Tuesday is Election Day but I have already voted. Twice.
I voted against the first question, asking that Gov. Gavin Newsom should be recalled from office. I then voted a second time on the second question for a potential replacement for Newsom.
The Newsom campaign and the California Democratic Party are insisting that supporters of Newsom skip the second vote; to me that has been an irresponsible and incoherent strategy.
The conventional wisdom in the Newsom camp is that if a credible Democrat was on the ballot to replace him, then California voters might be tempted to pull the plug on our fair haired governor. That insults the intelligence of Democratic voters and put us in potential jeopardy of having a Republic governor and a reactionary one at that.
Back when Democratic Governor Gray Davis was recalled, there was huge concern when Lt. Governor Bustamante put his name in contention on the second part of the recall vote.
Davis was furious, concerned that Latino voters might want to replace him with Bustamante. As it turned out he didn’t have to worry as voters, including Latinos, went heavily for Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I believe that Newsom’s decision to deny Democrats a credible alternative was selfish and was not doing Democrats any favors. While I fully support Newsom he has been his own worst enemy, being too white, too privileged and too pretty. Democratic voters have held back and are only now voting because Larry Elder just scares them. That is hardly a ringing endorsement of Newsom.
Due to Newsom’s fears of being undercut by Democratic rivals, there are no serious Democratic candidates on the ballot, leaving many voters to consider the possibility of having Angelyne lead the Golden State. Having Angelyne at the helm is nowhere near as scary as having Larry Elder.
I thought that if the Democrats were so nervous about Newsom then maybe placing Eleni Kounalakis, the Lieutenant Governor, on the second part of the ballot would be a prudent form of insurance. She is not really a rival, but the logical constitutional successor and putting her on the ballot would have given Democrats credible alternative. I wrote Kounalakis’ name on my ballot as a write in candidate.
But I then learned that while I have the “right” to vote for a write-in candidate, unless that candidate registered as a write-in candidate, my vote would not be counted or recorded as to the second question of the recall vote. That is a pretty nasty way to prevent write-in candidates. My second vote was wasted.
As a Democrat your options are now limited. Currently Kevin Paffrath, a Democratic “social media personality” from Ventura is pretty much your only alternative. One of his main platform positions is to pipe water from the Mississippi to quench California’s needs; if you can get past that, maybe he is your candidate.
So why is voting in the second question all that important? For me I hate seeing the reactionary Larry Elder running in first place with up to 38 percent of the vote. The game for Elder is not so much to win but as to position himself for the next election. That election will not be for Governor; why would anyone want the job? What Elder is positioning himself for is to be the Republican standard bearer for the U.S. Senate.
This recall has just been an opportunistic manipulation of California’s system of “direct democracy” by nihilistic Republicans. Predictably, when no Democratic alternative on the second question, the Republicans get to show case their leading contender, who in this case is not just someone from the lunatic fringe, but rather the lunatic mainstream.
Just do the math. For every voter who votes for a candidate on Tuesday who is NOT Larry Elder, his percentage of the vote decreases. While Paffrath is apparently in second place with 10% of the vote, it is possible that a concerted effort could knock Elder down the polls a bit and take the luster off Elders’ current standing.
But whatever you do, vote by Tuesday.
Note: Steve Martin is a former President of the Stonewall Democratic Club and was an elected delegate to the Democratic Convention.
Steve Martin please read and post your comments on this:
We could take a lot of the partisanship politics out of this and future recalls by changing the law to simply say if the governor is recalled, the Lt. Governor becomes the Governor. This seems reasonable since we elected the Lt. Governor for that purpose. Imagine that….would Republicans be as excited about removing Gavin from office if they knew they’d get Eleni? Seems to me the people truly upset with Gavin would still be upset and could call for a recall and the debate would be whether Gavin’s actions/decisions warrant his removal from office and all that other noise would… Read more »
The 93rd comment is the only sensible solution. Thank you Josh Kurpies.
Voting for Newsom is a vote for homelessness, poverty, millions of Third World illegal aliens, crime, high taxes, fires, and the dangerous financial condition of the state. The only reason the state is above water now is massive taxes increases.
YES, on the recall.
California has 50% of the total number of homeless in the US, experiencing record breaking crime, litter everywhere and public schools held hostage by the teachers union…and these morons want more! Partisanship has destroyed California and it won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the entire country. Brilliant work! Great job!
Yes, yes, yes! The tragedy is that Biden and Harris aren’t on a recall ballot plus Nancy Pelosi!
Spot on Steve. To leave a ballot question blank is plain wrong. I will opt in the morning at Fiesta Hall in Plummer Park — I love to vote Election Day at the polls and have since 1972– to vote NO on the recall (duh) and John Drake. An openly gay man in the race. John “Robbie” Drake is a 20 year old born in Latvia, an LGBT russian of all things. The only error of this young democrats ways was where he posted on social media a critique of The Former Guy, but in that post admitted to donating… Read more »
A bad argument for a very sensible conclusion! What has Steve Martin (a former comedian) missed? If you like Dem policies more than Repub policies obviously you’ll vote No on whether to recall Newsom. And then if you like being logical you’ll vote for the next best candidate, probably Paffrath. Why? Because Newsom just might lose and then if his fans don’t vote on Question 2 you’ll let the Trump fans choose our next governor. Are you folks who vote for Mickey Mouse and Angelyne ready for that? No one on this thread has yet mentioned this no-brainer and it… Read more »
I voted no recall and Caitlyn Jenner. If. by some miracle, Jenner got elected, the result would be the sure destruction and bankruptcy of the CA GOP, a dream I’ve held for 50 years. Hey, we’ve already got rid of the worst part when the ultra-far-right California Republican Assembly went bankrupt and inert some years back. I had the displeasure of having to work with a certain a-hat from Van Nuys who was a mover and shaker in that near-KKK faction, Getting rid of them proved that the destruction of the whole stinking state party is indeed possible…just play to… Read more »
Gin bottle ramble.
Who else is excited for the impending GQP meltdown on Wednesday?
I know I am!
Their heads will explode. Hopefully so will Elderberry. I used to listen to that self-aggrandizing a-hat back when he was on KABC before they canned him. Why listen to such a mutton head?
Know thine enemy.
I wrote in Mickey Mouse for the second question as he might as well been the ballot as given the choices between a canidate who is black but thinks he is white and continues to follow the instruction of his handler Donald Trump in addition like the YOU TUBE idiot has NO POLITICAL EXPERIENCE. I do not support your comments on this subject and clearly confirms your support of the fraudulent recall.
Meanwhile, Newsom has plenty of political experience but is extremely ineffective. Sounds like a catch-22 to me.
YouTube’s nothing. You should’ve heard him on KABC! They finally canned him.
“Too white, … too pretty” — seriously? You wouldn’t say that about a woman. You shouldn’t say it about a man. It’s totally irrelevant to the question being put to the voters.
You’re right, not relevant and ungracious.
I’d expect nothing better from today’s Stonewallers.
I don’t think you legally can do this, but I could be wrong. Anyway, it’s time for change, and Newsom has absolutely got to go.
The great majority of CA voters say you’re wrong. Wait for it…then watch your head explode.