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It couldn’t be much easier to vote NO on the recall retread election

California is not Florida, Texas, Georgia or Wisconsin where the Republican-majority legislatures are attempting to change the voting laws to suppress the votes of their opposition. Here, we probably have more voters than all those states combined — some 22,078,290 registered as of July 2021 and most of those 46.5% are Democrats. 

Yet, the minority Republican Party with just 24.1% — in third place behind No Party Preference — is forcing a recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom who was elected a few years ago with 61.9% Advertisement

He could be removed with just 50% plus one vote and replaced by any one of a passel of 46 candidates who gets a plurality (not even a majority) of votes. Call this wacky, but that is how Arnold Schwarzenegger, a bodybuilder and actor, became governor. It’s not time for a retread of our past mistakes.

A historical repeat of the Gray Davis recall scenario and an insurgency not unlike the Trump inspired attack on January 6 on the US Capital.

This is clearly an attempt by Republican functionaries of the “Stop the Steal” ilk to actually steal the governorship of California! This minority uprising is led by anti-vaxxers and COVID-19 deniers and MAGA insurgents over mask mandates, school opening regulations or forest fires (as if Newsom actually has control over the climate). This is just one more attempt to distract the public and the governor from doing what’s necessary in dealing with a trifecta of crises. The recall campaign is also backed by a slew of billionaires and large donors on both sides.

One of those wealthy donors is John Krueger who came forward as the one behind the LLC, Proverbs 3:9 (a Biblical reference pointing to the line “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops”) that poured $500,000 into the recall campaign for Newsom’s removal. Krueger’s reason: he opposed Newsom’s strong anti-COVID-19 efforts, specifically the governor’s restrictions on indoor events that limited religious gatherings.

As of the last reporting period, both sides had raised $65 million, but nearly 90% of that — $58 million — has flowed to groups supporting Newsom — leaving him with a significant advantage. Since Newsom is not technically a candidate, his backers are not constrained by spending limits. Limits only apply to those running for office (Newsom is already in office). The pro-recall effort has raised just $7.7 million. 

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Still, this election is all about who shows up to vote regardless of how much money any one side raises and the fear (or aspiration) is that many people just won’t bother to send in their ballots. But wait! Wasn’t the mail-in ballot once the preference of Republicans? Not since Trump lost to Biden last year. The every-one-gets-a-ballot now seems to be a key democratic strategy for participatory governance. Perhaps the City of Los Angeles should try this next time.

Even as recently as 2009 and 2014 off-year municipal elections and in some special elections turnout of eligible voters has been as low at 17.0% to 30.94%. Which means that less than a third and at times less than a fifth of the electorate has voted for a candidate that really doesn’t have a majority. This scenario has especially been true in Los Angeles’ 15th Council District where Joe Buscaino, who is now running for mayor, won reelection with just 12,497 votes last time. 

Even more troubling is the sad state of the Los Angeles’ 99 neighborhood councils that as recently as this year elected their members, many with less than 100 total votes cast. This dismal turnout is due to the ineptitude of the Los Angeles City Clerk’s office and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (the last of these being an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard of one).

These neighborhood councils are supposed to be the foundational learning ground for how democracy works and yet they are treated so poorly by the city that it makes one want to tear up the city charter and start all over again. Councilmembers like Buscaino have consistently undermined their influence and ignored their advice. One of the lessons we should glean from all of this is that democracy is messy, but it beats fascism. 

So, here we are again with a historical repeat of the Gray Davis recall scenario and an insurgency not unlike the Trump inspired attack on January 6 on the US Capital. Only this time it’s not being done with Confederate flags and bear mace. It’s being done by an idiot with a real bear, an Uncle Tom radio personality and a group of lesser Republicans who couldn’t find their way out of a holy roller camp meeting. 

And this is all inspired because of what: COVID masks? Vaccinations? And really the only thing you got is Gov. Newsom going to dinner during the quarantine at a high-end French restaurant in Napa, really? These are the causes for removal? Hardly!

good trouble

Just vote NO and let’s move on to curing this virus or is it two viruses? The other one being the stupidity that seems to spread like the wild fires in the Sierras, sparked by fake news, pugnacious ranting by rightwing talking heads and conservative media outlets that invent more news than they report on facts.

James Preston Allen

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