Californians will soon receive ballots asking them whether to recall our Governor, Gavin Newsom.
Some Democrats might conclude, ‘California is a Democratic state, so I don’t really need to worry about voting.’ This is just plain wrong.
Some Progressive Democrats might say, ‘I’m not really that happy with the state government, so I’m just going to sit this one out.’ Also wrong...and dangerous.
We need all hands on deck to fight this recall; every progressive, every Democrat, every person that wants to ensure we have a reasonable and competent leader at the helm of the fifth largest economy in the world.
For the next few weeks, Democrats, progressive and otherwise, need to throw off the summer blahs, put their walking shoes on, and devote some time to defeating the recall.
- We know that Governor Newsom will sign almost every progressive bill passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature, while a Republican replacement will not.
- Governor Newsom will continue to deploy resources to limit the spread of COVID, while a Republican replacement will pander to anti-vaxxers and put us all at greater risk.
- Should Senator Feinstein retire or fall ill, Governor Newsom will appoint another reliable Democrat to the US Senate and keep the Democratic majority intact, while a Republican replacement will bring all DC legislation to a halt by appointing a Trump-friendly train wreck.
Those are the stakes: all progressive legislation in California; surviving the pandemic; and the balance of the US Senate.
Of course, Governor Newsom could also lock in a resounding victory if he made this election a referendum on California’s support for the federal Green New Deal and the state Medicare for All bill, CalCare. These two policies are overwhelmingly popular and would unleash the largest grassroots activist network the state has ever seen. Those of us who mobilized to win the 2020 California Democratic Presidential Primary for Bernie Sanders and helped him raise record amounts in small donations would be motivated like never before if Governor Newsom and the Democrats committed themselves to this policy agenda. There simply would be no stopping a statewide campaign that was focused on issues that fundamentally change people’s lives while also leading the nation towards a better future.
With that said, progressives cannot condition our opposition to the recall on the expectation that it will result in a bold new progressive agenda coming out of the Capitol. The stakes are too high for this all-or-nothing strategy.
For the next few weeks, Democrats, progressive and otherwise, need to throw off the summer blahs, put their walking shoes on, and devote some time to defeating the recall. It may not be as energizing as the Bernie campaign or the Nina Turner campaign, but it is definitely worth the effort. We need to get in the game.
Amar Shergill is an Executive Board Member of the California Democratic Party (CDP) and Chair of the CDP Progressive Caucus.