Larry Elder: Los Angeles Times’ wrongheaded recall postmortem

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom survived his 2021 recall election by 24 points, the same margin by which he won election in 2018. However, to keep his job he spent over $9 per voter versus $6 per voter to get his job.

I ran in the recall election, finishing first among the 46 “replacement” candidates with 3.5 million votes while carrying 57 of California’s 58 counties, losing only San Francisco County by 149 votes. In less than eight weeks, my team raised $22 million. Yet we were vastly outspent by Newsom, who received support from the public-sector unions, Hollywood executives and entertainment figures and the news media, including the Los Angeles Times — one of whose writers called me “the black face of white supremacy.” The writer declined the invitation to come on my radio show to defend the slur.

After the election, the Times offered their analysis on the recall, repeating the same talking points almost verbatim, most recently by reporter Hailey Branson-Potts, who wrote, “Elder — a black Republican who has denied the existence of systemic anti-black racism, made derogatory remarks about women and once called former President Trump ‘almost God-sent’ — emerged as the perfect foil for Newsom.”

Let’s analyze this.

First, consider the electoral battlefield in California. Registered Democrats and independents outnumber Republicans 3 to 1. In California, independents tend to vote Democrat. No Republican has won statewide office in California since 2006, including male and female candidates as well as those “of color.”

Second, Newsom’s reelection opponent is respected, affable Republican State Sen. Brian Dahle. He never “denied the existence of systemic anti-black racism,” made no “derogatory remarks about women,” never referred to Trump as “almost God-sent” and won’t say whether he thinks Trump should run in 2024. Still, Newsom branded Dahle as “Trump through and through.” Polling data in late September showed Dahle, with the election a little over a month away, down by nearly 30 points. An even (SET ITAL) more (END ITAL) “perfect foil for Newsom”?

Third, as for my denial of “the existence of systemic anti-black racism,” the Times offers no examples of today’s alleged anti-black systemic racism that it suggests should be acknowledged. Cops, studies show, are more hesitant to use deadly force against blacks than against whites. So, it’s not the police. Is it rabidly left-wing institutions like academia, the media and Big Tech? Clearly not.

As to my “derogatory” comment about women, the media quoted from an article I wrote in 2000 where I said women know more and care more than do men about social security, health care and education. I discussed a study by a left-wing female University of Pennsylvania professor who found that of 25 questions about politics asked of women and men, women knew more than men in only one question. The professor, who still teaches there, said the reason women know less than men is that women watch more local television news than do men. She said, “Watching local news makes you dumber.” The media translated this into “Elder thinks women are stupid.”

As for my calling Trump “almost God-sent,” what does one say about the odds of a candidate, not a general, who never worked in government and never ran for office, confounded the experts and pollsters, upended the former first lady, former New York senator and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who received the endorsement of over 50 newspapers to Trump’s two. References to God, to borrow a term from the Left, trigger the secular media. As for attacking me for supporting Trump, the only public figure more hated by the California Left than Trump is Charles Manson — and he’s dead.

I invited Branson-Potts on my TV show to defend her “Elder was the perfect foil” analysis of my defeat. She declined.

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at


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