Today is election day. Many are convinced that Gavin Newsom will cruise to victory in the recall election. They could be right. It is hard to ignore the very real potential for fraud. But they may be missing something very important. Newsom was elected in 2018, when there was no Presidential election. The choice was between Newsom and Cox. If you recall, 2018 was a horrible election for Republicans in California. Democrats won 7 congressional races where incumbent Republicans were replaced by Democrats. Some will recall that Democrats were openly harvesting ballots in Orange County. But in the 2020 election, even though Trump got very little support in California, Republicans took back 4 congressional seats. The point being that the 2020 election was very different than the 2018 election, which Gavin Newsom won by a landslide.
One of the reasons Republicans won in 2020 is that Democrats were pushing the lockdowns and Republicans were against them. Another factor, which is being ignored, is that some Democratic areas have far fewer registered voters than in prior years. In 2019, for the first time in 20 years, Los Angeles County had to clean its voter rolls. Do not underestimate this. According to Real Clear Politics, California is in the process of removing 5 million inactive voters:
Over 1.6 million voters were removed in Los Angeles County alone. Another issue is the fact that California Drivers licenses have changed. It is estimated that up to 5.7 million drivers’ licenses were not real IDs. Secretary of State Padilla had to agree to update California’s National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) manual. In California, you must be a U.S. Citizen and a resident of California. For the first time, voter records are reconciled with drivers’ license records and in California, for the first time, drivers’ license records verify citizenship. While there are still a lot of people out there who do not have drivers’ licenses that are real IDs and this was extended because of COVID, there is at least a data base that can be used to reconcile people who received ballots and people who are legally registered to vote. This means the voter rolls in California today may be remarkably different than they were in 2018 and they have also changed since 2020.
Just before the 2016 election, I wrote that if voter turnout in 2016 was more like the midterm election in 2014 than when Obama won in 2008, that Trump had a chance to win the election. At the time every major political pundit was expecting Hillary Clinton to coast to election. She had purchased a massive fireworks presentation to celebrate her victory. Even on election night, all the major networks were expecting Hillary to win, until it became obvious that she had lost.
Since that election there has been massive vote by mail and few honest observers would consider the 2020 election to be above reproach. This election is also about mail in ballots, but there have been changes. This time people can vote in person, again, and many may choose to do that. In addition, every ballot drop box is monitored by TV cameras. There is obviously still a potential for massive fraud, but it is at least arguably harder in 2021 than it was in 2020. And the results in 2020, regarding congressional races, was very different than the 2018 election.
Every political pundit, including conservative pundits, expect Newsom to defeat the recall. But if messaging matters, and it sure did in 2018, they could be wrong. The real question is how many people want mandatory vaccinations and mask requirements. Before you assume anything about this, consider the following. There are numerous reports of police and other first responders resigning in mass because of vaccine mandates. Some hospitals have reported high numbers of health care workers quitting because of vaccine requirements. So, while 80%, according to Newsom, of Californians have been vaccinated, the remaining 20% may be very hard to convince. That is why Newsom is making vaccines mandatory, if he does not do that, a lot of people will just say no. If the reports across the country and any indication, many will still say no, even if it means they are unemployed as a result of that decision.
My guess is that close to 100% of the anti-vax crowd will vote to recall Newsom. The question is whether this will be enough to tip the scales. Don’t assume that everyone who is opposed to mandatory vaccinations is a Republican. We will know, possibly as early as tonight. In 2020, no one expected Trump to lose California by a massive margin, yet Republicans gained four house seats. Expect the unexpected. We will soon know for whom the toll bells.