Sen. Bernie Sanders blasted the effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom in a public broadside that could rally progressive opposition to the effort.
“Right-wing Republicans in CA are trying to recall @GavinNewsom for the crime of telling people to wear masks and for listening to scientists during COVID. Extremist Republicans have done enough to undermine democracy already. We must all unite to oppose the recall in California,” the Vermont senator and progressive standard-bearer tweeted to his 15 million followers.
Why this matters: Sanders retains a large and loyal following in Democratic-controlled California. He bested President Joe Biden during last year’s Democratic primary, drawing more than two million votes.
With an effort to recall Newsom looking increasingly likely to qualify, Sanders’ input could galvanize liberal opposition and help unify the left — including sending a message to liberal Democrats who might consider jumping into the recall.
The background: Recall organizers have just over a week to gather nearly 1.5 million valid signatures, and they say they have already collected almost 2 million. That would likely be enough to trigger a recall given the high validity rate of signatures submitted so far.
As the recall has become an increasingly concrete threat, it has also taken on national dimensions. The Republican National Committee has given money to qualify it while the Biden administration has publicly opposed it.
What’s next: Multiple Republicans have already declared they are running, but the big unanswered question is whether a Democrat — or Democrats — would jump in as a backstop or as a way to pressure Newsom to back more liberal policies. Sanders’ message could discourage Democrats from running against Newsom from the left.