Tuesday's news: All eyes on California

Right-wing driven gubernatorial recall effort ends today. Challenger Elder already claims "fraud." GOP governors are moving to oppose vaccine mandates for other illnesses.

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Democrats and Governor Gavin Newson of California feel a bit more confident — though are being cautious — that Newsom will beat back the recall effort driven by the far right.

Early on, voters were complacent. But the emergence of far-right, anti-vax Trumpian extremist Larry Elder, the radio host who is leading among challengers, changed all that.

And, as Daily Kos’s Kerry Elyveld told me on my SiriusXM show yesterday -- jumping off the piece she wrote -- that is a blueprint for Democrats moving forward:

Newsom's focus on Elder's extreme anti-vaccine, anti-mitigation positions has yielded dividends, rousing Democratic voters who appeared to potentially be sleepwalking their way to defeat….

…Newsom's campaign got laser focused on comparing him to the alternative rather than simply trying to run on the strength of the policies he has implemented as governor.

Newsom effectively tied Elder to the anti-vax, anti-mask policies of the GOP that are killing people, and to Donald Trump and the deadly anti-science views he embraced. It’s something that Democrat Terry McAuliffe is doing as well, running for governor in Virginia’s election this fall and tying his GOP opponent, Glenn Youngkin, to Trump and the anti-science QAnon conspiracies he enables. And Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey is doing the same in his re-election campaign as well.

Democrats need to go all-in, as I was discussing on my show yesterday, and run against Trumpism, tying all of their opponents to it through the 2022 mid-terms. It brings out their base, and it’s a good practice run in case Trump himself does run for president again in 2024.

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Larry Elder is already crying election fraud, seeing the way the polls are going, and showing how this is now the playbook for every Republican moving forward, borrowing from Trump: If they lose, it was rigged:

Leading Republican candidate Larry Elder appeared to preemptively concede defeat and baselessly claim voter fraud before Tuesday’s California gubernatorial recall election.

Elder and his campaign posted a website for his base to report alleged voting scams and sign a petition to investigate the “twisted results.”

“We implore you … to join us in this fight as you are able, primarily by signing our petition demanding a special session of the California legislature to investigate and ameliorate the twisted results of this 2021 Recall Election of Governor Gavin Newsom,” the site says.

Not a shocker — but now they’re admitting outright that’s just a scam, since this time the website went up before the election was even over. Be prepared for Republican candidates to do this from here on. Already in Nevada, South Carolina and elsewhere they’re throwing out the same line: If we lose, it’s rigged. I think Democrats need to hit hard on this, and mercilessly mock Republicans in ads as “sore losers.” It needs to be challenged seriously, but they also must be humiliated for promoting this ridiculousness.

If you’re a SiriusXM subscriber, listen in tonight to SiriusXM Progress 127 to special coverage as the returns come in from California, with the great Joe Sudbay hosting, beginning at midnight ET, 9 PT.

This issue of Covid vaccine mandates is one that the GOP thinks is a winner for them. And it’s not — as all of the above illustrates. But that won’t stop them from dangerously moving in this direction, even with regard to vaccine mandates for measles, polio, chickenpox, tetanus and other illnesses, as conspiracies continue to fuel their extremist base. The Washington Post couldn’t get House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to say he supported mandates for children in schools for those other communicable diseases:

Over the weekend, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) declared on Twitter that there should be “NO VACCINE MANDATES.”

More than a dozen other prominent Republicans in Congress and in the states have made similarly defiant statements in recent days, often using inflammatory rhetoric….

…McCarthy’s office declined to provide specifics about whether the top House Republican opposes requirements in schools, the military and private businesses that individuals be vaccinated against deadly diseases such as the measles, meningitis and typhoid.McCarthy remained silent when asked twice Monday in the Capitol to answer questions about his views on vaccines beyond the coronavirus.

This is extraordinary, but we have already seen them moving in this direction. In Tennessee, GOP lawmakers over the summer moved to order health officials to stop trying to get minors vaccinated -- not only against Covid, but against everything:

The Tennessee Department of Health will halt all adolescent vaccine outreach – not just for coronavirus, but all diseases – amid pressure from Republican state lawmakers, according to an internal report and agency emails obtained by the Tennessean. If the health department must issue any information about vaccines, staff are instructed to strip the agency logo off the documents.

Ten years ago, when the anti-vax movement was mostly dominated by people on the fringes of the left and some Hollywood celebrities, would you have believed that it would be what Republicans would be running on today?

But this is where Trump has brought them, and it’s exceedingly dangerous. All the more reason for Democrats to do what they’ve done in the California recall — call it out and ty it to Trump, proudly run on responsible public health, and against recklessness and death. It’s the only way to beat this ideology, and win elections.

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