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A big win for Gavin Newsom, but a bigger defeat for the GOP

A big win for Gavin Newsom, but a bigger defeat for the GOP

Posted: Sep 17, 2021 5:41 AM
Updated: Sep 17, 2021 5:41 AM

By the time the voting ended Tuesday night, the defeat of the effort to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom was widely expected.

California is a solidly Democratic state that has not elected a Republican to statewide office since 2006 and has not cast its electoral votes for a Republican presidential candidate since George H. W. Bush carried the Golden State in 1988. Nonetheless, the scope and timing of Newsom's victory may be a bad sign for the GOP even beyond California. With roughly 80% of the vote counted, about 64% of the more than nine million Californians who took part decided against recalling Newsom.

According to the CNN exit poll, almost every major group in the state rejected the recall: Whites, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, every age group, men and women, urban and suburban residents, parents and non-parents, those with and without college degrees and LGBTQ Californians.

A number of those groups are already part of the Democratic coalition, but some of the numbers are bad news for the GOP, particularly the gender data: 64% of female voters and 62% of White female voters decided to keep Newsom in office, far more than men.

Those numbers are significant. Consider that as recent as 2020, President Joe Biden only won 51% of White women in the state.

The clear majorities Newsom won among African Americans (83%) and Latinos (60%), particularly female members of those groups, ensured he would stay in office, but those voters were not the focus of the GOP -- White people were. Donald Trump secured 47% of California's White voters in 2020 but just 41% of that demographic voted yes on the recall.

This broad support for Newsom, particularly the gains he made with White women, suggests that the GOP message is not breaking through to the kinds of voters who the Republican Party needs in order to be competitive in other parts of the country. The Republican-backed recall movement sought to portray Newsom as ineffective, uncaring and unwilling to follow his own rules, notably when he dined at the French Laundry restaurant with a party that included lobbyists shortly after announcing Covid restrictions in 2020. That message didn't resonate enough to convince most voters that California would be better off under the stewardship of today's GOP.

For the Republican Party to compete in future elections that, unlike the recall, it can and needs to win, it is essential that it wins over White women. The data from the recall suggest that in California those women are not in favor of candidates like Larry Elder, the kind of Trumpian figure who will likely be on the ballot in a lot of states and districts in 2022. Huge landslides against the recall in places like Santa Cruz county, where 80% opposed the idea; Los Angeles County, which went 71% against the recall, and Newsom's hometown of San Francisco, which cast 87% of its votes against the recall, were expected. But the failure of the GOP to make progress in places like San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties, which were once solidly Republican but went for Biden in 2020 and against the recall in similar numbers this time, indicate the GOP is still not reaching the voters it needs.

The GOP losing votes may not matter statewide in blue California, but if White women, whether they live in moderate and conservative suburbs in California -- yes those places exist -- or elsewhere in the country, continue to abandon the GOP, suburban districts around the state and country will trend more Democratic and leave the GOP scrambling to figure out how to advance its political agenda and how to win back voters.

Newsom's resounding victory also occurred at a time when the Democratic Party has been on the ropes on the national stage. The withdrawal from Afghanistan had dominated the news and has hurt President Biden politically, while the rise of the Delta variant had made the back-to-school period difficult and stressful for many families, including in California. This was a moment when a Democrat in a state like California should have been vulnerable, if not to defeat, then at least to a relatively close election. Instead, the Republicans, and the de facto GOP standard-bearer in the person of Elder, were humiliated.

That victory means Newsom will stay in office, very likely cruise to reelection in 2022, possibly against Elder, but it also will put some wind in the sails of a Democratic President who badly needs it right now. The recall was a referendum on Newsom, but indirectly on Biden and the Democrats as well. The numbers show that it wasn't close and that Californians, including the White women whose support is so crucial to the GOP's future in the state, were not buying whatever the GOP and Elder were selling.

The-CNN-Wire
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Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 819597

Reported Deaths: 15406
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147901924
Mobile725791338
Madison52306697
Shelby37597350
Baldwin37245552
Tuscaloosa35101612
Montgomery34106740
Lee23526246
Calhoun22225488
Morgan20941378
Etowah19825500
Marshall18361304
Houston17384412
St. Clair16054339
Cullman15443293
Limestone15343199
Elmore15241286
Lauderdale14302295
Talladega13836283
DeKalb12649261
Walker11202370
Blount10192176
Autauga10043148
Jackson9871184
Coffee9210191
Dale8897185
Colbert8860201
Tallapoosa7084198
Escambia6772134
Covington6712183
Chilton6641162
Russell636659
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion5005127
Dallas4973200
Pike4795106
Clarke475584
Geneva4571127
Winston4516103
Lawrence4321117
Bibb425186
Barbour357776
Marengo338090
Monroe331464
Randolph329764
Butler326396
Pickens316284
Henry312666
Hale311388
Cherokee302860
Fayette292880
Washington251551
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234663
Lamar224147
Conecuh186153
Coosa180240
Lowndes175164
Wilcox168839
Bullock151644
Perry138840
Sumter133038
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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