March 24, 2023

Mountain Progressive Review

A Community-Led News Organization

Today is the final day for voting in the 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall Election. Polling stations are open until 8 p.m., and you can either drop off your mail-in ballot or vote in person. No matter how you feel about Governor Newsom, this isn’t an election the citizens of California can afford to lose. Larry Elder is by far the frontrunner among candidates to replace Newsom, and the conservative governor hopeful has some despicable views on pandemic safety, women, abortion, and other progressive agendas.

Mask & Vaccination Mandates

Though California has fared better than expected through the pandemic, Governor Newsom has come under fire for his lockdowns, mandates, and restrictions. Specifically, he and his family didn’t follow the same guidelines imposed upon us. While it’s doubtful that any of us look at those actions positively, Newsom’s handling of the pandemic has been decisive and effective. Since we can reasonably expect the pandemic to continue for at least some months, we must consider how Larry Elder would handle our continued safety.

Though vaccinated himself, Elder has pledged to repeal all face mask and vaccine mandates in California, including in our schools, before he has “had his first cup of tea” in office. Elder believes that only high-risk individuals, like himself, should vaccinate after discussing it with their doctors. He believes that “young people are not likely to contract the coronavirus, and when they do, their symptoms are likely to be mild, and they’re not likely to be hospitalized, and certainly not likely to die,” contrary to the Delta variant’s worrying trend of rampaging through our largely unvaccinated schools. The science behind the pandemic contradicts his partisan position, despite the cheers from his largely conservative, anti-vax, Trump-supporting crowd. Unfortunately, these views aren’t the only wrong sides of timely issues on which Elder finds himself to be.

Reproductive Rights & Women

With the Texas SB8 law temporarily permitted by the Supreme Court, women’s reproductive rights have recently been in the spotlight again. Many states may look to reproduce such a conservative victory by pushing their versions of an unconstitutional assault on Roe V. Wade. Electing Larry Elder will likely bring our state closer to such an outcome since he considers abortion to be “murder”. He has assured at least one anti-abortion activist, Lila Rose, that he intends to use vetoes and appointments to stop abortion funding and erode women’s right to choose. Not only has Elder promised to act toward his goal of dismantling Roe V. Wade, but he doesn’t think much of women in the first place.

If you have any doubts that Larry Elder does not value women equally, he has expressed the following views:

  • He said that “women know less than men about political issues, economics, and current events.” (CNN)
  • He stated that women who took part in the 2017 Women’s March were obese and unattractive. (CNN)
  • He scoffed at premenstrual syndrome by saying PMS stands for “Punish My Spouse”. (CNN)
  • Elder has endorsed pregnancy discrimination by employers. (The Sacramento Bee)
  • He has claimed that statistics about domestic violence against women are exaggerated to promote feminism. (CNN)
  • Elder has asserted that Democrats achieve more success among women voters because they have “emotionally driven, but often unsound policies.” (The Sacramento Bee)
  • Elder has often denied that a gender wage gap exists. (Guardian)
  • He wrote that women who choose to have children are not “dedicated” to their jobs and suggested that they lacked a “commitment” to work. (CNN)
  • He once defended himself from a sexual harassment allegation by implying that the woman was too unattractive for him to sexually harass, saying, “If you had seen her, you would know that the picture would be a complete defense. I’m just saying.” (CNN)

If any one of these quotes isn’t enough to convince you, consider that in a 2011 episode of his radio program, Elder said that he had twice been accused of sexual harassment, denying both allegations. To add to this, his former fiance, Alexandra Datig, accused him of abuse, saying that Elder had brandished a gun at her during a fight.

Progressive Agendas

Larry Elder already has his eyes set towards political spheres loftier than California state politics. Dianne Feinstein, US Senator from California, could step down before the next election and our governor would have the power to install her replacement—shifting power in Washington and possibly setting back democratic reform.

“God forbid Gov. Elder should replace Dianne Feinstein who nobody’s seen in weeks,” Elder said in regards to himself on Mark Levin’s Levin’s radio show, “I’m told she has a worse mental condition than even Joe Biden. They’re afraid I would replace her with a Republican—which I most certainly would do. And that would be an earthquake in Washington DC.”

Even though 80% of Californians are concerned with climate change, especially due to the increasing severity of wildfires and drought, Elder’s position on the topic has fluctuated over the years. Elder is “not sure” climate change has played a role in our wildfire seasons. Elder only started acknowledging climate change in 2021. He’s on record calling climate change a “crock” in a 2008 interview and his website once described climate change as a myth. He’s even disparaged other Republicans, like John McCain and George W. Bush, who’ve acknowledged climate change. A governor with beliefs like this could set back Californian efforts to combat climate change by decades when our state could be trail-blazing environmental policies for the rest of the country.

Elder doesn’t even see eye to eye with progressives in regards to racism, though he defines himself as, “An American who is Black”. He considers systemic racism a lie and once blamed Black Lives Matter for an increase in crime. He believes that welfare is more harmful to black families than slavery was, and he argued on Canadian television that slave owners should have received reparations for the property they lost after the civil war. Elder even opposes a Californian ban on certain types of chokeholds used by police because our state has a “soft-on-crime ethos.” He has promised to press to repeal 2014’s Proposition 47, which reclassified lower-level drug and property crimes that had previously been felonies.

These positions are perhaps to be expected from “a libertarian with a small l.” Whether it’s raising the minimum wage (Elder thinks $0.00 is the ideal) or gun control, many important issues seem to be absent from Elder’s future gubernatorial docket. His platform, summed up on his page, is “I am in it to win it” with not much else specified. It shouldn’t be surprising that all Elder can do is point out problems, since he believes he could govern California via Twitter.

Hopefully, the importance of your vote today is self-evident. Newsom indeed has the edge right now, but it’s likely that reported votes up until now lean Democratic. Perhaps you have issues with our current governor, but are your issues big enough to allow someone like the self-proclaimed “Sage From South Central” to steer our state during these crises? You can always vote for a different candidate in the next full election rather than letting Elder sneak a victory with roughly 25% of the vote. Our safety, the women in our state, our environment, and even our country are all at stake if you don’t vote “No” on the gubernatorial recall election today.

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