Republicans got what they deserved in the California recall

I talked to some conservative activists in the weeks before the vote, and many of them were living in a fantasy world. Some were sure that the polls weren’t accurate because of liberal polling bias and the recall really was on track, while others believed the nonsense about fraud. After Newsom scored an impressive 64 percent to 36 percent victory, recall supporters were looking for everyone but themselves to blame…

I’ve often criticized the largely unprincipled state GOP, but at least the establishment makes an attempt to woo unaffiliated and Democratic voters. The problem started with the recall petition. Instead of focusing on broad concerns, it chided Newsom for favoring “foreign nationals, in our country illegally,” as if immigrants rather than homegrown politicians are the problem.

Recallers should have recruited the right candidate before they started collecting signatures. The campaign initially put pressure on Newsom to moderate some of his coronavirus restrictions, but as the race heated up and the GOP ran right, it pushed Newsom further to the left to shore up his base. The downside always was obvious. If the recall didn’t succeed, it would leave Newsom and the supermajority Democrats stronger than ever.