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If you’ve ever run a business, you know you can never rest on your laurels. There’s always competition trying to beat you at your own game. There’s an ever-changing marketplace, where you must deal with supply chain, marketing, distribution, and attracting customers and then keeping them happy. You must work for your success, or the marketplace will gobble you up.
While politics is a different animal from commerce, there are a few similarities. Competition — in the form of competing party platforms and individual competence and goals — keeps the wheels turning. It forces voters to examine policy decisions, mandates coalition building, and requires politicians to prove that they’re doing their job well.
In a state with only one party in power and little chance that will change, none of those factors matters to those in office. You don’t ever have to work for your successes, argue the merits justifying your ideas, or pare down your expectations to unite voters and craft good policy. Everything is basically handed to you with no reason for argument. There’s no need to worry about tomorrow, so, after a nice nap and a good, expensive dinner at the French Laundry, you can go home and relax.
California has devolved under its de facto one-party system. There are not enough Republicans in the state’s Senate or Assembly to push back against the overwhelming Democrat majorities. Of 21 members in the Executive Branch, only one, from the State Board of Equalization, is a Republican. While several of the other officeholders claim to be nonpartisan, it’s doubtful that any actually is. It’s more of a convenient and lazy way to avoid political labels.
We once elected Ronald Reagan as governor, but that was then. Now we’re being given the chance to recall Gavin Newsom, and everyone expects the recall to fail miserably. With the election moved up by several months, to Thursday, September 14, it will be hard to get people to pay attention, much less figure out the merits of the alternative candidates. We all know that having only a single issue to vote for means exceptionally low turnout. The way the election is set up makes it even a steeper hill to climb.
The actual ballot has two sections. Part one asks people to vote yes or no on whether to recall Newsom. Part two kicks in only if more than 50% of voters give Newsom the ax. However, voters who vote “yes” to recall Newsom must immediately cast their vote for one of the candidates wanting to replace him. In addition, people who like Newsom may select a candidate, just in case Newsom gets the boot. Whoever gets the most votes wins. No run-off in case there’s not a majority. Win by just one vote, and you’re governor.
Apparently, all voters will receive ballots in the mail. They’ll have roughly a month to complete them and mail them in or put them into a drop box. There will also be in-person voting for several days, culminating on the 14th. Not that there’s much statewide information available on that so far.
The Republicans have yet to do anything to unite behind a candidate. Given that several Republicans have put themselves on the ballot, it seems there should be a primary first — but there’s not. Instead of working together to get rid of Newsom, each Republican candidate must fight the others. With a scant two months until election day, this seems a recipe for disaster.
It’s wise if we remember why we are recalling Newsom in the first place. He’s done nothing to mitigate the wildfire threat, and even the state’s budget for clearing brush was given the ax. He’s done nothing to stem the violence in the cities or support the rule of law. He has done nothing to mitigate homelessness. He’s acted the dictator on COVID, destroying small businesses. He certainly doesn’t support the police. He’s all in on “climate change,” and the result is a state with the highest electric rates in the nation and an unreliable grid. He has done nothing to deal with our water shortages or to help our farmers. Water infrastructure remains inadequate. Half our water reserves have been released to help a two-inch smelt. Despite the highest taxes in the nation, our roads are crumbling. Our schools have deteriorated to an embarrassing level and are now ranked 37th out of 50 states. That’s just off the top of my head.
The Republicans need to step up, today, and start consolidating against the foregone conclusion that they will lose. I had to look up who the chairperson of the party is in California, and it’s someone whose name I’ve never heard before, Jessica Patterson. She needs to be out there, front and center, with her fellow committee people.
I’d suggest that a grassroots effort, much like the one that set this recall in motion, is the only way we can achieve the goal of getting rid of Newsom. He’s stacked the deck against us every way he can, most significantly by eliminating two months of campaign time. We all need to figure this out. Unite around a candidate — preferably, one who doesn’t travel with a circus. Tempus fugit!