in regards to state mandates should he be elected Governor.
ELDER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "When I become Governor, to the extent that there are mandates for state workers - right now there are mandates, anybody who's not been vaccinated, if he or she is a state worker, will be tested once a week and will have to wear a mask at work. Seems to me that's against science. The whole reason behind getting vaccinated, I thought, is that you're protected against people who've not been vaccinated and the people who have not been vaccinated are assuming the risk - so are you going to require somebody who's assumed the risk to wear masks, a mask to protect himself or herself against getting somebody else who's also assumed the risk? That doesn't make a whole lot of sense. And I'm called anti-science. I've also been accused of saying that children can't contract the coronavirus. I never said that. I said children are less likely to contract, less likely to get sick, they're less likely to be hospitalized, and they're certainly highly unlikely to die. I think that all individual schools, individual localities should be able to make that decision and certainly the private sector should be able to make that decision…"
THE ISSUE IS: RECALL POLLS
BACKGROUND: Ahead of Tuesday’s recall election, the Los Angeles Times released their final voter poll - and the results portend an increasingly positive outcome for the Newsom team. The polls shows 60% of registered voters now oppose the recall, that’s a 10% bounce from July.
MYERS' CENTRAL TAKE: "This poll, all kinds of public surveys, try to figure out who's a likely voter, who's really going to show up. Well, in the poll back in July, it looked like Democrats were not going to show up. They were apathetic for some reason... That made the Republicans a larger section of that likely voter electorate. Now, fast forward to the poll that we've just put out and Democrats have come back, they are now much more similar in the likely voter electorate, as they are in voter registration, where they dominate in California... Democrats voting to protect the Democratic Governor, that's where the race seems to be…"
THE ISSUE IS: CALIFORNIA, SEPTEMBER 15TH
BACKGROUND: If the polls, and the number of currently returned mail-in ballots, are to be believed, Governor Newsom will survive the recall election on September 14. Then what? How will Newsom govern having survived the recall, cautiously or emboldened? And what becomes of the rest of the field, especially with another Gubernatorial race around the corner, a primary just nine months away?
MYERS’ CENTRAL TAKE: "Where do we go? I mean, I think the question is, how does the Governor react should he prevail here? Does he see this as vindication of everything he's done? Does he see it as a near-death experience in the world of politics? What are Republicans feeling about this? I mean, you see on social media now, they already say the fix is in, the ballots are rigged. There's no evidence of that, folks. But that narrative is going to be there and it's going to fuel that kind of resentment. You know, I saw the governor at the end of the week when he cast a vote in Sacramento, and I suggested to him that this is not the end of an election, it's just round one of a long political season. The 2022 campaign is right around the corner, and you have to believe Gavin Newsom, Larry Elder, Kevin Faulconer, more perhaps off of this ballot, will return for a second round, a second part of this conversation…"
The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to TheIssueIsShow.com.