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The California Republican Party is broken. The Newsom recall proved it

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20.09.2021

In the end, Larry Elder could not deny the inevitable judgment of California voters, and on Tuesday night he conceded with unexpected grace and near humility. His hopes of unseating Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recall election ended with a landslide defeat that left no room for excuses or conspiracies.

The talk radio agitator, along with the remnants of the California GOP, lost the recall fight by at least 2 million votes. "We may have lost the battle but we are going to win the war," Elder told supporters gathered for an election night party in Costa Mesa, but he had been prepared to take a much darker turn.

Just days earlier, former President Donald Trump claimed the California recall was "probably rigged," before a single vote was counted. A website paid for by the Elder campaign repeated the claim and provided a petition "demanding a special session of the California legislature to investigate and ameliorate the twisted results." On election eve, Elder refused to explicitly promise to accept the results, win or lose.

However unintentionally, the insinuations of voter fraud only served to underline how broken the GOP has become in California. The latest "rigged" conspiracy was in defiance of simple math in a state where verified Democratic registration is double that of Republicans. Joe Biden had just won the nation's most populous state in 2020 with 63.5% of the vote, easily crushing Trump by more than 5 million votes.

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Newsom won by essentially the same margin as his landslide victory in 2018 against another weak Republican candidate, John Cox.

The shrinking Republican base in California has only grown more extreme as traditional conservatives and moderates exit a party that once dominated in California. While traditionally liberal states like Maryland and Massachusetts have managed to elect moderate Republicans as governor in recent years, California has become a lost cause.

"It was a strong Republican state when Republicans weren't this anti-immigrant, this anti-woman, this anti-science," says Melahat Rafiei, secretary of the California Democratic Party. "So it isn't that the people changed. The Republican Party went to a place where people couldn't go."

If more than 50% of voters had voted yes on the recall, Newsom would........

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