California Recall: California’s recalls are like no other elections. Voters have to decide whether to recall the officeholder — in this case, Newsom — and then answer a second ballot question over who should be the replacement. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter. Image Credit: Gage Skidmore (CC 2.0)
Top Story: California Recall
Today’s California recall is the biggest election since Joe Biden became president, the results of which may hint at the political trajectory of the country, the Associated Press reports. “In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is seen as having the upper hand in his bid to fend off the GOP-fueled recall. Republican talk show host Larry Elder is the leading Republican replacement. But California’s recalls are like no other elections. Voters have to decide whether to recall the officeholder — in this case, Newsom — and then answer a second ballot question over who should be the replacement. This unorthodox process has had wild outcomes before — it led to actor Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming governor in 2003.” Here’s what both sides are saying about the Cali recall:
On The Right
Right-leaning commentators and outlets believe Gov. Gavin Newsom needs to go. They think he has exacerbated California’s decline, fueled by deteriorating infrastructure, inequality, homelessness, and an embarrassing public education system. These analysts urge voters in the Golden State to replace Newsom with Larry Elder.
“Recall could save California – here’s how Newsom, elites destroying once-thriving state” Victor Davis Hanson, Fox News: “California once was run by conservatives and mostly centrist Democrats. True paleo-liberal governors like Pat Brown greatly expanded the welfare state. But they also believed in pushing integration and building freeways, dams, aqueducts, and power plants, while preventing forest fires, [and] directing the mentally ill into state hospitals … The new Democratic Party likes to redistribute money for the poor so [they] obey the orders from the rich. But they ignored old-fashioned infrastructure that once had allowed the middle class to drive quickly and safely, ensured them water during droughts, curbed their forest fires, and allowed their children to leave school competitively educated. … The current California recall election is a choice between Gavin Newsom, who embodies the woke, old-boy privilege of the Bay Area, and an alternative direction. Newsom is the epitome of the virtue-signaling elite who patronize the poor and drive out the despised middle class. … A careening California is heading for a colossal train wreck. Voters will have to pick between the incompetent engineer snoring at the wheel or the private passenger who rushes into cab to get the engine back on track.”
“Think of the Children: Recall Gavin Newsom!” Deroy Murdock, Newsmax: “There are 6,163,001 reasons for California voters to recall Gavin Newsom on Tuesday. That’s the number of K-12 students who largely are ill-served by the Golden State’s Democrat governor. California once boasted America’s finest government classrooms. … [Now] California’s schools are ranked No. 41 overall in America … While California was a dismal 36th in quality (behind No. 34, Washington, DC), it ranked 51st in safety. That’s right: California’s schools are more dangerous than those in every other state … [Meanwhile,] Newsom’s children enjoyed in-class education even as their father padlocked government campuses and sentenced millions of students to Zoom school. … Classroom-excellence advocates, including [Republican contender Larry] Elder, are promoting the Educational Freedom Act. This referendum would make Sacramento deposit $14,000 in every student’s personal account. … Given the leash that the teachers unions have around Newsom’s neck, he will battle this measure like a Rottweiler — unless voters neuter him on Tuesday. Think of the children. Recall Gavin Newsom.”
“Recall is best way to slap Newsom for California’s disastrous decline” Rich Lowry, New York Post: “Once a mecca for the middle class and strivers of all kinds, California has become an economic-inequality machine with an outrageously high cost of living and a steady exodus of people and companies. … Newsom is the governor by and for all the forces that created this debacle. … [He] ordered far-reaching and extensive lockdowns that were arbitrary (no outdoor dining — except for people making movies!) and economically damaging. Meanwhile, schools in the state were often closed, a significant blow to learning and a particular burden to parents without the means to find alternatives. He has effectively done nothing to fight the twin crises of wildfire and drought (environmentalists oppose forest management and building new dams), and there’s a pervasive sense that disorder and homelessness in the state’s big cities are intolerably degrading the quality of life. … Recall is a well-established feature of the California system. … Efforts to portray it as undemocratic and unconstitutional make no sense.”
On The Left
Left-leaning outlets and commentators believe Gov. Gavin Newsom deserves to finish out his term. They think Larry Elder would be horrific for the state given his stance on everything from climate change to school choice to COVID-related precautions. Some believe the entire recall effort needs an overhaul.
