If the most recent poll on the Sept. 14 gubernatorial-recall election in California is to be believed, a majority of voters there approve—inexplicably—of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s job performance and are set to leave him in office.
From our over-the-horizon perspective, some 2,700-plus miles east of Sacramento, Calif., we’re dumbfounded and appalled by that. Why would any rational California voter think Mr. Newsom, a Democrat, has done a good job as governor since assuming office in January 2019 and is deserving of remaining in office?
During his 32 months as governor, Mr. Newsom has presided over a Golden State that has been ravaged by surges in illegal immigration, homeless encampments, violent crime, and failed forest-management practices that have led to record wildfire devastation.
According to AAA, California also has by far the highest gas prices in the nation, with motorists there shelling out an average of $4.40 for a gallon of regular. The national average is $3.19.
If all that wasn’t bad enough, California has seen an accelerating exodus of corporate headquarters from the state—265 of them from 2018 through last month alone, according to a new tally by Stanford University—due primarily to the state’s high taxes and stultifying regulatory red tape.
Californians also are rightly indignant that Mr. Newsom imposed heavy-handed COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, then was caught dining at the tony French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley at a $350-a-head dinner for 12, none of whom was wearing the masks required of “the little people.”
A former Democratic state Senate majority leader who has come out in support of Mr. Newsom’s ouster noted the governor’s equally flagrant double standard on school closures during the pandemic. While most Californians’ kids were forced to make the best of remote learning online, Mr. Newsom’s children were not similarly disadvantaged.
“He shut our public schools while he sent his own kids to private school,” Gloria Romero, who served in the California Legislature from 1998 to 2010, notes in a campaign ad for Mr. Newsom’s leading opponent, Larry Elder.
Mr. Elder, a longtime right-leaning radio talk-show host, is among 24 Republicans (along with nine Democrats) vying to replace Mr. Newsom in the recall election, which was spawned by a petition that drew the signatures of more than 1.7 million California voters.
If that many Californians felt strongly enough about removing Mr. Newsom from office to sign the petition, and given his terrible record, it’s hard to fathom how he can now actually be ahead in the polls.
Another is the very real potential for vote fraud after the Democrat-dominated California Legislature authorized the Democratic secretary of state to mail out 20 million ballots—to all registered voters in the state—whether they asked for them or not.
The recall election comprises two tandem votes, as was the case in October 2003, the last time a governor was given the boot in California. Eighteen years ago, Californians recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis—like Mr. Newsom a Democrat—banishing him to the obscurity he so richly deserved (albeit for much less than the case against Mr. Newsom).
First, Californians must decide whether or not Mr. Newsom will be removed from office. If they vote in the affirmative, they then pick from among Mr. Elder and the other 32 candidates (most of them fringe or vanity candidacies with no chance of winning) vying to replace him in the event a simple majority approves his ouster.
Democrats and the left are so desperate to defeat Mr. Elder, a black conservative, that they’ve stooped to a racist trope that’s as despicable as it is preposterous.
They’re calling him “the black face of white supremacy” because he rejects the welfare state nostrums of the self-appointed black leadership, doesn’t believe that America is plagued by systemic racism, and opposes the teaching of critical race theory in schools.
The failure to remove Mr. Newsom from office would be the political equivalent of the classic definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. There’s no reason to think his performance in office would be any better over the remaining 16 months of his term if Californians vote to keep him in office.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but if voters give him a reprieve, they will get more of the same utter incompetence and gross mismanagement that have made California a national laughingstock—and they will have no one to blame but themselves.
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