The Los Angeles Times editorial board on Wednesday celebrated Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s victory in his recall election, writing it was “a sigh of relief” that “extremist, intolerant” Larry Elder would not be replacing him.
“Phew. After months of worrying about the fate of California, we will sleep easier now that Gov. Gavin Newsom will not be removed from office early and replaced by right-wing provocateur Larry Elder, a radio host with no experience in elective office and who doesn’t seem interested in being a governor for all Californians — only those who share his extremist, intolerant views,” the board wrote.
With 68% of the vote reported, the “No” votes on recalling Newsom led the “Yes” votes 64% to 36%, an easy victory for the liberal Democrat facing a number of crises across his state, including hard-hitting effects from the coronavirus pandemic, massive wildfires, increased crime rates and a growing homelessness problem.
The Times, however, sought to distance Newsom from his responsibility in fixing the issues plaguing California, calling the blame being placed on him a “smokescreen” from proponents of the recall.
“Voters evidently saw through the smokescreen that recall proponents threw up about how Newsom was responsible for every bad thing that has happened in California over the last few years: wildfires, COVID-19, homelessness, crime, income equality, and on and on,” it wrote.
The Times board did not hide its disdain for the recall efforts, and its columnist roster relentlessly blasted Elder, at one point publishing a piece referring to him as “the Black face of White supremacy.” It also apparently sought to downplay a racially charged attack on Elder by a woman wearing a gorilla mask.
“The decision to reject the recall is the best outcome for California. Even if you dislike Newsom, it would have been a disaster to abruptly hand over leadership of the state to Elder or any of the other 45 people listed on the replacement ballot in the middle of a public health crisis and with a regular election little more than a year away,” it added.
The board described Newsom as “a strong leader” throughout the challenges California has faced in recent years, and claimed that it would have been wrong to replace him through a “cynical ploy.”
“It’s unfortunate taxpayers had to spend between $200 million and $400 million to hold an election that didn’t change anything. But it could pay off down the road if it convinces the state’s Republicans that using the recall isn’t a fair, honorable — or even effective — way to win office,” the board wrote.
It added that if California Republicans wanted to end the Democrats’ one party rule of the state, they would have to adjust their policies to appeal to more voters. It did, however, note that the fact the recall process even made it past the signature phase “exposed a deep ambivalence by Californians about the direction of the state,” and that millions of people still voted to oust Newsom.