The overwhelming rejection of the effort to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom is a powerful message for those Republicans who think their future lies with Donald Trump and Trumpism. It doesn't.
The vote was roughly 2-to-1 against the recall. That's a landslide by any measure. Indeed, when the results are certified, Newsom may have beaten the recall by a larger margin than his 2018 victory in the gubernatorial race.
For Republicans who backed the recall, that's a clear repudiation. And what makes it even more significant is that Newsom did some things as governor that stirred anger and resentment.
What made Newsom especially vulnerable was his arrogant and foolish decision during the pandemic last year to have dinner in a Napa Valley French restaurant without a mask. He violated other Covid protocols as well even though he had issued a severe mask-up order that some restaurant owners say was too harsh and killed their enterprises.
"Do as I say and not as I do" has ended the careers of more than a few politicians, yet Newsom is coming out of the recall much stronger than ever.
When the final votes are counted, the share of ballots favoring recall is likely to be smaller than the share of California ballots for Trump over Joe Biden in 2020. Ouch, if you're a Trumpublican.
That's a clear sign that Trump's influence is waning -- especially since Trump weighed in to support the recall.
The next few days will be filled with Trumpian complaints that the election was rigged, no matter the lack of evidence. Baseless claims will fool some people, but over time they just become the pathetic whining of losers like Trump. Baseless claims don't attract more voters, which is Politics 101.
The week before the election, Trump said the election was rigged for Newsom. He reiterated that on election day.
Larry Elder, the leading Trumper seeking to replace Newsom, posted assertions that the official vote results were fraud and statistical analysis proved it.
That's a remarkable claim to make before any vote results are known and before the election ends – unless you just make stuff up.
Elder is a longtime fixture in the Los Angeles radio market.
Elder is a true red Trumper who spouts crazy, illogical, half-baked, fact-free, absurd and downright offensive ideas, sometimes contradicting himself just the way his hero Donald Trump does.
Facts are to Elder just as they are to Trump: they don't matter. Like Trump, Elder creates his own reality.
Among the craziest things Elder has proposed are reparations for slave owners because their "property" was taken away after the Civil War.
Elder's campaign made clear that he intended to govern California in pure Trumpian style, by Tweet rather than substance. That also alarmed voters in a state whose economy is heavily based on science. Indeed, even the Hollywood fantasy machine relies on science to churn out films, television shows and video games.
Most Californians had never heard of Elder.
As word about Elder's jumbled, racist, misogynistic, anti-science and extreme anti-abortion beliefs got traction among Californians who had never listened to his radio rants, alarm bells started to go off. And not just among Democrats. Business leaders were also worried. And that caused voter turnout to soar.
Trumpism can't grow and regain power when all its got are made up tales of vote fraud. California voters just proved it by overwhelming margins at the polls.