Senator Bernie Sanders is the latest high-profile Washington figure to speak out in support of Governor Gavin Newsom and against the recall in a new TV spot, and he tells Democrat voters, "Don't let it happen."
Democrats are getting very anxious about voter turnout in the upcoming recall after recent polling showed the "yes" and "no" sides in nearly a dead heat. And while VP Kamala Harris had to back out of a Friday rally in the Bay Area in which she would have thrown her support behind Newsom, Sanders is appealing to his own fans and the Democratic base in general in the latest in what will likely be a continuing series of TV spots against the recall.
"At this unprecedented moment in American history, when we’re trying to address the crisis of climate change, guarantee health care for all, and pass real immigration reform, the last thing we need is to have some right-wing Republican governor in California," Sanders says in the 30-second ad.
The ad stresses the September 14 date of the election — which some recent reports have suggested not all voters are aware of — and repeats the party line that this is a "bold-faced Republican power grab." (Technically they meant "bald-faced," but yeah.)
Previously, we had a similar ad from fellow 2020 presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren, and there will likely be more ads still to come.
While Democrats have a potential turnout problem, with most polling showing that Newsom will easily get through this recall if enough of the mostly Democratic California electorate shows up or mails in their ballots, the "Yes" campaign has its own troubles. As the Chronicle reported last week, the general Republican distrust of all voting these days, spurred by Donald Trump and various Republican legislatures and congresspeople desperate to hold on to power, has infiltrated the recall. And this means that potentially a bunch of voters who would like to get rid of Newsom are going to not bother voting because they believe a massive Democratic conspiracy of voter fraud will keep him in office no matter what.
Voters in San Bernardino and Orange counties and other Republican strongholds in the state have been chattering on a recall-related Facebook group that "the Dems" are going to steal this election just like they did last year's presidential election — a claim that may gain traction if the final vote tally ends up being too close and in Newsom's favor.
"We can vote all day but if it’s in a corrupt voting system it’s not going to matter!" writes one recall supporter.
Now whether these people vote or not, polls show that a whole lot of them think libertarian/conservative radio host Larry Elder — who wants to abolish the minimum wage! — would make a good replacement governor. And he has a chance because in the second question on the recall ballot, the winner is whoever gets the most votes, even if that ends up being fewer than 20%. The New York Times has an opinion piece about how insane this continues to be, and if Newsom loses, we can expect some loud movement to reform the recall process generally.
Related: Meet the Nine Democrats Listed on the Gavin Newsom Recall Ballot