By Betsy Mahan
As of September 19, we still have 2.4 million votes to be counted statewide. But even if every remaining vote were cast to approve the Recall, we would still be stuck with Gavin Newsom. Wishful thinking and crossing our fingers won’t change the outcome.
So after all the hard work, enthusiasm, and resources poured into this Recall, why did we lose?
As I read the posts of Monday Morning Quarterbacks on Facebook, it is clear that we need to face reality if we are to ever win a statewide election. Here’s my personal observation:
Republicans are outnumbered statewide by Democrats 10,265,897 (46.5%) to 5,298,738 (24%) with 5,105,330 (23.2%) No Party Preference voters.
To date, only 3,855,596 (36.5%) Californians voted to Recall Newsom. Assuming some were Democrat or NPP, Republicans didn’t turn out the way we had expected (and worked for..)
Like it or not, as soon as Larry Elder entered the race, the polls showed a decline in support for the Recall, and it kept dropping until Election Day. Democrats had their target and they used his years of radio shows to find out of context comments they could use to scare away voters. It’s what they do very effectively.
Keyboard warriors spent their time posting about the potential for election fraud, rather than joining our stellar group of election observers who actually were on the scene to watch and report on the process. They’re now saying the Election was a fraud, but they’re not providing the proof we need to bust the perpetrators. This only serves to discourage voting, which is counterproductive.
The CAGOP went above and beyond anything I have seen to provide resources and training for election observers, voter registration, voter outreach, including materials for us to distribute, talking points, and a phone bank system. Much to my surprise, it was very difficult recruiting volunteers to get out of their comfort zone to call voters or walk precincts, much less donors to help our all-volunteer operation function.
Local groups sponsored rallies and boat parades, giving participants some temporary joy, but also a false sense of security that everyone agrees with them.
We failed to reach the moderate voters who were also upset with the current state of affairs in California and didn’t show how we would govern differently. We were the party of “No” as voters bashed fellow Republicans who supported candidates with a record of solving problems and implementing solutions. The purity tests kill us in every election.
The Recall was not a total loss for Californians. Schools, churches and businesses were begrudgingly re-opened before Newsom had wanted, as voters forced him to rethink his approach to the pandemic. Now we must continue to hold his feet to the fire by working hard to replace some of the legislators he depends on.
We shouldn’t have had to work so hard to turn out Republicans to Recall Gavin Newsom. Our voters were too fixated on supporting one candidate, and not on winning the “yes” vote.
If we are to win a statewide race in the future, we have to unite behind a candidate with broad appeal, while still representing our core values. We just don’t have the numbers to be so exclusive.
When you don’t have the resources or enough support to win, get out of the race and be a team player! The dozens of perennial Republican candidates who surface every four years to run for statewide office need to put their ego’s aside and realize they have no chance to do anything other than keep a Republican out of the top two run-off. This is true at the Congressional and Legislative levels as well.
We need to reach out beyond the current Republican base and find issues that unite us with others, such as education, public safety, faith, and water preservation. And we need to not be afraid to listen to different perspectives. We will have more in common than not, and they are our only hope for new leadership in this state.
Rather than spending your time bashing the Republican Party, get to know what they’re doing. You’ll be amazed at the resources that are available for you to work with us and make a difference. We need all hands on deck if we want to turn this state around.
And we have to understand that GOTV and County Party operations don’t succeed when they are underfunded. There is so much more we could do with financial support from concerned citizens. Please trust us to spend your donations wisely, and understand we all want the same things, including opportunity and prosperity for all, safe communities, a stellar education system, affordable housing, the right to worship, and elections with integrity.
I want to thank the SacCountyGOP office team, our walkers, callers, observers, and election workers, those who circulated petitions, and registered voters. You were all awesome to work with, and I hope every one of you will return after the first of the year to elect Republicans in 2022!
Please join with us and be a part of the solution!