Fox News personalities appear to be setting up the conspiratorial narrative to explain away Newsom potentially surviving a recall vote.
Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren pushed forth a growing Fox News narrative on Tuesday that California Gov. Gavin Newsom will only survive the California recall by rigging the election, outright claiming that the “only thing” that will save him is “voter fraud.”
Months after former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him culminated in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, Republicans and right-wing media have continued to latch onto baseless election conspiracies to not only justify Trump’s loss but now to preemptively explain away future GOP losses.
With the California recall only a week away and recent polls showing Newsom now enjoys a comfortable double-digit lead, Lahren insisted on Tuesday’s broadcast of Outnumbered that the governor was actually in serious trouble of losing.
“Yes, Gavin Newsom has raised a whole lot of money from teachers’ unions and special interests and tech, but that money is not going to save him,” she declared, before quickly going down the conspiratorial rabbit hole.
“The only thing that will save Gavin Newsom is voter fraud,” the pro-Trump firebrand exclaimed. “So, as they say, stay woke, pay attention to the voter fraud going on in California, because it’s going to have big consequences not only for that state, but for upcoming elections.”
Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder, who is the top-polling Republican candidate in the recall effort, has similarly suggested election fraud will allow Newsom to prevail, pointing to voting machines and programs designed to help disabled voters as potential culprits. (These myths have been thoroughly debunked, of course.)
Lahren then wrapped up her rant by taking a shot at Vice President Kamala Harris, who is scheduled to campaign for Newsom this week. “Every bad idea originates in California, and that just happens to be where Kamala’s from. No coincidence there,” the Fox contributor huffed.
The rest of the panel, which included former Trump spokesperson-turned-Fox-host Kayleigh McEnany and “straight news” anchor Julie Banderas, smiled and laughed along as Lahren explicitly laid the groundwork for a Trumpian claim that California’s governor could only win a rigged election.
But Lahren is not the only Fox star to peddle such a preemptive narrative. Fox News star Tucker Carlson has been warning his viewers for weeks that the election could be fraudulent, suggesting the state will allow non-citizens to vote via mail-in ballots while calling on “outside observers” to verify that Democrats do not steal the election. “That’s not the big lie. That’s the big reality,” Carlson said last month.
The network is currently fighting two defamation lawsuits from voting software firms Dominion and Smartmatic, alleging Fox News pushed bogus claims about the companies rigging the 2020 election. (Fox News has filed a motion to dismiss both suits on First Amendment grounds.)