Recall Recap: Look Out Kamala, Here Comes Gavin Newsom


BUCK: First, we have to make some sense of the situation here in California where Republican Larry Elder is not, in fact, unfortunately, going to be the next governor. Governor Gavin Newsom, the oleaginous Democrat of the state of California —

CLAY: Look at you, SAT word!

BUCK: You like that one? I thought you’d like that.

CLAY: What percentage of our audience knows that word?

BUCK: A lot. Everybody knows “oleaginous.” It’s a great word.

CLAY: (chuckling)

BUCK: The point here being, Mr. Clay, that he is an oily used car salesman individual who somehow — actually, it’s not surprising. With millions and millions of dollars raised and spent with the entire Democratic power apparatus behind him deploying Joe Biden, deploying Barack Obama.

The fact that California is turning into increasingly an unlivable hellscape in the major cities. There is crime, there is vagrancy, there are brownouts, there are wildfires, there are all these things; all levels of government mismanaged. But if you tell your base, if you tell registered Democrats the state of California Trumpism or Trump himself in some manifestation is on the ballot, you get a replay — which is what it looks like we have — of the 2020 election in the state of California. What do you see from the data?

CLAY: So, we haven’t seen the full numbers that are out, right? The numbers I’m looking at are about 70% are in, but it looks almost identical to what happened in the 2020 presidential election, which would suggest that nothing has really changed in California and that people are still substantially wedded to whatever belief they had in 2020; it hasn’t changed as we move into 2021.

What I would say in general is California, to me, is a sign of what happens when you believe that your side is always right. And I understand that we’re in a tribal era and everybody just automatically… It doesn’t matter what the situation is. We’ll talk about this, I’m certain, with General Milley. What I try to do is apply consistent logic to stories, and that doesn’t happen very much, right?

And that’s why I think Republicans right now do a better job of applying logic to stories and moving on reason as opposed to emotion. But they were able to tug on those emotional heartstrings of Donald Trump as the bogeyman that’s always underneath the bed for Democrats, that they are able to turn him into a way to get people, a motivator to get people out to vote.

What’s challenging, I think, in general is — and this is what we’ve talked about a lot on this show, Buck — how do you break through, and what does a breakthrough look like? And maybe the answer is gonna be 2022 is gonna be a lot like 2016 and 2018 and 2020 and we’re basically just in such of a 50-50 America that it’s almost impossible for somebody to get to 55-45, right? God forbid, 60-40.

And so that’s what I keep waiting for is when logic and truth and sanity is going to break out and we’re going to have such a win that one of the political parties has to go look at itself in the mirror and say, “Okay, it’s time to adjust.” Let me explain what I mean by that. Defeat is oftentimes clarifying, right? Anybody who’s ever played a sport, if you put out your best game plan and you get your ass kicked, it’s maybe a sign that your best game plan wasn’t the right one.

And so Democrats’ game plan is “everything is racist” right now. That’s their entire game plan. That’s what they ran on in 2016. That’s what they doubled down on in 2020. It’s identity politics. It’s cancel culture. It’s that world that they have created. And so far, they haven’t gotten their teeth kicked in in an election where they’ve had to say, “Hey, you know what? This is not a message that resonates in America,” and similarly the Democrats —

BUCK: They’re going in the opposite direction now. They’re saying that this actually proves everything that Gavin Newsom did was correct, that everything that Gavin Newsom has instituted from the covid vaccines and from everything that’s happening. This was actually, instead of a moment here where we say, “Wow. Look at Californians finally,” and some level, this is what you were alluding to earlier in the week when the numbers were quite different from what they’re looking to be.

“Wow. They actually can pay attention to results and not just ideological political tribalism.” What we actually have here is, no, they’ll forget about the hypocrisy of Newsom at French Laundry. They’ll decide that the brownouts and the vagrancy and the broad daylight shoplifting without a care in the world in San Francisco and Los Angeles, that doesn’t matter as much as Orange Man Bad, even though Orange Man — in this case Trump, of course — isn’t on the ballot, isn’t in office, and has nothing to do any of this, but they can just get the base motivated to turn out in very similar numbers by percentage to what we saw in 2020.

