California is facing the fourth gubernatorial recall election in national history, and all eligible voters must rise to the occasion. While the election seems more like a $276 million production put on by conservatives than a beneficial use of funds, it could have real effects for millions of Californians. In order to ensure the state continues to productively respond to the COVID-19 and climate change crises, among other issues, residents must vote not to recall CA Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The election will take place through vote-by-mail ballots that must be postmarked or dropped off at a voting location by Sep. 14. The recall ballot includes two questions, one asking if voters want to recall the current governor and the other asking who they want to take his place if he is recalled. Voters only need to respond to the first question, but should do their research and vote in the other section of the ballot as well.
If more than 50% of voters vote to recall Newsom, California’s government and policies could be, in many ways, upended during a time of both local and national turmoil. His successor would be in office for about a year, during which they could reinstate the death penalty, roll back mask mandates and other necessary COVID-19 safety precautions, reverse California’s phasing out of gas-powered cars and undo additional executive orders signed by Newsom.
Perhaps most frightening is that if anything were to happen to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, the new governor could appoint a replacement. With the Senate evenly divided, this could have national implications.
California is often seen as a trend-setter for progressive politics and policy. If Californians want to keep it this way, every single person who can must vote.
While Newsom won with a large margin in 2018, he is facing a tighter race this election. He is, however, leading by 10% in a Sep. 5 poll from FiveThirtyEight. While encouraging, residents must still vote to keep him in office.
Newsom certainly has had his shortcomings as governor, including his sluggishness in raising taxes on gun purchases and establishing sustainable fire prevention methods. However, he is currently the best candidate for the job. Newsom helped turn California from one of the epicenters for COVID-19 into a leader in pandemic protection policies, launched his signature anti-poverty program, banned future fracking in California and more.
College students in particular, who have historically low voter turnout, must step up. As the Daily Bruin noted in its editorial, Newsom has done a great deal for UC students. Consistent with his commitment to higher education, Newsom allocated $1.27 billion in state funding for the 2021-2022 fiscal year to the UC in response to the system losing nearly $2 billion due to the pandemic. He also signed a bill in July to expand financial aid and improve support for students transferring from community colleges to state colleges.
If Newsom is recalled, Republican and conservative talk radio host Lary Elder will likely be his replacement. Elder should not be elected governor. His platforms — which are antithetical to many California residents’ values — include lowering the minimum wage to $0 and suspending the Environmental Quality Act.
Ultimately, Californians need to show up and vote. After just escaping a tumultuous presidency, it’s important for Californians to avoid a similar fate locally. While imperfect, Newsom is the only candidate who is both qualified and exemplifies the ideals of California’s majority. Vote “no” on recalling Newsom.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of the editorial board as written by the fall 2021 opinion editor, Emily Hom.