We already know what Mike Piazza’s politics are, as the Hall of Fame catcher appeared at a rally for Donald Trump last October. We can try to forget about it, and just appreciate the greatness of his career, but Piazza insists on continuing to stan the absolute worst candidates running for office.
Tuesday, a video of Piazza appeared on the Twitter feed of California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder, the man most likely to have run the Golden State (into the ground) if the recall of current governor Gavin Newsom had been successful, and who, like Trump, has threatened not to respect the results of the election. Thankfully he didn’t go through with it.
The whole thing is embarrassing. It starts with Piazza introducing himself, the video hitching, and then Piazza picking his introduction back up. Nobody thought to watch the video and edit out that hiccup before posting it online?
Then, there’s Piazza promising to return to Dodger Stadium if Elder becomes governor, to “thank all the Dodger fans who voted for him.” That would be a pretty short visit, as it’s not like Los Angeles is the hotbed of recall fever. Maybe Piazza would have more luck down the road in Orange County at an Angels game?
Piazza’s big message is that Elder “wants to bring back the California dream” because people have been moving out of the state. While California’s population has grown more slowly than other parts of the country, it still did rise by 6 percent between the 2010 census and 2020. It’s just that the share of the white population is declining, down to 35 percent as Latinos have become the largest ethnic group in the state.
The wrinkle here, the “proof” that this isn’t about assuaging nervous whites like Piazza, is that Elder is Black. As in, “the Black face of white supremacy,” as Erika D. Smith of the Los Angeles Times wrote last month. There’s a niche within the right wing that’s available for such a mutually beneficial relationship, at least for those craven enough to seize upon it. From Candace Owens to Tim Scott to Kanye West, you’ve seen this play out enough to know the game that Elder is playing — it’s gotten him this far, and there’s loads of grift to be had on the other side with speaking engagements and TV panel appearances, saying things like the descendants of enslavers should receive reparations for “lost property.” At the very least, he brings a lot of Trumpy bullshit to the arena, like having denied sexual harassment allegations because the victim wasn’t attractive enough. And he’s a moron about COVID-19, the most pressing issue facing anyone, anywhere, and especially in California right now.
Piazza’s endorsement, just days after the unifying and heartfelt memories of his big homer for the Mets after 9/11, only serves to further alienate the people who cheered for him through his career, while also doubling down on dismal politics to show that he wasn’t just enraptured by Trump’s cult of personality, but really does suck this much.