Elder Versus Newsom: A Battle for the Soul of America

Commentary LOS ANGELES—Sunday evening I was standing in an excited crowd at a Long Beach fundraiser for Larry Elder’s California gubernatorial campaign when I received a text with the headline “Gov. Newsom Pivots Recall Speeches To Attack Larry Elder’s Political Opinions.” The article was from the California Globe, a publication I had never heard of, and was dated Aug. 17, ages ago in the whirlwind pace of today’s politics, but it caught my eye because it quoted extensively from Gavin Newsom’s stump speech, which ran in part: “Though we defeated Trump, we didn’t defeat Trumpism. Trumpism is still alive and well, even here in the state of California. If you don’t believe me, just consider the likely person to enter an oath of office, to enter in the governor’s office in just a matter of weeks if we don’t reject this recall.” “Don’t think for a second that this recall is not about all of you. It’s about each and every one of us and the values we hold dear.” I immediately thought of an editor at the Los Angeles Times who, during a Zoom interview with Elder, accused the talk show host of much the same thing, being out of synch with the values of the state. But just what are those California values everyone is supposed to hold so dear Newsom was speaking about? And are they in the process of changing or going back to something from years ago that was lost? In a sense, the current governor and the editor of the state’s most prominent paper are correct, this recall election is about values. But are they the values of a rich class that has, for years and years, sent their kids to private schools while they—at the insistence of all-powerful teachers’ unions—deny poor minority children “school choice” and force them into schools like the one Larry Elder attended years back in South Central, Crenshaw High, from which, just recently, but two percent of students passed a basic math proficiency test? It would be interesting to know what Crenshaw was like when Elder attended compared to today. And now these same supposed progressives want to teach Crenshaw students Critical Race Theory and the concurrent anti-racism, an approach to education likely to bring that two percent to zero. There’s nothing like reverse racism to enlighten the young mind and develop responsible adults, according to Democrat (and Newsom) “values.” Don’t worry about fathers in the home. That’s so 1950s. From their vocal, enthusiastic responses to Elder’s speech, it was clear CRT and the Afghanistan debacle were the two issues most on the minds of the fundraiser crowd Sunday night. The escalating violent crime in the streets in every major California city, not to mention the rest of the country, came in a not-so-distant third with the myriad COVID duplicities, masks (no one there wore one) and the lockdowns just behind. Only twice before in my life have I seen a candidate received with so much excitement and enthusiasm: Trump and Bobby Kennedy, the latter ironic since this Elder event occurred almost simultaneous to the release of Sirhan Sirhan, the man who shot Bobby and one of the first active jihadists on our soil. Before the speech, I had wandered through the crowd, asking people, essentially at random, even though I knew this was a skewed sample, if they thought Elder could actually win. Skewed or not, the answers were astonishingly uniform and direct: “Yes, if they don’t cheat.” I discovered too that I wasn’t the only California ex-pat there, visiting from another state. There were others I met from Tennessee, as well as Texas, Florida, and South Carolina, flown in for the occasion. When, in his speech, Elder mentioned that this was the first time in the history of California that more people were leaving the state than coming in, a woman screamed out “You win and we’ll come back!” The crowd roared. What everyone there seemed to know and clearly Elder himself knew from the content of his speech, his eagerness for the “bully pulpit” to talk about things that are almost never talked about honestly (i.e., race in America), is that this California gubernatorial recall election had morphed into a contest of truly epochal importance, almost the equivalent of a presidential election, even a crucial one, with the soul of the nation literally hanging in the balance. If Elder wins, the people there clearly thought, the door is open to a renewed American freedom. If he loses, the uni-party continues on its merry way, turning the United States, like it or not, into a Chinese fiefdom. It’s that serious, as my old friend Lionel Chetwynd and partner in PJTV’s “Poliwood,” told me at his house the next day. Chetwynd, whose encouragement Elder acknowledges in his stump speech was instrumental in convincing him to run, had been made the candidate’s campaign chairman, and I was interested in his view of how the campaign was progressing. Lionel, after bemoaning the dominance of social media in the life of our country, the pervasive, often dep

Elder Versus Newsom: A Battle for the Soul of America

Commentary

LOS ANGELES—Sunday evening I was standing in an excited crowd at a Long Beach fundraiser for Larry Elder’s California gubernatorial campaign when I received a text with the headline “Gov. Newsom Pivots Recall Speeches To Attack Larry Elder’s Political Opinions.”

