David Marcus: Looking for answers as California considers kicking Newsom out of office

California recall front-runners make closing pitch to voter as election day nears

In a week’s time Gavin Newsom will know if he is to remain the governor of California or be shown the door by voters choosing to recall him. It’s is a special election with myriad national implications. The recall effort, which began in 2020 primarily in response to Newsom’s harsh regime of COVID restrictions, is now also a referendum on crime, the rise in the number of homeless and mentally ill in our cities, and the education of our kids.

But this is not only a national race and story, it is also a state and local affair. And in a state as large as California this means that a wide range of issues, some with lesser national implications, will also be swaying the will of the people. Among these are concerns over water rights, wildfires, and local infrastructure projects. 

Between now and Election Day on Sept. 14, I will travel to three distinct areas of the Golden State to take the temperature of Californians and find out what is driving their votes, if in fact they are voting at all. 

My travels start in deep blue San Francisco, where Newsom was once mayor and needs a huge turnout. Then I will head to the redder Central Valley of farms and fields, and finally to Los Angeles, where Republican Larry Elder, now Newsom’s primary foil, hopes to capture the votes of frustrated Angelenos.

On Monday, a speaker at a Newsom event called Elder “a black face on white supremacy,” echoing a Los Angeles Times headline. 

It’s one thing for an opinion column to paint Elder in such a light, but to have that sentiment shared at an official campaign event shows just how sharp the knives have gotten in the Newsom camp. 

At the very least Newsom sees Elder’s success as a chance to scare progressive Californians into voting, but it may also be that he has much to fear from the Republican’s rise.

So let’s find out from Californians themselves, the people on the streets, in the stores, at rallies and knocking on doors, then let’s count the lawn signs and parse polls. 

This is a state that, along with New York, is a symbol of blue rule, just as Florida and Texas represent the red. 

New York’s pro lockdown governor, Andrew Cuomo, is already gone, though for non-political reasons. 

Will Newsom be next? Will California stay blue forever? 

In one week we will have some answers.

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