“Endorsement: The many reasons to vote no on recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom” Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times: “Newsom does not deserve to be unceremoniously dumped from office before his term is up. He’s been a strong, decent leader of this complicated, high-maintenance state during a really tough time in history. … None of the 46 people who are listed on the ballot to replace Newsom would do [a] better job … Most do not support the public health measures that have protected California from suffering as much sickness and death from COVID-19 as the similarly warm and populous states of Texas and Florida … The leading Republican recall candidates also oppose policies that have made California a global leader on climate change. … They also would seek policies to undermine important criminal justice reforms taken in recent years. … When it comes to homelessness, none has anything to offer beyond sweeping but ill-conceived plans that would swoop up homeless people into shelters, no matter whether that’s legal, effective, or the most humane response … By contrast, Newsom has directed billions toward the acquisition of hotels, motels, and apartment buildings to turn into housing for homeless people. … On education, the candidates fall back on simplistic notions that school choice, mainly charter schools, will fix everything. It won’t. … Please, please — mark no on the first question that asks if Gov. Gavin Newsom should be kicked out of office. No matter how you feel about Newsom’s performance, voting yes will unleash months of political chaos that will be bad for the state at a time when it needs its leaders focused on responding to and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Larry Elder would be disastrous for California — and the country” Lincoln Mitchell, CNN Opinion: Larry Elder “has called global warming a ‘crock’ and a ‘myth.’ … He has also shown a broader skepticism toward science — opposing mask and vaccine mandates entirely and saying they stand in the way of American freedom. And he has vowed to get rid of a legal baseline for the state minimum wage, arguing that ‘The ideal minimum wage is $0.00.’ … The partisan balance of the US Senate may be at stake in this recall as well. Though neither of California’s two US senators is on the ballot, Democrats cannot afford to lose a single senator — or Republicans will regain power in the Senate. … If [Sen. Dianne Feinstein] were unable to [finish her term], the governor would pick somebody to replace her until the 2024 election. Elder would almost certainly pick a conservative Republican who would give the US Senate majority back to the GOP. … The recall election in California may be the most important election in the US this year — and the consequences will not be limited to just one state. It may seem unimaginable to some that a state as deeply blue as California could have a governor whose views on climate and COVID-19 would rival those of any card-carrying MAGA supporter, but the quirky nature of the recall — and the name recognition enjoyed by Elder — mean that possibility cannot be dismissed.”
“California’s Recall Election Is Broken” Editorial Board, New York Times: “California’s process for recalling its governor is so broken … the governor can be recalled through a simple majority vote. His replacement needs only a plurality, no matter how small. This means that Mr. Newsom could win the support of 49 percent of voters and still be recalled. A candidate vying to replace him could be elected with half of that support, or even less. … There are numerous ways that California should reform its recall system. … First, it ought to shift the burden of winning majority support from the incumbent — who was, after all, duly elected by the voters — and put it on the recall effort. … Another needed reform is to make it harder to get a recall on the ballot in the first place. … It takes signatures equal to just 12 percent of the total votes cast in the previous gubernatorial election to initiate a recall in California. In many other states, the threshold is 25 percent. … Finally, California’s system discourages the sitting governor’s party from backing a replacement candidate for fear of bolstering the recall effort. … A system that allows a legitimately elected governor to be replaced with a fringe candidate winning only a small fraction of the vote is in desperate need of reform. California voters should vote no on the recall question, and the Legislature should, at last, begin the work of revising the state’s recall elections.”
Flag This: California Recall
According to the FiveThirtyEight polling average of the first question on the recall ballot — whether or not to remove Newsom from office — 41.6 percent of Californians want to recall him, while 56.2 percent want to keep him in office, Geoffrey Skelley and Nathaniel Rakich report. “Should a majority of voters choose to recall Newsom, the ballot’s second question would then come into play: Who should replace Newsom? … Republican Larry Elder, a conservative radio talk-show host, has a clear lead, but he is polling at just shy of 28 percent in FiveThirtyEight’s tracker.”
Flag This: “Don’t expect to learn the result on Tuesday night: Since the election is being conducted predominantly by mail, it’s going to take several days.”
Flag Poll: California Recall
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