September 19, 2021

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California's governor survived the dramatic vote.  Vaccine proponents won.

California’s governor survived the dramatic vote. Vaccine proponents won.

California voters want to keep the governor. At the same time, they sent a powerful signal to vaccinate opponents.

The count so far shows that California Governor Gavin Newsom is set to survive the state’s no-confidence vote.

On Tuesday, voters headed to the polls to vote on whether Democrat Gavin Newsom should be removed from the position of governor. Of the 46 competing candidates, conservative radio presenter Larry Elder was considered the most dangerous contender.

Early Monday, Elder claimed it was widespread election fraud. Several newspapers wrote that he learned from the practices of Donald Trump.

On Wednesday morning Norwegian time, it was clear that Newsom had won around 60 percent of the vote.

Break the special vaccine measures

In California, voters can claim re-election. The requirement is that 12 percent of them sign a petition. State Republicans began working on such a popular measure even before the coronavirus pandemic became a major problem.

For a long time they worked hard. But in November last year, photos of Governor Newsom in a posh restaurant with lobbyists surfaced. They were tight and he wasn’t wearing a bandage. This was a direct violation of the rules he himself introduced to curb the epidemic.

Then his opponents managed to collect the necessary 1.5 million signatures.

John Cox helped bring a circus feel to the election.

Bear and vaccine resistance

In regular elections, parties have nomination elections. It is not necessary in such additional options. Thus, 46 candidates ran. One of them was John Cox. He has run various elections since the 1970s. Travel this year with a large brown bear to attract attention.

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Cox came in the back, as he usually does.

Voters must answer two questions in such a by-election. The first is whether the governor should be impeached. The second is about who is likely to replace him.

In 2003, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor after a similar election.

Republican Larry Elder came in behind.

Referendum on vaccination procedures

Newsom’s main competitor was the ultra-conservative radio host Larry Elder. He has positioned himself in opposition to the epidemiological measures taken by the state government.

Mandatory restrictions, quarantines and compulsory vaccination of some public servants became a major issue in the election campaign. For shops, restaurants and other businesses, the actions have been a huge burden.

Across the United States, this type of coercion has become a major political issue. Republican politicians and conservative media are campaigning against President Joe Biden’s more intrusive actions.

In this way, the elections also became a referendum on the corona measures of the authorities. California is one of the US states with the highest vaccination rate and the lowest infection rate.

Newsom had to campaign further after he broke his own rules. However, he made the fight for intrusive epidemic measures a major issue, and scored a big win.

big win

The strategy succeeded. Projections indicate that about 64 percent of voters said “no” to throwing the governor.

In 2018, he won the election with 62 percent, described as a landslide electoral victory.

We said yes to science. We said yes to vaccinations. We said yes to ending the pandemic, Newsom said, when the census showed which direction things were going.

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He added that electorate voting also applies to women’s rights, diversity and many other things that Democratic politicians fight for.

A sign of the future

For Democrats, the vote was important. Both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris helped Newsom campaign.

Next year, there are by-elections in the United States. All members of the House of Representatives are elected. The same goes for 34 of the 100 senators.

California is recognized as one of the most progressive states. However, the extraordinary election was seen as a forewarning of how voters should think before by-elections.

Defeat would be dramatic for the president’s party. The convincing victory could be a sign that voters are also supporting the president’s coronation efforts.