California Gov. Gavin Newsom didn't "survive" last night's recall election as so many news outlets are putting it this morning. He delivered an epic smackdown to MAGA talkshow host Larry Elder, with "No" at 64 percent to a piddling 36 percent in favor of ousting the Democrat as of current tabulations. The prototypical blue state, where Democrats outnumber Republicans almost 2 to 1, voted to retain its Democratic governor. BREAKING ... said no one ever.

There are no shortage of bad takes going around this morning. Apparently Democrats are in big trouble, mister, and getting shellacked is actually great news for John McCain the GOP. Take a wildass guess which CNN pundit wrote, "Tuesday night was, weirdly, a very good night for Larry Elder's political future."


But for once, Larry Elder isn't leading the pack of gibbering idiots.

"Let's be gracious in defeat," he told supporters when early returns showed a tsunami for "No." Which doesn't sound like a man about to make good on his promise to drop a bunch of ridiculous Kraken suits alleging massive fraud and seeking to overturn the will of the voters. But with these slippery sumbitches, you never know.

"We may have lost the battle but we are going to win the war," he added, rather optimistically for a party whose ideas have been soundly and repeatedly rejected by the electorate at large and particularly in his home state. Because it turns out liberal voters don't actually get juiced up to come to the polls for someone who opposes abortion rights, rails against commonsense measures to prevent mass death during a vicious pandemic, and salivates over the death of a sitting Democratic senator because it will allow him to hand control of the Senate to Republicans. Or rather, they do get juiced up ... to vote against him.

Exactly none of the GOP's ideas enjoy broad popularity. Not their tax policy, with its giveaways to the uber wealthy; not their anti-vaccine, pro-COVID lunacy; not their rabid opposition to regulations impinging on Americans' freedom to drink arsenic and eat spoiled meat; nor their support for the right of Americans to die of preventable diseases if they can't afford treatment; and certainly not their stance on women's rights to control our own bodies.

Put simply, their ideas suck, and instead of moderating, they double down and try to keep as many of the "wrong" people away from the polls as they can. And thanks to the Electoral College and Republicans' habit of parking themselves in states where there aren't a lot of people (and our habit of moving the hell out of MAGA-land), sometimes a purely base strategy can shove a minority party over the line. But not in California, not even with its fakakta recall law.

"You can say you remained pure in defeat, but that's just a martyr candidacy," Republican consultant Mike Madrid, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, told the LA Times. "It appeals to a core group that is the fastest-shrinking demographic in the state and in the country."

The only way the GOP can sell its message is to get a pitchman who lies so constantly that no one believes him when he threatens to blow up the economy with a massively destructive trade war and default on the national debt. Sure, sure, Poppy, and Mexico will pay for it.

And yet Republicans continue to pretend that it's all a problem of messaging, rather than the message itself.

"Ultimately this recall failed because Republicans once again couldn't unify and get behind a candidate," the California College Republicans whined, blaming candidate Kevin Faulconer, the Republican former mayor of San Diego, for speaking ill of other Gippers in violation of "Reagan's 11th Commandment." Or, as some people have called it, campaigning. In the opinion of the GOP brain trust, it wasn't that their ideas were dogshit — it was infighting that kept them out of the governor's mansion.

CNN's Brian Stelter, who watched the wingers so you don't have to, reports that Fox is crediting the Democrat's victory to big tech donations and support from the president and vice president. "We should not be surprised that Gavin Newsom pulled it out in the last week or two," the Kurvy Kouch Krew's Steve Doocy assured the audience, as if he and his compatriots hadn't spent weeks selling their viewers the line that Newsom could only win by cheating. If you were the kind of person who thought there was something to be gained by engaging with this type of bad faith argument, you might point out that Democrats enjoyed a massive advantage in early voting, long before VP Harris stepped off the plane. But you probably know better than that.

At least Fox is acknowledging that it's over. As Stelter notes, OAN is still pretending that Elder might pull this thing out once all the votes are counted.

Well, that's one way of getting out of reckoning with the fact that your party is radioactive in the suburbs.

Let's give the last word to Newsom, instead of the pack of doofuses who pretended that maybe the calendars were all wrong and it was 2003 again.

"Democracy is not a football, you don't throw it around. It's more like — I don't know — an antique vase," the governor told supporters last night, referring to the Big Lie that American elections are riddled with fraud. "You can drop it, smash it into a million different pieces — and that's what we're capable of doing if we don't stand up to meet the moment and push back."

Keep pushing, it's the only thing we can do.

[LA Times / LA Times]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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