LAT Politics Ace Dissects Newsom Recall - How GOP Wannabes Handle "Anger & Outrage" of Trump Factor
Mark Z. Barabak, an anomalous name familiar to political junkies throughout the nation, has covered 11 presidential elections and electoral campaigns in 49 of the 50 states (big dis to Rhode Island) -- but he's never seen anything like the "anger, outrage and inflammatory" atmosphere of politics in the ongoing Era of Trump.
:"It's an unvirtuous political circle," the L,A, Times columnist said, as he returned to Newsmakers for.a conversation about the current political landscape in California and the nation.
Among the leading Republicans seeking to replace embattled Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom in the Sept. 14 recall election, Barabak views Kevin Faulconer as the most qualified challenger (he describes reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner as a publicity fiend cashing in on the political spectacle and 2018 GOP nominee John Cox as the emcee of his own clown show) but noted how the former San Diego mayor and other traditional conservatives struggle to balance real-world policy ideas with the political necessity of catering to the derangement of the fiercely pro-Trump base.of the party.
At a time when a large portion of GOP voters is convinced the Donald Trump won the presidential election, that the Jan. 6 insurrection mob was a gaggle of earnest citizens touring the Capitol and that Covid vaccines are a deep state plot, Newsom is consolidating support, Barabak recently wrote, as Prince Gavin defines the recall as a referendum on right-wing extremism and marshalls the widespread anti-Trump sentiment -- and money -- of California.
A Republican hasn't been elected to statewide office in the state since 2006, and while the recall provides the GOP with a singular opportunity to do so -- if a bare majority in the special election vote "Yes" on recall, the top finisher among the scores of wannabes on the ballot is your new governor -- a serious-minded candidate like Faulconer is caught in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't position, Barabak said, as Trump continues to demand total loyalty to his anti-democracy movement.
In a fast-moving update on all the latest in California politics, the prolific columnist (and, full disclosure, my former partner on the beat) also talks about early maneuvering in the Republican's 2022 bid to win back control of the Congress, the chances for an independent candidate to beat a Democrat in a statewide race, the ways and means by which Trump has transformed campaigning and culture, as well as the gnarly problems Dem progressives have in dealing with members of their party's gerontocracy (shout-out DiFi).