What Newsom’s Landslide Victory Says About National Politics

Gabriel Debenedetti and Benjamin Hart, in New York Magazine Intelligencer, wonder in a back and forth story what it means for national politics that Gavin Newsom romped to victory in Tuesday’s California recall election. I’m not sure their discussion landed on anything other than California is pretty blue. Gee, all it cost the state was $276 million in public money to find out that, yes, California is still pretty much the same state it was in 2020.

What I think it really means is echoed by John Scalzi on his blog:

The one thing I would take away from this result that I think does have national import is the idea the Democrats remain activated and hyper-aware of GOP electoral shenanigans. One of the reasons this recall was attempted at all was that GOP folks figured that the turnout in a recall election would be low, like any non-presidential year election, but even more so as there was nothing else on the ballot. Low turnout traditionally favors the GOP, because, among other things, the old white people who are the GOP base turn out for every election come hell or high water. But it looks like somewhere in the area of 13 million Californians turned out to vote in the recall, in a state with something like 22 million registered voters. That’s a very solid result for an off-off-year vote, and a reminder that Democrats aren’t taking their votes for granted these days. Hopefully this left-side ambition to vote at every possible opportunity continues through 2022 and beyond.

Yes. Let’s hope.

September 17, 2021