A Message for My Neighbors Who Support the Republican Recall

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7 mins read

Recently, when I took my dogs on their daily walk around my mostly Republican neighborhood, I noticed lawn signs calling on neighbors to “Recall Newsom.” My immediate reaction was to point those houses out to Alma and Wrangler as places where intellectually challenged people must live. My next instinct was to bang on these neighbors’ doors and ask “Why?” 

Unfortunately, I’ve found trying to have reasonable discussions on this subject can lead to madness, so I thought I’d check the recall website to see what the leaders think has been so egregious that it warrants removing and replacing Gavin Newsom. I found a long list of complaints about actions over which the governor has no control, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. I also found several accusations that the governor was guilty of actions I support, like mandatory mail-in voting, mask mandates, new gun and ammunition regulations, and suspending the death penalty. 

I wonder if my neighbors know who is really behind the recall? On Aug. 4, a judge in Sacramento rejected efforts by the recall leaders to challenge the governor’s description of them as “Republicans and Trump supporters.” Of course that is who they are, but they’d rather hide that fact in mostly blue California. Instead of running a candidate in a fair election, they are trying to bypass the Constitution by taking advantage of what is usually a low-turnout event. The organizers of the recall effort also include some disturbing characters. One of them, former Yolo County sheriff Orrin Heatlie, said on Facebook “Microchip all illegal aliens. It works! Just ask animal control!” Facebook removed him from their platform.

Just like the rest of us, Gov. Newsom isn’t perfect, but he’s accomplished a lot while doing his best to keep us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. As noted above, he suspended the death penalty. He also doubled housing for homeless Californians and extended the eviction moratorium in the state while the federal government was still debating the issue. For a more complete list of Newsom’s accomplishments, see this article about the recall effort by my colleague, Rena Korb.

I also question whether the recall supporters in my neighborhood understand that if a majority of people vote to remove Newsom, our next governor will be the candidate among the 46 who have qualified for the ballot who receives the most votes. Last May I discussed the front-runners in the recall; you can find my article here.

While John Cox, Caitlyn Jenner and Kevin Faulconer remain among the best known candidates, conservative radio talk-show host Larry Elder now leads the pack. Elder, who supported Trump in 2020, contends that “the ideal minimum wage is $0.00,” and has said he will push for waivers to the California Environmental Quality Act for housing developers. “Housing projects are held up because of (CEQA) lawsuits,” Elder said. “In one fell swoop, I could unleash the private sector and start building homes with these waivers.” 

Today I saw one of my neighbors had a lawn sign that said “Kevin Kiley for Governor.” As a DemCast USA content director, I spend a lot of time reading about politics and politicians, but my first response to the sign was “Who?” Research revealed that Republican State Assemblymember Kiley considers himself the opposite of Newsom in every way. He also believes that mask mandates, even for unvaccinated school kids, are bad for public health. The New York Times reports that during a candidate debate in Orange County on Aug. 4, Kiley spoke out against vaccine passports and offering cash prizes to people who get their shots saying, “It’s a perfect case study for the perversity of California politics.”

Having discussed politics once many years ago with this neighbor, I wouldn’t be surprised if she believes COVID-19 is a hoax. (During that conversation she told me that she had joined a group that included Democrats and she was surprised to learn that some of us were really nice and didn’t seem to hate America!)

Polls still show the anti-recall forces leading, but this may not be good news. Voter apathy is always a problem in our state. The chart below, from Mother Jones, shows that while California midterm election turnout is usually higher than the national average, it is still painfully low. If too many Democrats get complacent and neglect to vote because they think the election is won, Republican enthusiasm for removing Newsom could secure a victory. The signs in my neighborhood show that is a very real possibility. During my morning walks I have yet to see a single pro-Newsom sign. 

The possibility of any of the Republican candidates as our next governor is frightening. A change in leadership would have a devastating effect on the health of the state’s citizens and the environment. 

All California voters will get a ballot in the mail. Please mark “NO” on question one and then seal up your ballot, sign where indicated, and return it as soon as possible. The future of our state depends on each and every one of us voting in this election.


Election Day is September 14
Voter registration deadline is August 30
How to stop the recall: Vote NO on Question 1
Every registered voter will receive a ballot in the mail

Additional resources on the recall from DemCast:

Or just check out our CA Republican Recall section for more!


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