California’s insane politics want an answer
There are crazy things in American politics – like the myth of electoral fraud … and the California vote to remove a governor who was elected landslide.
On September 14th, the Californians decide the fate of the government. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomOvernight Health Care: Study shows that unvaccinated people are more than twice as likely to get COVID-19 reinfection | Half of the total US population fully vaccinated | Federal Employees Lying About Vaccination Status Could Be Fined, Removed California Mandates Vaccinations For All Healthcare Workers. If the recall succeeds – the poll is tight – voters will elect a replacement from a second-tier Republican group, none of whom could beat Newsom in a traditional one-on-one competition. That’s the crazy California system.
Not only is the process flawed, but also the procedure against the incumbent: the allegation is that he mishandled the COVID crisis, caused undue hardship for businesses and residents, and led the economic and social decline.
Of course, there are shortcomings, and Newsom has self-inflicted wounds. While imposing a mask mandate on the Californians, he was caught without a mask at a fancy dinner in Napa. Homelessness and affordable housing are big problems; the state has been ravaged by forest fires and its economy has been affected by a slowdown in immigration.
But California’s response to the pandemic should be celebrated rather than criticized. There were fewer infections and fewer deaths per capita than both Texas and Florida, the Republican showcase states.
It wasn’t at a comparable cost to the economy. Matt Winkler, my former colleague at Bloomberg News, used their incomparable data to document the success story of California: Last year, household income rose almost as much as in Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania combined, while the Golden State 1.3 million non-jobs in agriculture. The myth that California is bad for business is just that: a myth. As measured by the S&P 500 Index, California companies outperform all others. Another metric – for small businesses – shows that the state outperforms the national average.
If you look at all of the data, including its financial health and innovation record, Winkler says the data suggests California “has no equals” – especially Texas or Florida – when it comes to economic dynamism.
However, what is conveyed about California not only by conservatives but also by many media outlets is gloom and doom. In this larger-than-life condition, visible defects can overshadow success.
That narrative is one of the reasons next month’s vote is a toss. While the polls are close, the intensity factor lies with the “antis”, the callers. If this continues for the next five weeks, the recall will be successful.
The second question – with 46 candidates vying for the governor’s villa – is a clown show.
The best known are Caitlyn Jenner, the trans woman who is filming a reality TV show in Australia; John Cox, who lost nearly 3 million votes to Newsom in 2018 and this time campaigning with a Kodiak bear; Larry Elder, a Trump-backed talk radio host and former mayor of San Diego Kevin FaulconerKevin Faulconer: Half of Californians Say Newsom Has Called Back Polls Show California Gaining Pace Michigan GOP CEO Announces MORE Under Pressure From Trump Allies (The last Republican mayor of San Diego to be elected governor was Pete Wilson, whose anti-immigrant stance cost the party a quarter of a century.)
Under the recall rule, the governor cannot participate in the horse race for a successor. Newsom stopped all Democrats from running – to focus on preventing the recall.
There are some assets that the incumbent is bringing in the past few weeks and staring at with money. He has amassed a war chest of $ 40 million or more and can raise and spend an unlimited amount according to the rules while the aspirants reach their limits.
In addition, all registered voters with the pandemic will receive a postal ballot. The Democrats have yet to get their people to give them back, but it makes the job easier.
The argument that even a loss is no big deal has yet to be countered: a Republican governor will get nothing from an overwhelming democratic legislature, and the party can recapture the post in 2022.
That ignores a couple of realities.
The governor of California has considerable executive powers: to witness Newsom’s actions during the pandemic; also in the following 15 months, in case something should happen Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinHillicon Valley: The federal cyber agency launches efforts to defend the US against cyber attacks | Senators introduce bill to sanction nations linked to ransomware attacks | Amazon Pushes Back Business Reopening Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Sanction Nations Involved In Ransomware Attacks, the 88-year-old senior senator from California, the appointment of a Republican governor would restore control of the US Senate Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP Senator Vows to Slowly Advance T-Infrastructure Bill, causing stalemate McConnell urges Biden to withdraw the embattled ATF candidate (R-Ky.).
Only two governors were removed: one in North Dakota in 1921 and California’s Gray Davis in 2003. However, in a deeply polarized environment he is more likely to be armed, especially with a system as insane as California’s. Recalls are currently underway against the Los Angeles District Attorney and three city councilors.
The recall measure was enacted in the progressive era in 1911 and was designed to remove corrupt officials. Instead, the provision was damaged. When a case is an appropriate means of removing a public official, impeachment or, in certain cases, indictment.
Once California emerges from the September 14th travesty, the enlightened and progressive step is to repeal this misguided 1911 law.
Al Hunt is the former editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News. He was previously a reporter, bureau chief, and editor in Washington for the Wall Street Journal. For nearly a quarter of a century he wrote a column on politics for the Wall Street Journal, then for the International New York Times and Bloomberg View. He moderates the Politics War Room with James Carville. Follow him on Twitter @AlHuntDC.