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Reblogged:Is Trump Newsom's Biggest Asset?

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Last week, when considering the possibility of California electing Larry Elder as Governor in its recall election, I wondered why there were no prominent Democrats trying to unseat Gavin Newsom:
Is it a strategy to protect their embattled leader by making it seem like there is no viable alternative? Fear of retribution for potentially tanking a rising star? A recognition that the term will be too short to do much of anything? I have no idea, but the first of these seems quite the gamble.
Despite having doctrinnaire Democrats from California as in-laws, I had managed to forget a major factor working in Newsom's favor, namely a rabid, near-obsessive hatred Donald Trump.

But that's okay, because the Associated Press has us covered:
Even stuffing envelopes requires some motivation. (Image by Tiffany Tertipes, via Unsplash, license.)
"All three of those [blue-state Republican] governors are pretty significant critics of Donald Trump," noted Kyle Kondik, an analyst at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

In California, the leading GOP candidates have supported or have ties to Trump, who is widely unpopular in the state outside his conservative base. Trump lost California to Biden by over 5 million votes.

Newsom's campaign is anchored to the slogan "stop the Republican recall" -- an attempt to cast the election as a solely partisan effort, which it is not. Newsom's chief political strategist routinely tweets a 2019 photograph of Republican candidate Kevin Faulconer, the former San Diego mayor, beside Trump at his desk in the Oval Office.

In California, "I think it would be hard to pitch yourself as a national kind of Republican" with Trump still exercising broad influence, Kondik added. [bold added]
I nevertheless have a hard time imagining anti-Trump sentiment being such a strong motivator for people to show up and vote -- for a governor many dislike and most want to replace -- that Newsom is absolutely safe. And there is the shortness of the remaining term: A voter who is dissatisfied enough may not care who replaces Newsom. That could negate the realization that a Republican would likely win.

But if the recall is as close as polling suggests, it might be enough to save Newsom's hide, despite his poor leadership and general unfitness for office.

-- CAV

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