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Editorial: Republicans must heed the message from California and consign Trump to the past

1 7 29

The name Donald J. Trump is toxic for Republicans. It doesn’t matter if they’re Illinois Republicans, Indiana Republicans or members of the Grand Old Party on Mars.

That’s the clear message for the GOP from the California recall debacle.

Despite very real misgivings about California Gov. Gavin Newsom among moderates and swing voters, all the Democrats had to do was whisper the word “Trump” and those worries evaporated at mere mention of the boogeyman.

In order to win, Republicans needed to make the recall vote about issues endemic to California; this was, after all, a gubernatorial contest and Newsom had clear vulnerabilities.

But Democrats successfully made the race about national issues, which is another way of saying they made it about Trump. In essence, they told voters that if they recalled Newsom they were hastening the return of Trump. Trump, Trump, Trump-ity Trump.

The veracity of that claim is not relevant; it clearly worked. And Democrats are licking their lips over the possibility of applying it to all manner of races up and down the country, including Illinois, where a group called the Illinois Opportunity Project reportedly wants to promote a recall referendum to give Illinois voters a chance to recall elected officials, presumably a way to target Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The complex relationship of recalls to the quotidian democratic process is a separate issue for another day. But in the unlikely event any of that works, the Illinois Democrats will have a one-word........

© Chicago Tribune

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