Pollak: In Silence, Gavin Newsom is Complicit in Racist Attacks on Larry Elder

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom speaks during election night event on November 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Newsom defeated Republican Gubernatorial candidate John Cox. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) has been silent about racist attacks against his most prominent political rival, Larry Elder (R).

He may survive the Sep. 14 recall; he may even win re-election in what is effectively a one-party state. But he will never live down the scorched-earth campaign in which he has condoned racist attacks against his most prominent challenger, conservative radio host Larry Elder (R), and failed even to condemn racist violence committed against him this week.

For months, the establishment media in the state, notably the Los Angeles Times, have drawn attention to Elder’s race in the ugliest possible way. The Times has run columns under several different authors calling Elder the “Black face of white supremacy.” They have not attacked him for his own views; they have cast him as a figurehead, a puppet who is unable to think for himself and who is the mere tool of white racists. Newsom has not objected, nor have fellow Democrats.

Earlier this summer, Politico published an article based on claims by Elder’s ex-fiancée, Alexandra Datig, that he had shown her a loaded gun. The newspaper claimed he had “brandished a gun at her,” though that went beyond what even Datig had claimed.

Later coverage by the Times and other outlets played up the theme of a white woman who felt afraid of a black man with a gun and with allegedly voracious sexual appetites. As her allegations came under scrutiny, Datig belatedly filed charges with police, earning widespread media coverage from CNN, among others. When prosecutors declined to pursue Datig’s allegations, the media barely noticed. Nor did Newsom, who benefited from the smears.

Newsom could have spoken out against any of this, at any time. He chose to remain silent — even when the racist smears were used directly in front of him, at his own campaign events. At a get-out-the-vote event this week in Crenshaw, Newsom declined to comment when Black Lives Matter leader Melina Abdulla repeated the claim: “Larry Elder is a Black face on white supremacy.”

On Wednesday, Elder and his security detail were physically attacked as the candidate visited Venice, in Los Angeles. One of the assailants was a white woman wearing a gorilla mask. Again, Newsom remained silent.

Larry Elder in Venice (Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty)

Conservative talk show host and gubernatorial recall candidate Larry Elder (C), flanked by supporters, security and media, walks along streets lined with tents of unhoused people, in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, September 8, 2021 ahead of the special recall election. – The recall election, which will be held on September 14, 2021, asks voters to respond two questions: whether Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democratic, should be recalled from the office of governor, and who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. Forty-six candidates, including nine Democrats and 24 Republicans, are looking to take Newsom’s place as the governmental leader of California. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Gorilla mask Larry Elder attacker (Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty)

A woman wearing a gorilla mask follows conservative talk show host and gubernatorial recall candidate Larry Elder (L) (back to camera) as he walks along streets lined with tents of unhoused people, in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, September 8, 2021 ahead of the special recall election. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

By his own standard, which he applied to President Donald Trump after Charlottesville, Newsom is guilty of racism.

And the rest of the left is silent, too. That is partly because of the inherent racism of progressive ideology, which presumes black people can only have one legitimate political opinion. It is also because Democrats know that Newsom is in trouble, and they worry that if they break ranks, he will lose.

Newsom himself has not spoken out, presumably because he approves of the attacks, or has such a low opinion of his political base that he is afraid to oppose their racist prejudices. He spoke out Wednesday against allegedly racist remarks by one of the recall leaders — who once said facetiously in a Facebook post that the government should consider microchipping illegal aliens — but not against the racism directed today at Elder.

The left is giving Newsom a pass now, because they are afraid of what an Elder victory might mean — for Democrats, and for the left in general.

But if Newsom ever tries to run for higher office, he has left a long and ignoble record of tolerance for racist language and racial violence that any Democratic rival could use against him. He has thrown aside his integrity and his credibility as he clings to his office. He may not yet pay the price, but there are many who will not forget.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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