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Column: Abandon your plans for a quick victory, California Republicans

If you’re looking for the best metaphor for how the California Republican Party blew up the recall attempt against Gov. Gavin Newsom, look no further than the sight of mixed martial arts legend Tito Ortiz eliminated by Anderson Silva at the first round of a boxing match held on September 11.

Around the same time last year, Ortiz was a rising star for the GOP, the latest celebrity to run in politics as he campaigned for a seat on Huntington Beach city council. He ended up getting the most votes of any candidate in city history by marrying MAGA school of politics – ridiculing libs, proclaiming skepticism about coronavirus closures and the pandemic itself – even and offer vague promises of freedom with few real and tangible plans.

But when the time comes to fight in the octagon of democracy? Ortiz fell like a tree meeting a lumberjack.

Instead of building a career as Surf City’s Trump-by-the-Sea, he left office in June after barely six months, essentially claiming the audience was too mean to him and his family. Barely three months later, Ortiz was lying in front of Silva in the boxing ring, flatter than a tortilla. Well, even Trump was there to witness the disappearance of his sidekick.

Way to impress Papi Trump, Tito!

An embarrassing defeat ending his career is also what ultimately happened with the recall election for governor of California. The final numbers have yet to be calculated, but voters overwhelmingly rejected the recall – over 60% of the ballots so far say ‘No’, with a turnout expected to well over 50%.

The margin of victory – and how quickly the victory was announced – surprised many onlookers. But those who know the California GOP just yawned and moved on. They knew the Republicans would feed the promise of victory until the mouth of defeat, period.

For the past quarter century, Republicans across the state have acted as the Dark Knight in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” that poor soul who insisted on fighting even after all of its members were cut off, describing amputations as simple wounds of the flesh, and then walked away bragging that he got a draw against King Arthur as His Royal Highness left the squeaky stump by the side of the road.

Almost every big move the state’s GOP has made to wrest power away from Democrats – term limits, fanatic proposals, selling its soul to Trump – has exploded dramatically in their face. In April, I wrote, “I’ll bet a roll of pesos that the ultimate loser will be, once again, the Republican Party. Home – in this case, history – is on my side.

Newsom’s coup attempt was the worst laugh yet – because it had the best chance of the many Hail Marys that the California Conservatives threw to actually work.

Placing the recall question on the ballot this summer was an upheaval in itself and galvanized not only conservatives but also middle voters and even Democrats who disagreed with the COVID-19 strategy. of Newsom of compulsory closures and without mask dinners in fancy restaurants. There was enough discontent in the California air mixed with smoke from the early summer wildfires that it looked like the encore had a fighting chance.

Californians were tired and frustrated, and Newsom and Democrats stumbled, like a fighter who had just stood up to a well-placed jab and didn’t see the uppercut coming towards them. It was the time when Caitlyn Jenner was the most prominent recall candidate. But the idea was that Republicans would rally around a sane person like former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to make the recall tent bigger.

That’s when I heard moderate Democrats openly say they weren’t going to support Newsom. It was then that tight polls shocked the nation and scared Democrats into believing there could be a historic upheaval.

Then Larry Elder arrived, a political nothingness that goes best with a jug of moaning. Instead of blowing hard, the leaders of the Republican Party withdrew and let him and his supporters suck oxygen from the recall movement to fuel their strategy with fire and brimstone.

People on the right adore Elder, who basically took a page from Trump’s playbook and has long had a knack for saying things about black people that make fanatics turn green. Elder almost certainly scared enough people about to vote to vote and bail out Newsom.

Suddenly Newsom didn’t have to defend his case as much as he said he wasn’t Elder. It was the second breath El Gavin needed to roar back in a way that made rival John Cox’s Kodiak bear as fierce as a church mouse.

Any sane conservative strategist should have seen that Elder didn’t stand a chance in California, that Trumpism could win in local races but is pretty radioactive in statewide elections.

But the adults left the GOP room a long time ago and now must come together again for the future by exploiting a political machine with more missing screws than ever before.

Elder told a crowd of supporters on election night at – where else? – Orange County right after The Associated Press called the death of the reminder that “we recognize that we have lost the battle, but we will certainly win the war”.

As they say in Mexico, what? Elder will most likely lead his race for a better radio syndication deal, but his political career is deadlier than Monty Python’s parrot – and he took the California GOP with him. (That is unless Trump somehow decides to make him his vice presidential candidate for a 2024 presidential election.)

Give up your plans for a quick victory, California Republicans. Voters have long been fed up with your embarrassing temper tantrums. Build to win over the long haul, not with Hail Marys thrown by quarters that keep going awry.

Otherwise, you’ll end up like Tito Ortiz, left to do exhibition fights in a Florida hotel-casino – just to find yourself face down in the political web.