Democrats Fear Turnout Flop For Newsom Recall Election Because Trump Is Out Of The Picture

Gavin Newsom. Photo by Justin Sullivan. Getty Images.

Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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Now that former President Donald Trump is out of office, Democrats may struggle to motivate their base to show up to the polls for California’s gubernatorial recall election, Politico reported Monday.

Democrats showed up in record numbers in 2018 to vote for Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom when Trump was in office, according to Politico. However, a recent CBS News-YouGov poll found that those who voted for then-presidential candidate Joe Biden were less likely than Trump supporters to be closely following the recall election and feel less motivated to vote.

Moreover, registered Democrats and independent voters were about 30% less likely than Republicans to vote in the election, according to a Berkeley-IGS survey.

“I think he pulls it out,” Antonio Villaraigosa, the Democratic former mayor of Los Angeles, reportedly said of Newsom. “But it’s going to be close. It shouldn’t be. But it’s going to be very, very close because Republicans are animated, and we’re not.”

“Can Democrats win without having Trump as their foil? This is the challenge,” said Gray Davis, the former California governor who was recalled in 2003, according to Politico. “We’re going to find out pretty soon.” (RELATED: Pelosi Calls Newsom ‘A Great Governor,’ Says Recall Election Is ‘Not Good For Children Or Other Living Things’)

“They want Trump to be on the ballot. That’s the whole thing. That’s the whole premise of the campaign,” said Democratic strategist Darry Sragow, according to Politico. “From the beginning, the fundamental premise of the anti-recall strategy has been that this is a referendum on Donald Trump, not on Gavin Newsom.”

In 2018, Newsom beat his Republican opponent John Cox by 3 million votes as a first-term Democrat and in 2020, Joe Biden beat Trump by about 30 percentage points, according to Politico. Now, the recall is only a few percentage points from passing next month, an incredibly close margin, Politico reported.

Newsom is facing, among others, Republicans Caitlyn Jenner and Larry Elder in the recall election that is scheduled for Sept. 14.