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While California is organizing a referendum on Tuesday on the dismissal of the state’s Democratic governor, Joe Biden called on Monday night at a meeting in the suburbs of Los Angeles, to vote overwhelmingly “no” in the ballot. The US president does not want ultraconservative radio host Larry Elder to become head of state.
Joe Biden on Monday evening called on Californians to vote overwhelmingly “no” to the referendum organized on Tuesday, September 14 and aimed at dismissing their governor, to avoid having in his place a Republican “clone of Donald Trump”.
His first trip as president to the American West was certainly an opportunity for Joe Biden to hammer home his arguments on climate change and his public investment plans but above all, a rarer thing, to descend into the political arena to defend Governor Gavin Newsom and his work.
“The eyes of the nation are on California with the decision you are about to make, which will have a huge impact on California and will be felt across the country. And, it’s no joke, in the whole world “, launched the leader of the Democrats, literally wetting the shirt in the heat of a meeting in Long Beach, south of Los Angeles.
The stakes are indeed high: the most populous American state, California is also the fifth largest economic power in the world.
A last-minute presidential reinforcement
Under the California Constitution, the referendum held on Tuesday allows disgruntled voters to hold a referendum, out of any election, in an attempt to bring down the state boss. 18 years ago, a similar vote allowed Arnold Schwarzenegger to conquer California by bringing down the then Democratic governor.
On paper, Gavin Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco easily elected governor in 2018, and whose term does not end until next year, is not risking much in a democratic state.
But Joe Biden’s last-minute reinforcement shows that the Democratic Party is taking the ballot very seriously, aware that a surprise dismissal is always possible, especially if the turnout turns out to be low.
In such an eventuality, ultra-conservative radio host Larry Elder would replace Gavin Newsom.
“Friends, send a message to the nation”
“He’s the Donald Trump clone. Can you imagine him as governor of the state?” Joe Biden said during a 15-minute speech.
And to raise the specter of anything that would change, according to him, if Larry Elder was in charge, to better encourage Democratic voters to mobilize Tuesday in the polling stations: health and vaccine obligations against the Covid-19, “respect women “and their right to voluntary termination of pregnancy, the fight against climate change that Larry Elder has described in the past as a” lie “, the minimum wage that the Republican candidate wants to see disappear …
“Friends, send a message to the nation (…). Vote to keep Gavin Newsom”, urged Joe Biden, presenting him as a bulwark against “the dark policies, destructive and sources of discord, of Donald Trump”.
Behind this referendum is playing a cleavage that goes far beyond California, between a Democratic electorate who supports the progressive program and the anti-Covid measures of Joe Biden, and a conservative camp which is wary of the interventionist tendencies of the public authorities in any domain: health, economy, education, customs or climate change.
Overcome partisan cleavages
Before Long Beach, Joe Biden had made two stops on Monday devoted to the forest fires devastating the west of the country, first in Idaho to visit a firefighting coordination center, then in the north of the country. California.
“We cannot ignore the reality, which is that these forest fires are boosted by climate change,” said Joe Biden, after flying over in a helicopter the vast areas ravaged by the flames of the Caldor Fire, which has been burning continuously for two month. As of Monday morning, in California alone, more than 13,000 firefighters were fighting on the ground against about fifteen large-scale forest fires.
The president once again called for overcoming partisan divisions to protect the United States and green the American economy by passing projects in Congress whose cumulative amount could approach $ 5,000 billion.
“It is not about red states (color of Republicans) or blue states (color of Democrats). It is about fires, just fires,” he pleaded in Sacramento.
Joe Biden will stop in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday to continue promoting his big investment plans, before returning to Washington.