Elite panic over the California recall shows what they think of democracy

Kevin Kiley, DCNF

The latest signature count for the effort to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom is over 1.7 million, and “alarmed party leaders” are panicking, making “all hands on deck” calls to try to head off this extraordinary citizens’ movement.

In an infamous press conference, the Chair of the State Democratic Party and other Newsom allies dubbed the Recall “The California Coup.” This earned a “Pants on Fire” rating from Capital Public Radio, whose fact check concluded the description was “far off base and wildly inaccurate,” since a “coup is a violent overthrow of a government” while a “recall is a legally sanctioned effort” that’s “been part of California’s constitution for more than a century.”

In a scathing editorial, the LA Times said the press conference “undermined the state’s legitimate direct democracy system.” And it almost certainly would not have happened without Newsom’s blessing; indeed, he refused to repudiate it when asked.

This disdain for both logic and democracy has been a continuing theme in the arguments of Recall opponents:

  • Several opponents have adopted a talking point that the Recall is a “distraction.” That would be a reason never to have elections at all.
  • Other Newsom allies are claiming it would “overturn a democratic election.” We actually don’t elect people for life in this country.
  • A State Senator leading the anti-Recall charge says their strategy is “all about reducing signatures.” That sounds a lot like voter suppression.
  • The Newsom camp also insists a Recall would cost too much. In fact, it would cost about a quarter of a percent of the rampant unemployment fraud under Governor Newsom’s watch.
  • California’s lieutenant governor called the Recall a “quirky” procedure to “slip” a new Governor in. I imagine this is how British monarchists spoke of the pesky American colonists, with their quirky notions of freedom and self-government.

What’s most telling is almost everyone is attacking the process rather than trying to defend Newsom. One outspoken Recall opponent even called the signature sheets “poisonous petitions.”

Even while publicly saying he’s not focused on the Recall “at all,” Newsom has been calling legislators to try to shore up support. He’s even wrangled a few into making positive statements at press conferences that have become taxpayer-funded pep rallies. As Lauren Rosenhall, a political reporter for CalMatters noted, “These covid updates appear to be doing double duty as recall-prevention sessions.”

Newsom has also made it clear that partisan warfare will be his strategy, with his camp claiming that “the Trump train doesn’t want to leave the station.” In fact, the Recall is bringing together people of all party affiliations and all walks of life. It is not only the greatest citizens’ movement in California history but also the most diverse one. That’s what has the political class and Special Interests who benefit from Gavin Newsom’s corruption so maniacally worried.

I speak every day with Democrats, Independents, and Republicans alike who’ve simply had enough. They may not agree on much politically, but they agree we deserve so much better. They agree our lives should not be turned upside by a corrupt governor. They agree there’s no reason California should ever rank 50th out of 50 in anything – let alone just about everything.

Meanwhile, Newsom is calling California’s “progressivism” the “roadmap to success” for the Biden administration. That is the absolute height of delusion. But it does show that the Recall is a movement with national significance: an urgent warning to America not to copy California’s failures.

Kevin Kiley is a California legislator and author of the book “Recall Newsom: The Case Against America’s Most Corrupt Governor”

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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