The vice president faced some demonstrators as she campaigned for California's embattled Democratic governor


California Gov. Gavin Newsom has been doing everything he can to persuade women to vote "no" on the Republican effort to oust him in Tuesday's recall election, and in Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday he got his most high-profile surrogate to date to help deliver that message.

The former California senator, who remains enormously popular among Democratic women and progressive voters of color, argued that the national consequences of this election could be huge if Newsom is replaced by a Republican.
"You have to understand that this recall campaign is about California, and it's about a whole lot more," Harris said, trying to nationalize the race by voicing her outrage about the conservative agenda, particularly Texas' restrictive abortion law that went into effect last week.
    In her biggest political event since she and President Joe Biden won the 2020 election, Wednesday's rally also gave the vice president the chance to test-drive a midterm election message for the White House, following weeks of tumult for the administration and some early criticism of her performance.
    She repeatedly denounced the efforts of GOP-controlled legislatures curtailing voting and abortion rights, pointing to "what's happening in Texas, what's happening in Georgia, what's happening around our country with these policies that are attacking women's rights, reproductive rights and voting rights, workers' rights. They think if they can win in California, they can do this anywhere."
    For Newsom, this race is all about turnout, not persuasion, and he has long had a strong advantage among women. With Harris' help Wednesday, his team is trying to get Democratic women to return their ballots in droves to maintain the strong advantage they are already seeing in the partisan registration of the more than 6.4 million pre-Election Day ballots cast so far.
    In the face of concerns about Democratic apathy, nationalizing the race has been a key Newsom strategy, with Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota carrying that message when they campaigned with him last weekend.
    Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder, the leading GOP candidate to replace him, has given Newsom a distinct foil in making that nationalized argument. The hope among Newsom allies is that registered Democratic voters, who outnumber GOP voters by nearly 2 to 1 in the state, will be turned off by Elder's positions and will return their ballots, making up for the enthusiasm advantage Republicans have enjoyed in this contest.
    Newsom delved into Elder's past derogatory comments about women on Wednesday, including his denial that there is a glass ceiling -- and said Harris would be surprised to hear those views: "He doesn't believe there's a glass ceiling -- tell that to Kamala Harris, who did shatter the glass ceiling for vice president," Newsom said.
    The governor asked the crowd to imagine what would have happened when Harris vacated her US Senate seat to join the Biden administration -- a nod to the power he had, as governor, to replace her with another Democrat in the Senate.
    "What kind of judges would Larry Elder appoint as Governor of California? Who would he have appointed 10 months ago to replace Kamala Harris when she became vice president? What would that have done in Washington DC today? Would there have been (a) stimulus? Would there be Majority Leader Chuck Schumer? Think of the consequences, California. That's what's at stake."

    Social media posts by Sacramento-based reporter Ashley Zavala, a contributor to FOX 40 and other stations, showed some of the demonstrators.

    "Free, free Afghanistan!" the group chants in one video.

    In another post, demonstrator Willy Moosayar identifies himself as an Afghan-American whose parents fled the Taliban and came to the U.S. He criticizes Harris for not speaking out about what he describes as a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

    He said many Afghan refugees now in the U.S. feel guilt about being safe here while other Afghans who remained behind face the Taliban’s rule.

    "We have to fight for them, we have to be their voices," Moosayar says.

    He said the group was protesting Afghan women’s loss of rights under the Taliban as well as reports of Taliban opponents facing retribution from the militant group, he said.

    The Republican National Committee also targeted Harris for campaigning in California amid the Afghanistan crisis. One ad posted on a mobile billboard said, "Californians are stranded in Afghanistan. Where’s Kamala? Campaigning in California."

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