Things We Shouldn’t Say

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at St. Mary’s Center during a “Stop The Recall” rally ahead of the recall election in Oakland, Calif., September 11, 2021. (Brittany Hosea-Small/Reuters)

Personally, I don’t find it hard to imagine a Democrat winning a political race in California. Even a Democrat like Gavin Newsom. I especially don’t find it hard to believe when for weeks the recall election had been interpreted — reasonably — as a contest between Newsom’s continued governance with something close to majority support, and his replacement by Larry Elder, a conservative talk-radio-show host who was expected to finish with well less than a third of the vote.

None of this means that Newsom is good, or that I would vote for him. Just that the outcome is sort of expected. But, in recent days, anticipating that outcome, Larry Elder has fed the belief that there might be something corrupt about the process, that the election would be stolen from him somehow.

There’s no reason to think this is true. And so there is no reason to say something like this:

I appreciate the position Dave Rubin and other California anti-leftists are in. But a normal way of saying Newsom “controls the entire state machinery while being backed by corporate media and big tech” is to say that he has the power of incumbency, and the support of powerful interests. We shouldn’t conflate the reality of long unfavorable odds with “fixed games” and a stolen election. I may not be able to convince partisans that our fellow citizens are owed the truth. And if I can’t, I’d still argue that partisans — for their own reasons — should not want to remain deluded and in denial about their position.

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