By Jennifer Van Laar
In California, the land of fruits and nuts (I say that lovingly), election ballots are routinely filled with the names of numerous “celebrities” and talking heads. We follow our dreams in this state, no matter how unlikely they may be. We also have a history of electing actors to office. On the Republican side, we elected both Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger as our governor and Sonny Bono to Congress. As far as how that worked out, well, two out of three ain’t bad.
In this recall election, though, California conservatives don’t need a celebrity or a conservative pundit to throw their hat in the ring and attempt to save the state. We have a great candidate who’s already put his money where his mouth is, so what we need now is for celebrities/pundits to use their platforms to ensure that Gavin Newsom is recalled instead of further diluting the vote for what amounts to a vanity candidacy and, in doing so, may ensure that a milquetoast, corrupt candidate who will most assuredly lose re-election ascends to the governor’s office.
There are just 54 days until Election Day. Vote-by-mail ballots start hitting mailboxes in just a month. Should the recall succeed, our next Governor will have about a year (but realistically about six months) to start visibly turning things around in the state, or another Democrat will be elected.
That means that we need a candidate who already fully understands the issues facing California (and which are most important to the majority of voters, not just vocal conservative activists), who can articulate the reasons why voters should recall Gavin Newsom, who understands how to get elected in a statewide race, and—just as importantly—who knows the ins-and-outs of California’s legislative process and has a strategy to enact change quickly despite the Democrat supermajority.
Those aren’t things that can be done in 30-ish days (using the date mail ballots drop as the deadline), and we can’t afford to elect a governor who needs on-the-job training while the state is on the brink of economic ruin.
In addition, how many celebrities or pundits are ready to take a huge hit in the wallet? The governor’s salary is $210,000, and in California, that’s really not a lot. Sure, a newly-renovated governor’s mansion is a perk of the job, but if Gavin Newsom didn’t want to live in it with his family, it seems unlikely that a celebrity would want to downgrade their living situation as well. Should someone with a reality TV show or a nationally syndicated radio show win the election, their platform goes bye-bye for at least the next year since they won’t be able to do both. Conservatives would lose a necessary and effective voice in amplifying their message in the state.
In my view, any conservative celebrities or pundits who are considering entering the race should stay out and instead use every bit of their voice and influence to ensure that, first, voters show up to recall Gavin Newsom, and second, they choose Assemblyman Kevin Kiley as their next governor. To address the elephant in the room, yes, that includes a man worthy of admiration and respect, Larry Elder. I believe that Elder’s vital role is on the airwaves, combating the lies and half-truths the mainstream media is sure to spread about Newsom’s “successes” and about Kiley’s record and policies, and if Kiley wins, we’ll still need Elder’s voice and influence.
As a conservative with a national following, Elder can help Kiley in raising funds from conservatives in other states to ensure that Newsom is actually recalled. Newsom has tens of millions of dollars and public sector unions (and their ballot harvesting prowess) behind him. It’s going to take tens of millions of dollars from the conservative side to combat that, and that means the rest of the country needs to get behind this effort.
Some activists are attempting to make this recall election about Trump and want to back the candidate who is the most loyal to Trump or who most reminds them of Trump. It’s important to remember that this election is not about Trump. This election is about what Gavin Newsom has done to this state over the last 10 years and, in particular, the last two years, without remorse, and without concern for the lives destroyed. This election is about helping our friends and family and neighbors who are frustrated about the surge in crime, the unscientific lockdowns, the destroyed businesses, and the continuing surge in homelessness and its attendant societal effects fully understand that it is Gavin Newsom’s policies that led to this.
This election is a choice between a man who sees himself as more important than everyone else, who doesn’t follow the rules/make the sacrifices he expects us to, and who is controlled by corporate money and a man who foregoes his legislative per diem and legislative pay raises, who is part of a powerless political minority yet still takes the fight to “Goliath” Newsom. We need California’s conservative celebrities and pundits to harness their influence and use it to help those who are already in the political trenches instead of joining the fray themselves.
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