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Can Larry Elder Save California?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The answer to the question posed by the title is “No,” at least not alone, and I suspect Larry Elder would agree. But the hack cliché is that every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and dumping Governor Hairstyle in favor of someone who is not a complete buffoon is a necessary first step.


Word on the street is that Larry Elder is the most likely to win if Question 1 (“Should we dump this idiot Newsom?”) and move on to Question 2 (“Now that we’re rid of that twit, who do we want to foist this thankless job upon?”). Full Disclosure: I know Larry – we talk occasionally, and he was a radio host for Salem, where I often guest for its full-time hosts (I’m the Michael Collin to their Neil Armstrongs and Buzz Aldrins). 

The Democrats thought they were smart, and among their antics (like moving up the recall election to mid-September thinking it would help them but instead planting it right inside the Delta wave) was not entering any big-name Democrat for Question 2. The threat to the Dem-curious voters of Cali is simple – save Gavin’s gonads, or get stuck with a Republican. Of course, when these loyal donkey voters look out their kitchen window and see some homeless degenerate that Newsom let out of stir dropping trou to take care of business on the sidewalk, their anti-GOP inclinations might be sorely tested.

Besides Larry, there are several other GOP candidates on Question 2. I’ve had good friends recommend his main competitor, Kevin Falcouner, who has commandeered the moderate lane; other good friends worry that he’s too moderate. Of course, even a moderate conservative in California is practically Genghis Khan compared to the pinkos in power. There’s also young Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who looks 12 and is unlikely to win, but has a bright future here. Bored rich guy John Cox stuffs my email in-box with press releases about appearing with a live bear and a giant ball of trash; like The Athlete Formerly Known As Bruce Jenner, his novelty act got tiresome quickly. 


Saving California is serious business, and if we are going to do it, we need serious people.

And a serious analysis shows that a Larry Elder victory would not do it alone. He knows that it’s just a start. The Dems have a supermajority, but he would have the bully pulpit and the ability to make and repeal executive orders. Moreover, he could demonstrate – as The Impregnator failed to – that Republicans are not doomed to failure. A Republican, serving maturely and professionally, could undo some damage but also help out the brand immeasurably.

That, in turn, could set the stage for the real task, the unglamorous grunt work that is necessary to turn the Golden State from grody back to golden. First, we need to revitalize the state GOP. The people are very nice, but every time I show up to a California Republican event, I’m usually among the youngest and most ethnic. It needs to expand and become relevant to many more Californians. You can’t have a viable party without a functioning party apparatus, and we don’t have that right now. 

The second challenge is that those conservatives who have not left (there’s this myth that all the California expats moving to Texas and Idaho and such are libs – no, most are patriots) are demoralized. We need to re-activate them. The guy who deserves credit for jump-starting that process is the great Ric Grenell. He could have run for governor himself. He might have won too, but he chose the arguably harder gig, and the one that might have the greatest long-term impact. His Fix California organization has used Stacey Abrams’ strategy in Georgia and gone out and identified 1.3 million – that’s million – California conservatives who sit out elections because they believe they can’t possibly win. And that’s just after an analysis of a few counties. 


Motivate them and game-on! We saw California voters sweep Republicans back into lost House seats in 2020 despite the fact that Trump was as popular here as toe fungus. With the myriad disasters unfolding thanks to President * and California’s own contribution to the decline and fall of western civilization, Kamala Harris, 2022 promises to be amazing. 

But if Larry Elder wins in September he still has to win again then for a full four-year term. Can it be done? Can he do it? I wanted to know, so I texted him and asked. Here’s what he said:

“People ask what is your experience? My response? Look at Gavin Newsom‘s experience. Elected twice mayor of San Francisco, spent eight years lieutenant governor, two years as a governor and look what we have: rising crime, rising homelessness, rising cost of living, and a continued decline in the quality of urban schools, while his own kids enjoyed in school private education. He shut down the state in a more drastic way then did any of the other 49 governors – all while ignoring science—and in the process, destroying at least 1/3 of all small businesses never to be reopened.”

All true, but I think he’s selling himself short when he positions himself as the anti-Gavin. He’s more than that. Larry has decades of experience with policy, he has a compelling life story, and he knows how to communicate. His message, since I started listening to him in the 1990s, has always been that you can succeed if you try. And that’s what Californians desperately need to re-learn.


We are Californians, damn it. I grew up here and came back after Desert Storm because I knew, in my bones, as sure as I knew anything, that I could succeed at whatever I tried because that was the essence of California. And I still love the state I served for decades during its myriad disasters as an officer in the California National Guard (which Larry will command and which is one of the only functional, professional agencies in the state).

We can make California into California again, people. Even you folks outside of California want and need California to be what it once was. And Larry Elder is the critical first step. So, step up.

Conservatives Must Stand Together and Fight. Join Townhall VIPAnd Check Out Last Week's Stream of Kurtiousness, A Total Failure on Every Level. And my podcast, Unredacted.

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