Opinion: A Begrudging Defense Of Newsom

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Illustrated by Justina Wilkins

Gavin Newsom is a blithering idiot, and a dime-a-dozen slimy politician. Under his leadership, he told the state to stay home while eating at the French Laundry, generally bungled the vaccine rollout, and while public schools in the state were closed for almost 18 months, his own children attended an in-person private school. He turns complex issues into overly moralistic ones, where if you don’t agree with him, you lack common decency and is a perfect example of the problem with establishment Democrats today. However, the only thing worse for California than Gavin Newsom is the recall election happening on September 14th. 

The most obvious issue with the recall is that this state already chose its governor in 2018, and it will choose a new governor 389 days after the recall regardless of who wins. If the recall were to pass, the new governor would be in office for a year and 24 days before potentially being ousted once more. If you hate Gavin Newsom, and you want nothing more than to see him kicked out, then please, simply wait for one more year. I’ll make it easier for you: nine months after the recall is our primary election for governor, you may hence start your Newsom-hating then with this publication’s full support. 

Government only works when there is faith that said government is stable. Ousting a governor a year before a normal election destroys faith in the systems that be and will only turn an already divided state into warring clans. Not to mention that a quick turnaround from governor to governor will only cause chaos and panic in state governments, and there will be a quick turnaround. If the recall were to pass, then the most likely winner would be Larry Elder, and Elder would almost certainly be ousted in the 2022 election. California would go through three governors in a little over a year. Stability is important, and sometimes we just need to stick with who we have. 

The recall in itself is borderline unconstitutional. UC Berkeley Law School Dean Chemerinsky recently wrote an opinion for the New York Times in which he explained how in his mind, the recall is unconstitutional. According to Chemerinsky, in a democracy, the most basic principles are that “the candidate who gets the most votes is elected and that every voter gets an equal say in an election’s outcome.” California’s recall election violates this because whoever replaces Newsom is not decided by a majority election, but instead a plurality. Chemerinsky explained,  “By conducting the recall election in this way, Mr. Newsom can receive far more votes than any other candidate but still be removed from office… Imagine that 10 million people vote in the recall election and 5,000,001 votes to remove Mr. Newsom, while 4,999,999 votes to keep him in office. He will then be removed and the new governor will be whichever candidate gets the most votes on the second question. In a recent poll, the talk show host Larry Elder was leading with 18 percent among the nearly 50 candidates on the ballot. With 10 million people voting, Mr. Elder would receive the votes of 1.8 million people. Mr. Newsom would have the support of almost three times as many voters, but Mr. Elder would become the governor.” 

The recall is ruthlessly partisan, and has very little to do with Newsom’s governance. The recall campaign against Newsom started in February 2020, over 18 months ago, and before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not hard to imagine that such a campaign could be run against any Democratic governor at the time and had nothing to do with how Newsom was running the state at the time. Many supporters of the recall will point to the 2003 recall in which Governor Davis was replaced by Governor Schwarzenegger. While both recall elections started as campaigns from wealthy republicans in the state trying to get a Republican in the governor’s mansion, they have key differences. The 2003 recall occurred one year after an election, where there were three years left in the term, compared to only one year this time around. Furthermore, Davis was wildly unpopular due to his energy mismanagement during California’s electricity shortage, and public scandal. Davis’s approval ratings averaged in the mid-20s, while Newsom’s averages in the low 40’s (for reference most presidents in exception to Trump also have low 40’s approval ratings), almost 20 points higher than Davis. Recalls should only be used in extreme cases, like Governor Davis, but this isn’t an extreme circumstance where the masses are clamoring for new leadership.

Some voters may feel tempted to vote yes on the recall as a way to send a message either to Newsom or to the Democratic party in the state. While in a normal state election that’s fine if you feel so inclined, this is not the election to do that in. I repeat: this is not the election to throw away your vote in. Those not voting in the recall, or voting yes on the recall out of apathy, would do well to remember the 2016 presidential elections many voters in states like Michigan or Pennsylvania didn’t vote because they thought their vote didn’t matter or voted for Trump just to stick it to establishment Democrats. We all know how that went, and I would rather not have an incompetent, borderline insane governor like Larry Elder (recall front runner) in office, even if for just a year, before he would almost be certainly replaced by a Democrat. Elder has said before that slave owners deserved compensation for freed slaves, and that women should “tolerate” sexual harassment in the workplace. California is facing serious problems: our state is now on fire for at least three months every year, homelessness is at an all-time high, and we are running out of water. This state needs good leadership, and the recall will only hinder that. So please, vote no in the recall because this will be a close election, and every single vote matters. 


Isabelle Stid is a Senior and in her third year of writing stories for the M-A Chronicle. She is an Editor in Chief and enjoys writing stories pertinent to the M-A community.

1 Comment

  1. Gavin Newsom truly embodies the spirit of the saying “rule for thee not for me.” It was a real shame he was not recalled. California politicians need to be less complacent.

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