Tuesday, September 14, 2021

California Democrats Want To Make It Harder for Voters To Challenge Their Power

Today, California is holding its second-ever recall vote for a sitting governor.

Contra the Times, the purpose of the century-old recall feature, which has only made it to the ballot 11 times for state elected officials, was not to ensure that California's public representatives match up demographically and ideologically with the electorate, but rather to act as a between-elections check on corruption, incompetence, or whatever the relevant voters deemed a firing offense.

The second California official to be successfully recalled, back in 1913, was Democratic state senator Edwin Grant, whose San Francisco constituents did not care for Grant's fervent opposition to the time-honored local industry of prostitution.

Unfortunately for Larry Elder-who is only leading the if-Newsom-is-recalled pack because Republicans have precious few California political professionals of note, and Democrats made the conscious choice not to run a viable candidate-most journalists and professors swim in the same ideological fishbowl as the state's dominant political party.

California requires the signatures of 12 percent the number of those who voted in the last relevant election, which is the lowest recall threshold in the country; most are at around 20 percent.

Public opinion surveys show that Californians are open to tinkering, but they do appreciate having the recall power.

There is an available if lonely conclusion to be potentially gleaned from today's vote, should Newsom indeed survive: The system maybeworks? Six for 11 in recalls, including one for two with governors, across 98 years does not seem to me evidence of a "Dangerous" and "Outlandish" anachronism, overrun by "Manipulation." Turns out it's actually pretty hard to recall a popularly elected Democrat in a heavily Democratic state, particularly when the minority party is attracted to nutjob candidates and clownball tactics.


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