On Monday, the eve of California’s recall election, President Joe Biden appeared in Long Beach to make the case that Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom should remain in office. Biden emphasized a two-prong argument: Newsom is the state’s best bet to curb the pandemic and he’s a bulwark against a rising tide of Trumpism in California, a movement embodied by the leading GOP challenger, Larry Elder.
“Voting ‘no’ will be protecting California from Trump Republicans trying to block us from beating this pandemic,” Biden said.
Elder, a conservative talk radio host, has vowed to roll back vaccine and mask mandates if he’s elected. Newsom, on the other hand, has been aggressive in adopting pandemic mitigation efforts. He was the first governor to require all teachers to be vaccinated or to submit to regular testing. Seventy percent of California have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, a rate that outpaces the national average.
California ranks 33rd in COVID-19 deaths per capita, an achievement other large states have been unable to match.
“We don’t need politics in this battle against Covid,” Biden added. “We need science. We need courage. We need leadership. We need Gavin Newsom.”
Newsom has been using a similar message to drum up support. ABC News reports, “Newsom’s campaign has juiced ballot returns with concerns that a Republican governor would, as Newsom said last week, “walk us off that same COVID cliff” as GOP-led states like Texas and Florida.”
Biden easily won California in 2020, besting Trump by nearly 30 percentage points. On Monday, he tried to frame the recall election as a carbon copy of that matchup.
“All of you know last year I got to run against the real Donald Trump,” Biden said Monday. “Well, this year, the leading Republican running for governor is the closest thing to a Trump clone that I have ever seen in your state.”
In recent days, Elder has made a Trumpian turn on election fraud, baselessly claiming that the outcome of the recall vote has been rigged. A link on his website asserts that “statistical analyses…have detected fraud in California resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor. “
The final vote has yet to be tallied, so the basis of that claim is unclear. Newsom does, however, have a healthy lead in most polls.
“The decision you’re about to make isn’t just going to have a huge impact on California, it’s going to reverberate around the nation, and quite frankly, not a joke, around the world,” Biden added.