Why I Care About the California Recall Election (and Why I Hope You Will, Too)

california recall election

 A reality check, and a call to action! 

So - maybe you have vaguely heard something about a recall election happening in California. 

If not, here’s the short version, via Vote Save America’s (VSA’s) “No Off Years” project:

“Due to some wacky laws, a small minority of California voters was able to force a recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom. That election is happening on September 14, but ballots will be mailed out to voters beginning Aug. 16. 

“That ballot will have just two questions: 1. Should Gov. Newsom be recalled? 2. Which candidate should replace him? If a majority of voters decide to recall Newsom (i.e. vote YES on Question 1), his replacement will be whichever candidate receives a simple plurality of votes on Question 2. 

“The Newsom camp is telling voters that voting NO on Question 1 (and leaving Question 2 blank) is the only way to block a Republican takeover of California; if enough voters support the recall then one of his Republican challengers can win by a narrow plurality.”

That narrow plurality can be as low as 15% of the vote!

To sum it up, while the height of the Pandemic raged, Trump Republicans were gathering signatures to put this recall on the ballot. This is a familiar tactic by the GOP - here in Colorado they pulled this very same stunt right after losing the Colorado State House, Senate, and Governorship to Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.

(Alas, Colorado doesn’t require a reason to recall a legislator - just enough signatures to get a recall on the ballot of a special election. Essentially the GOP targeted small counties of newly elected Dems - who hadn’t yet served even two months in office - and, funded by out-of-state dark $$$, started recall petitions against 5 state legislators. While these recalls did not end up materializing, it was an exhausting and costly process to fight. The GOP may not have had enough signatures, but they did use it as an opportunity to stir up their base, fundraise, and temporarily divert midterm-weary progressives from other off-year goals such as voter registration, etc. But I digress.)

What’s the big deal about Newsom being recalled? Didn’t he go out to a fancy dinner at the French Laundry around the time he told people to lock down? (clutches pearls)

OK, that French Laundry thing was a boneheaded move. But let’s keep some perspective here:

  1. Whether you agree with him or not, Newsom has been a hardworking and responsive governor trying to steer his constituents through a global pandemic of a novel Coronavirus, with little help from the federal government (pre-2021).
  2. Newsom will be up for reelection next year - if there is someone better for the job, vote THAT person into office in 2022. Recalls are expensive and undemocratic.
  3. Speaking of which, California taxpayers are footing the $215 million bill for this Republican-forced recall. That money could be better used for other things (like fire fighting, helping displaced citizens from the fires, pandemic relief, etc.)
  4. Republicans are far more motivated to vote in this recall election than Dems. The leading Republican challenger is a conspiracy-driven, Stop-The-Steal Trumpist who can win with merely 15% of the vote. He’s also a climate denier, and would make a terrible governor in a state suffering from climate change-induced, devastating wildfires. And this is totally biased, but...I could do without the smoke from those fires meandering through Colorado.
  5. With the governorship, Republicans will energize their base even further, take no meaningful action on climate, the pandemic, housing costs, or other concerns of common people, and - if Dianne Feinstein retires or is incapacitated - the governor will appoint her Senate replacement. The Dems will lose the Senate if that replacement is a Republican.
  6. Polls show that if this recall election were held today, Newsome would lose, largely because not enough Dems are motivated to turn in their easy, one question, mail-in ballot.


So, is there anything tangible that we can do to influence the outcome of this recall? 

Why, yes. Yes there is:

Indivisible and other progressive partners in California have reached out to the Blue Wave Postcard Movement for help. We need to contact Democrat voters who are not paying attention to this election and encourage them to fill out these simple ballots. We only have a month before ballots are due.

Once more, friends, our democracy needs your help. Would you be willing to grab a friend and write out some postcards in the next week or so? Our pre-sale is going on now with kits projected to be ready for distribution by 8/27. Purchase your postcard kits here

Saving democracy takes vigilance. As VSA says, there are No Off Years.

Thanks, friends, for your help.

-Lisa, Graphic Designer/SoBo Coordinator [bio]

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