The article was from the California Globe, a publication I had never heard of, and was dated Aug. 17, ages ago in the whirlwind pace of today’s politics, but it caught my eye because it quoted extensively from Gavin Newsom’s stump speech, which ran in part:

“Though we defeated Trump, we didn’t defeat Trumpism. Trumpism is still alive and well, even here in the state of California. If you don’t believe me, just consider the likely person to enter an oath of office, to enter in the governor’s office in just a matter of weeks if we don’t reject this recall.”

“Don’t think for a second that this recall is not about all of you. It’s about each and every one of us and the values we hold dear.”

I immediately thought of an editor at the Los Angeles Times who, during a Zoom interview with Elder, accused the talk show host of much the same thing, being out of synch with the values of the state.

But just what are those California values everyone is supposed to hold so dear Newsom was speaking about? And are they in the process of changing or going back to something from years ago that was lost?

In a sense, the current governor and the editor of the state’s most prominent paper are correct, this recall election is about values.

But are they the values of a rich class that has, for years and years, sent their kids to private schools while they—at the insistence of all-powerful teachers’ unions—deny poor minority children “school choice” and force them into schools like the one Larry Elder attended years back in South Central, Crenshaw High, from which, just recently, but two percent of students passed a basic math proficiency test?

It would be interesting to know what Crenshaw was like when Elder attended compared to today.

And now these same supposed progressives want to teach Crenshaw students Critical Race Theory and the concurrent anti-racism, an approach to education likely to bring that two percent to zero.

There’s nothing like reverse racism to enlighten the young mind and develop responsible adults, according to Democrat (and Newsom) “values.” Don’t worry about fathers in the home. That’s so 1950s.

From their vocal, enthusiastic responses to Elder’s speech, it was clear CRT and the Afghanistan debacle were the two issues most on the minds of the fundraiser crowd Sunday night.

The escalating violent crime in the streets in every major California city, not to mention the rest of the country, came in a not-so-distant third with the myriad COVID duplicities, masks (no one there wore one) and the lockdowns just behind.

Only twice before in my life have I seen a candidate received with so much excitement and enthusiasm: Trump and Bobby Kennedy, the latter ironic since this Elder event occurred almost simultaneous to the release of Sirhan Sirhan, the man who shot Bobby and one of the first active jihadists on our soil.

Before the speech, I had wandered through the crowd, asking people, essentially at random, even though I knew this was a skewed sample, if they thought Elder could actually win.

Skewed or not, the answers were astonishingly uniform and direct: “Yes, if they don’t cheat.”

I discovered too that I wasn’t the only California ex-pat there, visiting from another state. There were others I met from Tennessee, as well as Texas, Florida, and South Carolina, flown in for the occasion.

When, in his speech, Elder mentioned that this was the first time in the history of California that more people were leaving the state than coming in, a woman screamed out “You win and we’ll come back!”

The crowd roared.

What everyone there seemed to know and clearly Elder himself knew from the content of his speech, his eagerness for the “bully pulpit” to talk about things that are almost never talked about honestly (i.e., race in America), is that this California gubernatorial recall election had morphed into a contest of truly epochal importance, almost the equivalent of a presidential election, even a crucial one, with the soul of the nation literally hanging in the balance.

If Elder wins, the people there clearly thought, the door is open to a renewed American freedom. If he loses, the uni-party continues on its merry way, turning the United States, like it or not, into a Chinese fiefdom.

It’s that serious, as my old friend Lionel Chetwynd and partner in PJTV’s “Poliwood,” told me at his house the next day. Chetwynd, whose encouragement Elder acknowledges in his stump speech was instrumental in convincing him to run, had been made the candidate’s campaign chairman, and I was interested in his view of how the campaign was progressing.

Lionel, after bemoaning the dominance of social media in the life of our country, the pervasive, often depressing, alienation that it has created among our citizens, especially among the young, turned to what it was about Elder’s campaign that inspired him on a human level.

“People are now finding each other through Larry’s candidacy and rediscovering the power the Founders put in their hands. We don’t have to be victims of the bureaucratic state. If we succeed, the impact will be global.”

“Larry is fighting our Dunkirk. If he can win, we can live to fight another day.”

I’ll leave it at that—except to remind readers who don’t know that Larry Elder is a contributor to Epoch TV.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


Roger L. Simon

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times. His most recent books are “The GOAT” (fiction) and “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (nonfiction). He can be found on Parler as @rogerlsimon.