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California is deciding on a recall election as the electorate faces a choice between keeping Gov. Gavin Newsom or replacing him with radio host Larry Elder, a decision forced upon the electorate by the state’s Republican minority.
If things go according to the Republican Party’s plan, they will use this off-year election to catch Newsom and the Democrats underprepared and take over the governorship with the support of less than a third of the electorate.
Support for Newsom is polling at 57.3% according to the FiveThirtyEight average. The only replacement candidate who has enough support to replace him, according to those same polls, is the Republican Elder with 29.7% of the vote.
The Grand Old Party is happy to win by one vote or on a technicality. This means even if Newsom is one vote short of a majority, California is stuck with whoever has the lead on the second question even if that person only receives 20-30% support.
Elder’s positions listed on his campaign website are not like those of the previous Republican recall frontrunner, the comparatively centrist and bipartisan former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. His ideas are far more right-wing than balancing the state budget through cuts in funding to state workers, social programs and education.
Elder’s tough on crime policy position promises law and order, but no plans for accountability, rehabilitation or to address the root causes of crime. “There is nothing compassionate about “early release” for prisoners when it is well known that most will re-offend,” Elder said, in a statement on his campaign website. “I will promote and support the repeal of Prop 47.”
His plan to solve the wildfires and drought mitigation are good, but he ignores the root cause of climate change. He offers regulatory cuts as some magic pill that will solve the state’s problems.
“As for our current water needs, all options should be on the table: desalination, reforming regulatory barriers in water trading, and an actual functional pricing system so that markets can properly allocate resources to those in need,” Elder said, in a statement on his campaign website.
Elder continues the perennial GOP call to cut personal income taxes. He doesn’t explain how he would keep basic services funded in recessionary years with budget shortfalls.
Elder’s support of so-called “school choice” wherein the only choice poor families will have will be grossly underfunded and under supported public schools. Resulting in children with behavioral problems and disabilities being left behind in a purposely separate and unequal system.
Further, Elder’s position on the COVID-19 pandemic is woefully inadequate. He wants California to join other states in ending mask mandates and not requiring vaccination. ”Californians who assume the risk of not wearing a mask or not getting vaccinated should not be forced to do so,” Elder said in a statement on his campaign website.
This is the anti-science negligence Elder wants California to emulate states where doctors are out of beds for non-covid patients and have begun rationing care, discussing the need to convene the very death panels the GOP has used as a boogeyman to garner support against the affordable care act. Furthermore, Elder has been recorded making promises to remove sex education in schools and to continue the GOP crusade against transgender people as well as women’s body autonomy.
If the turnout in this election is anywhere close to the usual midterm gubernatorial elections, then this election is a foregone conclusion and California keeps Newsom for another year and a half.
Newsom isn’t a perfect candidate and like everyone in power, he has made some enemies to get through the many crises he’s faced. His plan to not endorse a successor on the replacement ballot and to encourage his supporters to just vote “no” on the recall leaving the second question blank is extremely shortsighted.
Newsom has already proven he was willing to make difficult budgetary choices when the state was faced with a $54 billion budget drop at the beginning of the pandemic.
Newsom’s provisional budget cut funding across the board including to many of the programs he championed in his initial campaign. He negotiated with the state workers unions to cut compensation by 10% to help offset for the projected tax shortfalls.
With the benefit of hindsight, we know Newsom’s cuts were far too aggressive, but in them we saw his character. He made the hard choices to ensure our state’s budget was balanced.
The recall is a waste of $276 million that California should be spending to work on solutions to the many issues the state is facing, such as homelessness, climate change, fighting poverty and ending the pandemic.
Please get out and vote and make your voice heard.