By SEAN QUINTAL
It’s not a news flash that Trump and most of the GOP are comfortable lying about elections; they continue to do so daily, and still with no evidence, nine months after the election. Their demonstrably false claims often include some version of “the will of the people should be respected.” This makes the hypocrisy of Republicans about the recall election of Gov. Newsom is especially galling.
Gov. Newsom was elected in 2018 with 62% of the vote, that’s 7.7 million Californians. His opponent, Republican and captive bear enthusiast John Cox, received just 38% of the vote. By any analysis that’s a resounding and unequivocal mandate rendered by the citizens of California.
By comparison, it took only 1.7 million petition signatures to force this recall election (a threshold reached only after a judge extended the original deadline). Now, just 14 months before Gov. Newsom will stand for reelection, the state must spend $276 million to conduct an unnecessary and unjustified recall attempt.
The reason is simple: A majority of Californians don’t much like Republicans and, consequently, GOP candidates can’t win in statewide elections. So the GOP, which in its current iteration has all but declared war on the democratic process, is trying a naked power grab to intentionally flout the will of California voters. It bears noting that this is the sixth(!) recall attempt of Gov. Newsom in three years.
The Republicans’ thinking is: “If we can’t win the governorship fairly, we’ll just abuse the system to steal it.” Troublingly, the bizarre nature of recall elections makes it entirely possible they might succeed.
The recall ballot consists of two questions: Question 1: “Should Governor Gavin Newsom be recalled” and Question 2: “Who should succeed him if he is recalled?
If fewer than 50% say “yes” to the first question, then Gov. Newsom remains in office. But if more than 50% of the voters say “yes” to the first question, then the candidate who receives a plurality (NOT a majority) in the second question will become governor.
There are 46 candidates to be listed on the recall ballot. A plurality is just one more vote than the second-place finisher. This means that California, a state of nearly 40 million people, could have a person installed as governor who had earned just a few thousand votes. This is all outrageous, particularly since Californians will go to the polls next year to normally elect their governor.
In order to prevent this hijack of California’s electoral process, voters need to do two things: Vote “NO” on the recall; and ensure your vote gets counted. Once you mark “NO,” on your ballot to the first question, that’s it. All you need to do then is close up your ballot and mail it in or drop it off.
To help be sure your vote gets tabulated, here’s the election timeline: Aug. 16: All voters will be sent a mail-in ballot; Aug. 17: ballot drop-off locations open; Aug. 30: voter registration deadline; Sept. 11-14: various “superpoll” locations open; Sept. 14: Election Day.
In a week or so, once all Californians start receiving ballots in the mail, it’s a relatively small task to mark the ballot “NO” and submit it as you prefer. Though it may be a simple action to take, it’s the only way to protect the will of the voters from this dangerous attempt by a few right-wing zealots to undermine our political process.
We are happy to announce that the LMFDC will resume our in-person monthly meetings in September. As always, we will gather at 7 p.m. at the La Mesa Community Center (4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa, CA 91942), on the first Wednesday of the month.
We’ll meet Sept. 1, to discuss issues related to the attempts to recall Gov. Newsom, and several other recall attempts against local politicians. Members will hear from three nationally renowned political experts — Jesus Cardenas, Eva Posner and Dan Rottenstreich, as well as Charda Bell-Fontenot, a local school board member who has been targeted for recall. Because we care about each other and our neighbors, particularly in light of the resurgence of COVID cases, all attendees must provide proof of vaccination, and wear a mask.
— Sean Quintal writes on behalf of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club.