So here we are, two and a half weeks before the votes are counted on the Recall To End All Recalls (or so many of us hope) and look who’s shot into the “lead” among the potential replacements. Why it’s the self proclaimed “Sage From South Central” Larry Elder.
And America says “Who?”
That’s okay, most of California is saying the same thing.
Well let me tell you a few things about Larry the Elder and I’m gonna make this promise right now. Everything I tell you will be the truth no matter how bizarre it might sound. And trust me, a whole lot of this is gonna sound bizarre.
We’ll start with the basics. Larry Elder is a conservative radio talk show provocateur. Like most of his ilk his schtick is to make outrageous statements “just to stir the pot” as they like to say when having to backpedal from one of those statements. He is the protégé of Dennis Prager of Prager University infamy if you are interested in his bonifides.
Elder grew up in the South Central Los Angeles area in the 1960’s and 70s. Contrary to the image that might engender in your mind, South Central at that time was a working class neighborhood of small individual homes occupied by working class families. Frankly it still is. Shame what one riot caused by police brutality can do for a neighborhood’s image. His father was a janitor who saved his money and eventually opened a diner in the neighborhood. The son went to school and made it to Brown University for undergrad work and then on to the University of Michigan where he got his law degree. After a stint practicing law he discovered the world of media, working his way up from part time fill in host on local TV to eventually having his own syndicated megaphone coast to coast.
As they used to say (and he probably would still say) he’s a credit to his race.
Did I mention that he’s black?
Sigh, we’ve gone from the late great Tom Bradley potentially being the first black governor of California to a guy whose political philosophy seems to be “If a liberal was ever for it then I’m against it” regardless of the public harm it would do.
So he’s come out and said his first act in office would be to rescind mask mandates and vaccination requirements. At this point unfortunately we have to be expecting that from any conservative politician because you know “freedumb man ™” But this is nothing new for Elder. He also believes that second hand smoke can’t cause cancer and that while the climate may be changing, humans aren’t responsible for it.
His campaign slogan outta be “Life, it ain’t no big thing”.
All those are just the beginning. Certainly in the top three of concerns for Californians is homelessness. The causes of homelessness are way too varied to go into here, but the bottom line is what are we going to do about alleviating it. Many suggestions, many plans, but none involve gutting environmental protections to allow builders to erect huge apartment complexes on protected wetlands. That is until Larry Elder came along because that is the sum total of his plan to cut down on people living on the streets. Mental health, drug treatment, not important and besides, no one makes REAL money off that. Just gotta get rid of all those pesky rules and regulations. Build baby build. We could call them Elder Hostiles.
That last joke courtesy of El Grand Hefe de First Draft, Adrastos.
But at least it shows me who the money is behind him. California Building Industry Association come on down!
And of course he stands behind all the standard conservative tropes. Overturn Roe v. Wade, do away with public sector trade unions (he says 15,000 California public school teachers are incompetent and should be fired), school vouchers for all (though he went to public school himself), and of course Donald Trump was the greatest president* the country has ever had.
So how did he become the front runner? Blame the recall election rules. They make the Electoral College look like a sensible way to elect a president. While the recall has to reach fifty percent plus one to be enacted, the replacement winner is just the person who gets the most votes of the four dozen people who got their names on the ballot. As the New York Times put it
Constitutional scholars say Mr. Elder’s sudden ascent is an example of all that is wrong with the recall process, which requires a majority to recall a governor but only a plurality of votes for the replacement candidate to win. With 46 challengers on the ballot, 49.9 percent of the electorate could vote to keep Mr. Newsom, and he could still lose to a replacement who is supported by only a tiny sliver of voters. Polls show a rout by Mr. Newsom among all Californians but a far tighter race among likely voters, 20 percent of whom favor Mr. Elder.
I will add in that this is the only way conservatives could win a statewide election these days. Livin’ Large Larry runs against Newsom in a regular election and he loses even worse than John Cox did three years ago (70%-30%). A special election where all he has to do is get more votes than the 45 other non-entities on the ballot? Clay Davis would say it best.
And speaking of elections and their rules, Larry the Litigator had been thrown off the ballot earlier this year because he refused to show all his tax returns as required by state law. He only got back on because, and I’m not making this up, he was able to convince the judge that though it was required for a regular election for governor, this was just a recall and not a gubernatorial election and therefore the law didn’t apply.
Holy parsing every word in the statute Batman.
Yes, but that’s not the only legal battle Larry the Letch has been fighting. You might have heard that his former girlfriend Alexandra Datig, who was also his radio producer (can you say workplace fraternization — I know you can), charged that he pulled a gun on her during an argument. While stoned out of his gourd on marijuana. He has not denied this happened. But then again he’s always seen himself as a “playa”, hobnobbing at the Playboy Mansion and claiming
“I introduced Snoop Dogg to the evil weed… I taught him everything he knows…I’m the one who made him what he is, I can’t believe he turned his back on me, motherfucker.”
Right. I can’t say for sure, but it’s pretty likely Snoop came out of the womb with a fattie between his lips. Oh and that former girlfriend Alexandra Datig? If the name sounds familiar it’s because she was the main prosecution witness against Heidi Fleiss in her pandering trial all those years ago. Datig had all the inside dope because she once upon a time was a Fleiss girl making upwards of $10,000 a day as an escort.
Ah the company you keep.
Allow me to allow the man a chance to hang himself from his own petard:
“Glass ceiling? Ha! What glass ceiling? Women, women exaggerate the problem of sexism”
“Blacks exaggerate the significance of racism”
“Medicare should be abolished”
And if these weren’t bad enough keep in mind he said all that in a 15 second commercial for his radio show. CNN goes on to report
He has mocked premenstrual syndrome, known as PMS, calling it “Punish My Spouse (or Significant Other).” He prominently promoted on his webpage a 1950s textbook on “how to be a good wife” that said women should “have dinner ready” and told them, “Don’t complain.” He reposted an article on his website comparing single mothers on welfare to stray cats.
And while I don’t want to be accused of piling on, he also believes the minimum wage should be $0, women should be willing to put up with crude behavior in the workplace, and all the minor felonies reclassified as misdemeanors via a statewide proposition should return to being felonies. Just call him Lock ‘Em Up Larry.
Larry Elder is a fool, a clown, a media monster of his own creation. But just like any monster if we are not careful he will end up being unleashed on an unsuspecting public. And if you think he would stop at being governor of California let me just say that was what most people thought about Ronald Reagan.
In other words America, he’s our trouble now, but he could be your trouble very soon.