An off-mic incident with Larry Elder left this journalist shocked – she says it revealed his total lack of integrity

Writing in POLITICO this Wednesday, Los Angeles-based journalist Erin Aubry Kaplan recounts her interactions with "the surprising front-running candidate" to replace California Gov. Gavin Newsom and "controversy-generating radio host," Larry Elder.

According to Kaplan, conservatism has "changed radically" since the '90s, and so has Elder, "easily embracing the unhinged Trumpism that dominates today's Republican Party." But in spite of Elder trying to brand himself as an independent thinker, Kaplan says he "doesn't have integrity, not in the way it matters most."

An off-mic incident with Larry Elder left this journalist shocked – she says it revealed his total

Kaplan then tells a story about an interview she did with Elder back in 1997, where he basically admitted to her that his on-air radio personality was a shtick.

" act that required conflict with the left to stoke ratings," Kaplan writes. "I was shocked that he was so willing to sacrifice his own philosophical alliances with Black people to do it."

"Elder was no closet liberal, but clearly his conservatism was complicated, not as black and white as he represented to the public, and as he had represented to me," Kaplan continues. "What's more, he had confessed the truth like it was no big deal, as if intellectually selling out your own people when convenient was simply the price Black Americans paid for success."

The fate of California's governor will be decided by voters on September 14 in a rare recall election to be held in the most populous and wealthiest US state.

Voters will decide whether Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, should be only the second sitting state governor ousted during his term, after Arnold Schwarzenegger came to power by the same route almost two decades ago.

Newsom has decried the recall bid as the work of anti-vaxxers and QAnon conspiracy theorists, but he has enraged some Republicans and small business owners with California's strict and lengthy COVID-19 restrictions.

With additional reporting from AFP