“In a vacuum, there was a lot of Democratic dissatisfaction and ambivalence with Newsom,” said Rob Stutzman, a Republican political advisor in California.
That changed when “the Abyss” got a name.
Mr. Elder isn’t the most trump card candidate imaginable, but he’s close. A freshman with a background on conservative talk radio, Mr. Elder has a treasure trove of embarrassing comments from his past – about women, about blacks – and a penchant for making more of them on the stump.
“Larry Elder was the gift we keep giving,” said Steven Maviglio, a Democratic policy advisor in California.
Again, Mr. Elder was effective because this race is so much more about celebrity than politics. But he is also effective because he is Trumpist base more attuned than anyone and ready to respond accordingly.
After pulling the fire from the right for telling the editorial staff of The Sacramento Bee that Joe Biden had won the 2020 election, has reversed. He has repeatedly and falsely claimed that the recall race is fraudulent. He’s crushing it under the “guys with an Uncle Sam costume in their closet” demographics, but not much more.
Mr. Elder is probably not a serious politician; he doesn’t run to win, but to raise his media profile. But it is precisely this fact that says something about today’s Republican Party. Many of their most distinguished personalities blur the line between politicians and celebrities and act accordingly, even if their success as the latter undermines our expectations of the former. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn – and, yes, Larry Elder – are only nominally politicians. Essentially, they are entertainers.
True, they are entertainers who say scary things about guns, political violence, the pandemic and everyone on their political left. And it’s true, some of them win elections, mostly in deep red districts. And it’s true, many people in the Republican Party are much smarter, or at least more thoughtful, about elected offices than they are.