What California's Larry Elder Proves About the Post-Trump Republican Party
On Tuesday, in California's recall election, right-wing talk radio host, Larry Elder, received more votes than the dozens of other Republican candidates combined. And he drew more than five times as many votes as his nearest mainstream Republican rival, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. In the end, Gov. Gavin Newsom trounced the recall effort, but the results among his Republican rivals proves a lot about where the GOP is headed, even in a progressive state like California.
Elder is an AM radio fixture in California, its Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. He describes himself as a small L libertarian and fills the state's airwaves with diatribes against immigration, environmental regulation, the Civil Rights Act, abortion, the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the minimum wage. He is against efforts to curb greenhouse gases, has helped spread Trump's election fraud lie, opposes vaccination and mask mandates, has said that “Medicare should be abolished," and "has written that Democrats do better with female voters because, according to academic research, “women know less than men about political issues.” In short, he's a Trump clone and exactly the type of candidate right-wing voters are seeking in a post-Trump America.
GOP leaders feel strongly that they will regain control of Congress next year, but if there is anything keeping them up at night, it's that dozens of Larry Elders are going to win Republican primaries across America in 2022. While Elder's views have become mainstream in the GOP, they are seen as wacky, or worse, by most Americans. Candidates like Elder can win primaries, but they won't win the swing districts that Republicans need to take control of the Senate and House of Representatives.
So, Republican leaders have a bit of a conundrum on their hands; fully embrace Trumpism or lose the right-wing voters that joined the Party in 2016 to "own the Libs." But, on the other hand, if they allow candidates like Larry Elder to define the Party, they risk losing more educated suburban voters who are still a bit embarrassed by Trump's racism, conspiracy theories, insane tweets, and chaotic governance.
If the GOP leadership stands aside and let's its voters decide who is nominated in 2022, there are going to be a lot of candidates like Larry Elder, Louie Gohmert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene representing the Party. They can win seats in overwhelmingly red regions of the country, but won't capture any swing districts.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content
Photo by Gage Skidmore