Don’t Let The Media Tell You The California Recall Wasn’t Rigged

Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder’s bid to unseat California Governor Gavin Newsom, failed Tuesday. In an echo of his successful 2018 gubernatorial bid, Newsom swept the state. With 74% of counties reporting, 63% of the state’s voters selected, “No, do not remove,” while only 36% voted, “Yes, remove.” But don’t let the media persuade you it wasn’t rigged.

Mr. Elder was gracious in defeat and sent his supporters an encouraging message asking them to be so as well. “We may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war,” he said. The contender might be already considering the 2022 election when Governor Newsom will be up for reelection.

There’s no word yet on that, but there’s speculation that Elder will run again in California’s top-two open primaries and then in the 2022 general election if he advances to one of the top two spots. If he does so, he’ll face the same rigged California political system that has left the Golden State a one-party government, despite the best efforts of non-partisan reformers.

Don’t be fooled by the media into thinking the election wasn’t rigged. They’re the ones who rig every critical election. The Guardian recently accused Mr. Elder of repeating the “big lie” from the Donald Trump playbook. The author cited Elder’s statement to reporters that there might be “shenanigans” in the election.

The big smoking gun is a link on the Larry Elder for Governor campaign website encouraging visitors to “fight California election fraud” and report “irregularities, interference, or intimidation.” Oh wow. How is that a lie? That’s an imperative, not a declarative, so it categorically can’t be a lie. The campaign website is just saying that if anything doesn’t seem right, let them know to find out more and do something if needed.

That’s very standard campaign fare, but leave it to the media to lie and twist it, which is probably what Donald Trump meant when he asked, “Does anybody believe the California Recall Election isn’t rigged?” The media was against Elder every step of the way, not giving him a fair hearing before the voters, ignoring and underplaying him mostly, and denigrating his intelligence and character when they did cover the recall.

Media and politics studies have found election after election, the candidate that gets the most earned media (free media that they didn’t pay for in advertisements) coverage wins the primary. Then again, in the general election. Giving whatever candidate they prefer to win the most publicity, the news industry picks the winners and losers. They indeed rigged the California recall election by opting to cover it barely. They’re standing behind Newsom.

And when they do cover it, they write hit pieces on Larry Elder, like an article from the Sacramento Bee saying, “Larry Elder makes nutty comments running for CA governor,” and “I’m going to miss those goofy Larry Elder misstatements on the campaign trail. No, really.” The article bashed him for the “shenanigans” comment. Then attacked Elder, an African American, for saying systemic racism is “a lie.” Then bashed him some more for spitballing on rightwing radio.

The media rigs every election in favor of Democrats, but Republicans win when the people see how out of control the government is getting. California will be slow for the pendulum to swing back because it’s so wealthy, masking the bad results of state policy with money. But they may have finally had more than they can stomach by 2022 or 2024.