CLAY: That’s exactly what I was gonna say, in many ways, is that Democrats are going to argue, “Trumpism lost again. The Republican Party, as long as it stays committed to Donald Trump, is impossible of winning on a major level.” And both sides, I think, are able to look at the result of 2020 and argue, “Hey, if we just tweak things a little bit more, we would have won by a substantial margin,” and so you’re basically setting up — and we’ll see what happens — in 2022, where there’s a large expectation that so many people are so dug in, to use your Maginot Line theory, right?

BUCK: Oui, monsieur.

CLAY: We just basically have both sides in their readouts set up in their bunkers.

BUCK: There was no real ground game here against liberalism in California, and now, of course, the narrative — and we have here Gavin Newsom saying what his… I mean, look… (laughing) This guy, Gavin Newsom, he’s so shameless that there’s almost a level of respect, right? This is the guy that, you know, would buy the car off of you for half what you paid it and then try to sell it back to you for twice. I mean, it doesn’t matter right? He’ll say whatever, do whatever.

CLAY: That’s great way to describe him.

BUCK: Here he is talking about his assessment of what went on here.

NEWSOM: “No” it’s not the only thing that was expressed tonight. Uh, I want to focus on what we said “yes” to as a state. We said “yes” to science. We said “yes” to vaccines. We said “yes” to ending this pandemic. We said “yes” to people’s right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression. We said “yes” to women’s fundamental constitutional right to decide for herself what she does with her body, her fate and future. We said “yes” to Diversity. We said “yes” to inclusion. We said “yes” to pluralism. We said “yes” to all those things that we hold dear as Californians and, I would argue, as Americans.

BUCK: Who says “no” to science, by the way?

CLAY: Well, Democrats.

BUCK: This is a straw man argument.

CLAY: The people who are making us wear masks. The people who are insisting that you can’t have natural immunity. I mean, there’s a large amount of science that Democrats are saying “no” to, I would argue. But that sounds to me, Buck… If I’m Kamala Harris, my antennae are going up. That doesn’t sound like a “Hey, I won a recall election.” That sounds like a “Hey, this is why I need to the president of the United States,” right? Because we’ve talked about what is going to happen, unless they try to — ’cause this is another takeaway here.

BUCK: You love the comeback story, man. Whether it’s Cuomo or now Newsom, you think they go the distance.

CLAY: I just think that when we look at 2024, I don’t think that they can drag — I keep using an example, because I think it’s an accurate, you know, sort of pop culture reference —

BUCK: How many in audience have seen Weekend at Bernie’s? I hope everyone gets the point. It’s an absurd movie. It is like the most absurd movie of all time. There’s a guy… There’s like some finance bros in the eighties who want to go to like a guy’s house?

CLAY: Look up the Wikipedia for Weekend at Bernie’s, and I’ll give a perfect plot synopsis for people out there who haven’t seen it. Basically, a dead man is really has a really amazing house and I think he’s like the uncle of these guys, and in order to be able to have the lifestyle that they want, they take the dead body around and pretend that Bernie is still alive.

BUCK: It’s one of the most absurd movies ever made, actually, when you think about it.

CLAY: Yes. And then as absurd as Weekend at Bernie’s 1 was, they made Weekend at Bernie’s 2!

BUCK: I was unaware of that.

CLAY: Oh, yeah. Weekend at Bernie’s 2 came out and that is where… So Biden getting elected is the Democrat version of Weekend at Bernie’s, right? They had to just drag him around; they got him across the finish line. Now they’re gonna try Weekend at Bernie’s 2. I don’t even think that’s gonna work. So there’s going to be somebody who runs, right? And we know this, that’s different, I think, than Joe Biden, very likely.

