California votes on dismissal of governor

September 13, 2021 by archyde

The majority of Californians do not want this strange referendum which will cost taxpayers nearly $ 280 million and which risks placing at the head of the Democratic state a conservative candidate who received only a fraction of the ballots. But they must decide until Tuesday on the dismissal of their governor.

Experienced politician, Democrat Gavin Newsom, 53, former mayor of San Francisco, was elected handily in 2018. His term was not due to end until next year. But like his counterpart in 2003, Gavin Newsom finds himself exposed to a provision in the California constitution, which allows disgruntled voters to organize a “recall ballot” to replace the governor.

For this, they need to collect the signatures of at least 12% of voters in the previous election, in this case around 1.5 million. This threshold was easily reached by a mixture of more or less ultra-conservative Republican activists and other citizens disillusioned by the economic and health impact of Covid-19, in particular small business leaders raised against the restrictions decided by Gavin Newsom to stem the pandemic.

“Arrogance” of the elites

The latter made a fatal mistake last November: participating without a mask in a dinner with lobbyists in a three-star restaurant near San Francisco, shamelessly ignoring the health instructions to fight against Covid-19, which he hammered at length. daytime. The photographs of the scene caused a scandal, unleashing a rain of criticism on the supposed hypocrisy of Gavin Newsom, who has become for many a symbol of small arrangements between “elites” Democrats despising modest Americans.

Anne Dunsmore, head of the organization “Rescue California” which campaigned for the dismissal, denounces this “arrogance” of the governor and the “system”. But echoing the many supporters of the referendum who criticize Gavin Newsom for the price of gasoline, taxes and real estate too high, she insists that “the main issues have always been the cost of living, crime. and the homeless ”. Overall, it still remains “largely a referendum on how Gavin Newsom handled Covid-19”, tempers Jim Newton, a specialist in California politics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (UCLA) . The proof? None of the previous petitions launched to bring down the governor had been successful.

Elected by universal suffrage, the governors are the chief executive officers in the American states. They have significant budgetary powers, as well as over local legislation. California and its 40 million inhabitants would above all be a very symbolic take for the Republican Party before the midterm elections next year.

The advent of “governator”

But experts point out that the ingredients that made Arnold Schwarzenegger successful in 2003 against Democratic Governor Gray Davis do not seem to come together for a “Terminator 2”. Since the actor-turned-governor came to power, California has become even more firmly anchored in the Democratic camp. It seems unlikely that a Republican candidate will repeat the feat, especially since none of them combines the extraordinary stature and political skills of the star. Caitlyn Jenner may be relatively famous for her membership in the Kardashian clan, she is clearly lagging behind in the polls, well behind favorite Larry Elder, a radio host as conservative as he is provocative.

Gavin Newsom’s camp, however, takes the threat of this unlike any other referendum seriously. The most important thing for him is to win a majority of votes on the first of two questions: “Should Gavin Newsom be removed?” Otherwise, his mandate will cease and his replacement will be that of the 46 candidates, mostly Republicans or assimilated, who will win the largest number of votes for the second question. “It is virtually impossible for a Republican to win a classic election to become governor. This referendum is a roundabout path to power, ”says Jim Newton. “We are exposed to the possibility that 49% of Californians vote for the maintenance of Newsom and that it loses to the benefit of someone who has 18 or 19%”, he summarizes, deeming the procedure “ridiculous “.

Under these conditions, it is the turnout that will probably be the key to the ballot. If Democratic voters rally, Gavin Newsom will save his place. This is the outcome that the site survey aggregators are suggesting for the time being. FiveThirtyEight and RealClear Politics, who give the no to the revocation winner with nearly 15 points in advance.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my