LONG BEACH, Calif .– President Joe Biden headlined a bubbling rally Monday night against the recall of California Gov. Gavin Newsom that amplified the campaign’s governor’s cast as part of a national struggle.
Speaking the day before the vote ended, Biden described the recall race as an extension of the 2020 presidential election. He has repeatedly said that a Newsom victory would “send a message” to the nation and present the Republican leader Larry Elder as “the closest thing to a Trump clone I’ve seen in your state,” warning Elder would undermine women’s rights, erode labor protections and blunt California’s battle against climate change.
“The eyes of the nation are on California because the decision you are about to make will not only have a huge impact on California, it will reverberate across the country,” Biden said.
With 24 hours of voting remaining, the event looked like a quick victory speech to a few hundred people who filled a lawn at Long Beach City College and chanted “Vote No! overnight. Recent polls have shown Newsom extending its lead to double-digit percentage points, and Democrats feel extremely confident after fearing the race was a stalemate several weeks ago. Participants greeted Biden with chants of “Joe! Joe! Joe!”
“There is no scenario where we lose,” Newsom strategist Sean Clegg told reporters ahead of the event.
The recall gave Biden the opportunity to partner with a Democratic victory after seeing his own approval ratings drop sharply when the Taliban quickly took control of Afghanistan and 13 US soldiers were killed in a attack by the Islamic State. As Newsom has done in recent months, Biden has turned his attention to his divisive predecessor, uplifting Democrats in a Blue State where Trump is deeply unpopular.
“Either you keep Gavin Newsom as governor or you will have Donald Trump,” Biden added, saying repudiating the recall would ensure “Trump’s dark, destructive and confrontational politics never finds its place in California.”
Newsom in recent weeks has posed the recall as a choice between California’s strict coronavirus mandates, which run parallel to Biden’s orders requiring vaccinations for public employees, and a rollback of Covid-19 rules similar to what the Red States did. Biden doubled down on that contrast, comparing Newsom to Republicans who sought to “block or undermine the life-saving mandates that we have proposed.”
“Voting ‘no’ will protect California from Trump Republicans who are trying to stop us from beating this pandemic,” Biden said. “We don’t need politics in this battle against Covid,” he added. “We need science. We need courage. We need leadership. We need Gavin Newsom.”
Biden’s closer role in the campaign crowned Newsom’s efforts to nationalize the race. The governor has long touted the election as a contest between California’s progressive vision and resurgent Trumpism, predicting that a loss would undermine Biden’s platform and hurt Democrats in the 2022 midterm election.
“We may have defeated Donald Trump, but we did not defeat Trumpism. Trumpism is still on the ballot in California, ”Newsom said in a line-up that drew loud applause.
To that end, Newsom has enlisted several leading Democrats in an attempt to galvanize voters. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) And former President Barack Obama have all performed in campaign spots. Vice President Kamala Harris campaigned with Newsom in the San Francisco Bay Area last week.
Before Biden spoke, Newsom assembled a phalanx of prominent supporters that included organized labor leaders, Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison, Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) And most elected officials from the State of California. The show of force underscored California’s strongly Democratic makeup.
“We’re going to send a message. We will beat this recall in a resounding way, ”State Comptroller Betty Yee said.
Republicans blasted Biden for taking time out of his presidential duties to support Newsom, arguing he was neglecting more important tasks – although Biden used his trip to the west to study the damage and response to the wildfires in Idaho and northern California still on fire.
Joe Biden abandoned the crisis in Afghanistan and the Americans are stuck there, imposed his most authoritative COVID-19 mandate to date and stepped away from the wreckage, and ignored the ongoing crisis at our southern border RNC spokesperson Hallie Balch said. A declaration. “It is fitting that Biden would rather campaign for Governor Newsom than resolve his multiple crises.”
As Newsom’s campaign was hampered by concerns about a turnout gap as Republican enthusiasm overshadows Democratic interest, data from the roughly eight million mail-in ballots already returned shows Democrats voted in greater numbers than their share of the electorate. And Newsom is feeling good, as a Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll last week showed Democrats and Independents to be much more engaged than they were a month ago.