Citing neck-and-neck poll numbers, even liberal CNN is reporting Democrats are worried Gov. Gavin Newsom may indeed be recalled Sept. 14. What should be a "Republican fantasy" after Newsom won office by 24 points in 2018, the story says, is becoming a "very real possibility" in the state.
According to polling firm FiveThirtyEight, the polling average as of Sept. 1 shows 51% favor keeping Newsom and 45% want to remove him from office. Even with those poll numbers favoring Newsom, current frontrunner Larry Elder is coming under intense, media-driven scrutiny as Election Day nears.
"The liberals are scared,” Jesse Lee Peterson, who leads L.A.-based BOND, says. “They're afraid because they're coming out of the woodwork trying to stop Larry.”
Media machine attacking Elder
One way to determine that Elder, 69, is viewed as a threat to Newsom and the California Democratic Party is the media hit pieces that keep coming. An ex-fiancée has run to the media to report Elder once waved at a gun at her during a heated argument in 2015. A former charity run by Elder is now coming under scrutiny over its operation, and another news story attacked Elder’s campaign manager.
At the L.A. Times, a columnist accused Elder of being the “Black Face of White Supremacy,” and then complained in a follow-up column that Elder's supporters are racists because they attacked the columnist for attacking Elder.
Also at the Times, a bizarre editorial fantasized about the future of California if Elder is put into the governor’s office.
“This is not a real news story,” the Times wrote of its fantasy that envisioned Elder defeated by Newsom, with 80% of the vote, in 2022. “But Californians could very well read something like this in the future if they foolishly toss out Newsom on Sept. 14 and replace him with the incendiary radio host.”
According to news website Calmatters.org, Newsom has enjoyed recently sympathetic stories in The Atlantic and The Economist, and columnists at The New York Times and The New York have denounced the recall --- a grassroots form of voter participation --- as an assault on democracy.
Peterson, however, says Newsom is in trouble. The last-minute help from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris is not a good sign for the governor, he insists.
“And Hollywood has jumped in. They're donating money to Gavin Newsom and so they know something,” Peterson says. “We know that Californians are fed up with this guy and they want him out."