LOS ANGELES – Campaigning together on Monday, President Biden and Governor Gavin Newsom celebrated California, the nation’s most diverse state, as a powerful example of multiracial democracy.
On the other side of the aisle, issues of race and diversity alike are at the core of the message being put to voters by Republican radio host Larry Elder, the leading contender to replace Mr. Newsom.
His message is that the United States conquered racism long ago.
Mr Elder’s campaign election kicked off on Monday in Monterey Park, a city in eastern Los Angeles County that is predominantly Asian American and has a large Latino population, that seemed intended to celebrate diversity. But Mr Elder, who is Black, also used the visit to argue that systemic racism, which he called a “lie”, no longer exists in America.
Former Monterey Park mayor Betty Choo told Mr Elder’s supporters: “No matter what language we speak, what color we share, even what political strip we brag about.” “If it’s an ‘R’, a ‘D’, or ‘state decline,’ the city has long stood for anti-hatred and bringing people together.”
Ms. Chu said that Mr. Elder’s success as a columnist and radio host, and the fact that he attended public schools and rose to prominence from south central Los Angeles, were evidence that “skin color can hold you back.” doesn’t keep.”
For many supporters of Mr Elder, particularly conservative white voters, who say they are tired of hearing about systemic racism following last year’s social unrest following the killing of George Floyd, the message resonates.
Stacey Hallam, 47, a supporter of Mr Elder, who attended his rally on Monday, said she loves the diversity of where she lives, but added that “just because we’re white, we matter too.”
She continued: “I’m so tired of the racism thing. We are done with racism. I’m not privileged, let me tell you.”
Mr Elder has often sought to capture issues of race by describing his policies that would benefit people of color.
On the issue of private versus public education, he has attacked Democrats such as Mr Newsom for sending their children to private school while opposing charter schools and other forms of private or semi-private education. Mr Elder said such moves leave public schools to fail their black and brown students.
“So the thing they fear is Larry Elder, from Hood, who attends a public school, is going to strangle the Democrats on black and brown parents, especially the issue of school choice. But,” he said at the rally on Monday.