So Kamala Harris is going to be the presumptive favorite because it’s racist and sexist if she’s not the nominee based on the Democratic platform right now. But when I hear that Gavin Newsom argument, it doesn’t sound like an argument about the recall. It’s a forward-thinking argument for the validation of all of his policies in California writ large in America. I’m wondering if he’s gonna try to run.

BUCK: Now he also becomes, unfortunately, there’s a little bit of a snap-back here, if you will, because the right… Remember in The Wire, right? If you come at the king, you must not miss, right?

CLAY: Yeah.

BUCK: We came at Newsom here, the Republicans did, and another’s in California, and they missed, and so now what ends up happening — politically speaking of course.

CLAY: Yes.

BUCK: Now what ends up happening, Clay, is he turns around and says, “I am actually the one who stood athwart the anti-science Republican effort to tear down the Fauciite edifice that we need to build. I’m the one that people need to rally around.” He is going to position himself now as the left’s Ron DeSantis. Watch it happen.

CLAY: Yes. I think that’s right.

BUCK: ‘Cause that’s the move, right? You’re talking about who knows what’s gonna happen in four-years. Who knows where we’re gonna be in 2024. But for right now, think of all the political capital he can gather by becoming the leader of the Democrat governors during the pandemic now and say, “I even withstood not just the pandemic, but those underhanded Trumpist attempts to take me out of office when I was saving us.” I could write the PR bull crap that they’re gonna be putting out there. I don’t want help him too much.

CLAY: There’s no Cuomo now to try to take away the attention. He is the standard-bearer for the left-wing response to covid.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

CLAY: The Gavin Newsom recall election attempt failed, and you knew what was gonna happen when it fails — and we were just talking about this. Gavin Newsom then makes a play to become the standard-bearer of his party, especially in the wake now of Cuomo being off the stage. Gavin Newsom didn’t just say that he was avoiding being recalled; he also used it as an opportunity to attack Donald Trump and “the big lie.” Here is Gavin Newsom:

NEWSOM: (snickering) Democracy is not a football. You don’t throw it around. It’s more like a — I don’t know — antique vase. You can drop it and smash it in a million different pieces, and that’s what we’re capable of doing (snickers) if we don’t stand up to meet the moment and push back. I said this many, many times on the campaign trail.

You know, we may have defeated Trump, but Trumpism is not dead in this country. The big lie, January 6th insurrection, all the voting-suppression efforts that are happening all across this country, what’s happening, the assaults on fundamental rights, constitutionally protected rights of women and girls. It’s a remarkable moment in our nation’s history.

CLAY: That is Gavin Newsom. Look out, Kamala Harris! He’s coming for your spot as the presumptive nominee. Would he have the gumption to challenge her after she is also, obviously, a Californian and spent a lot of time campaigning for him? Do you think he’d do it, Buck?

BUCK: You’d have to say, “Who would the Democrat apparatus go for? Who would they rather have?” I think there’s a very clear recognition even among — and I’m talking about the Democrats that I know. I have Democrat friends, people in our business that are on the left, and I’m talk to them from time to time. I think they know that originally, they believed Kamala Harris would, if put in this spot… Okay, she couldn’t get people to vote for her, but if you put her in the vice president role, it’s an easy job.

CLAY: Yeah.

BUCK: And I think there’s some real remorse, if you will, from those — from the Biden campaign, the handlers around him — that put her in that position. Look. Gavin Newsom, as much as it pains me to say this, is a more talented politician than Kamala Harris is. I think that’s quite clear. I think he’s a savvier guy, and so I gotta feel like they’d go… Remember, they jumped over Biden to give it to Hillary. Biden was the VP for eight years. So there’s precedent here.

CLAY: The difference is — and I think it’s a fascinating discussion — the Democratic Party has leaned in even more to race and sex identity.

BUCK: Yeah, but look who the president is, right?

CLAY: Oh, I know.

BUCK: You have the oldest white guy on the planet, basically. That’s who actually the president is.

CLAY: That’s who Democrats actually supported. They didn’t like Kamala Harris. But I do think that that speech that we played a couple clips from for you from Gavin Newsom is what his campaign will be like if he decides to run.


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