This article was first published in print and online on August 27th in Bruce’s “We the Government” column. For more information about his biweekly syndicated column, be sure to read the introductory post here.
Governor Newsom’s recall election concludes September 14, and the rhetoric is heating up, so it’s important to carefully evaluate what’s being said! We will see more political advertisements bombarding us!
The first ad I saw was the rapid-paced Newsom’s “Roaring Back” blitzkrieg. It starts with, “Newsom is delivering money to your pocket!” It continues … $1,100 in your pocket, plus $500 if you have children (Covid relief). It then proclaims he delivered $4 billion in small business grants (again Covid). A couple projects by Newsom are mentioned and it ends with “Free Pre-K” for every child!!
Honestly, my first reaction was that Newsom is paying us to vote for him. Money for everyone! However, most of that money is federal money and all of that money is taxpayer money.
The other ad I viewed was US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) “Here’s the Deal” declaration. “Republicans across the country are attacking the election results and the right to vote.” And, she asserts, these same evil forces are attacking California in a power grab. This “Partisan Recall” is “abusing the recall process,” Warren declares!
How so, I wonder? How is the process being abused? The process was laid out in state law for anyone to use since 1911.
Since 1913, eleven recalls have qualified for the ballot (of 179 attempts) and six were successful per the Secretary of State. Of those six, three republicans and three democrats were recalled. That doesn’t seem too partisan. And, if this is such a partisan power play, why is Warren from Massachusetts doing the ad and not one of our two US California Senators (both democrats)? Other Newsom ads speak of “anti-science republicans” and other guilt by association smears.
And, by the way, if you ask who is funding the Warren ad, it’s Reed Hastings (Netflix founder/CEO) who was also on the board of Facebook; the Service Employees International Union #215 (state employees union); and the California Democratic Party.
Newsom blasts the $276 million cost of the recall, which is a lot of money. However, that pales with other state expenditures, such as the proposed $1 billion being foisted by the legislature to tear down and rebuild the Capitol annex so legislators can have new luxury offices! The recall is a legitimate expense of citizens exercising ownership over their government. The Annex is just the legislators padding their own chairs!
There are approximately 22 million registered voters in California. About 24.2% are republicans, 46.1% are democrats, and 24% have no party preference. To gather the 1.5 million signatures to qualify the recall (1.6 million were collected), I am confident that there were a few democrats mixed in the petitions. And, last spring when Newsom touted the 30 day period when people could retract their signatures … less than 50 did so. How embarrassing!
In an August 2-4, 2021 statewide poll for the San Diego Union, 51% favored recalling Newsom (up from 36% in May). Only 40% wanted to keep him (down from 47% in May).
Now, you may like or dislike Newsom, and I’ll keep my opinion to myself, but I can confidently predict the recall is not about partisanship, but perceived performance by the voters.
If voters do recall Newsom, we have 46 replacement candidates, most of whom are useless, “vanity candidates” who clutter the names of the six or seven serious candidates. Yes, with $4,200 and 65 friends, you, too, could have run for governor! Please don’t waste your vote on a lost cause candidate, the issues are too important. Just be glad we don’t have the 135 candidates as we did in 2003 with the Gray Davis recall.
Be skeptical of advertisements. Beware of what is promised but unproven! Come to events, such as our SacTax (Sacramento Taxpayers Association) interviews with Governor candidates this year. Be informed and intelligent. Exercise ownership over our governments. These recommendations will make each of us better citizens!