California Democrats see backlash after recall ‘coup’ claims

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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Republicans in California on Wednesday seized on a failed attempt by Democrats to link Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed recall to the insurgency on the U.S. Capitol, portraying it as a dangerous act of desperation by the Democrats and new evidence the governor must leave.

The criticism came as the Orange County Republican Party launched a new round of fundraising calls for the recall, saying Democrats were trying to ignite political tensions at a time of national conflict.

“There is nothing more democratic than an election,” the party said in a statement, defending the proposed recall which could take place later this year.

A day earlier, state Democratic Party Chairman Rusty Hicks and a group of elected Democrats claimed the recall effort was a “coup” to suppress Newsom, led by extremists from the extreme right, including white supremacists and neo-Nazis. However, they did not provide any evidence to support the claims.

The dispersion of claims and inflammatory comments even drew criticism from his fellow Democrats.

In the twilight of President Donald Trump’s administration, and following his unsubstantiated allegations of widespread electoral fraud, “we all have a responsibility to re-commit to the truth and the facts,” said Roy Behr, a Democratic strategist who has worked for California politicians, including the former US Senator. Barbara Boxer.

“While the other side has made it clear that facts and reality are irrelevant to their arguments, I think our side can be effective without having to resort to this,” Behr said. “There are so many good reasons to oppose the recall, they don’t need to resort to this particular argument.”

Samantha Corbin, Democrat and influential state government lobbyist, wrote on Twitter that she was “extremely disappointed and disturbed” to see the party use such language, especially in times of national crisis and threats of violence, including on the Capitol Hill in Sacramento.

“Tying a legal and constitutionally appropriate (California) recall attempt to the violent insurgency on the United States Capitol and the ongoing coup attempt is worse than a bad public relations call. It is irresponsible, will breed division and perpetuate ignorance, ”she wrote.

It appeared the Democrats were trying to take advantage of the national attention on Washington, but the event also signaled that the party recognized the recall as a legitimate – perhaps even inevitable – threat to the governor.

The organizers of the recall say they collected over 1.1 million of the nearly 1.5 million petition signatures needed to put the recall on the ballot, and they have until mid-March to meet the required threshold .

Newsom was elected in a landslide in the strongly Democratic state in 2018, but has seen his fortunes deteriorate, as many residents tire of long-standing coronavirus restrictions that have closed schools and homes. companies as he faces the fallout from a massive unemployment benefit fraud scandal.

He has become the center of public outrage after he was caught dining with friends at a lavish restaurant – sitting closely together and without a mask – after telling residents of the state to reject social gatherings and stay at home to avoid the risk of spreading the virus.

Unlike a coup d’état, usually a violent and illegal attempt to seize power, recall elections are permitted by state law. Then-Democratic governor Gray Davis was ousted in a recall election in 2003 and replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Jack Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College, said Democrats were trying to put an extremist label on the recall at a time when the …

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