Our View: Here comes the circus | TheUnion.com

Our View: Here comes the circus

The circus has returned to California, and you’re attending — whether you like it or not.

The certainty of a recall election for Gov. Gavin Newsom, announced this week, ensures that the state will be in national headlines once again. And not for a good reason. We’re already getting dinged for losing a congressional seat for the first time in the state’s history. Now we’re setting ourselves up for a colossal waste of money, instead of waiting another year for Newsom to appear on the regular November 2022 ballot.

You hear that? It’s the ringmaster starting the show under the big tent.

We have no opinion on whether Newsom should go, despite the allusions made to red, bulbous noses peeking out of the voting booth. Whether you think the governor is good, bad or indifferent, that shouldn’t affect your thoughts on the recall election.

What should get you upset is a possible $400 million price tag for an election we don’t need.

Newsom’s opponents have some good arguments about why he should get removed. Arguments worth having over the use of emergency powers, COVID-19 restrictions and more. Give it some time, say, until November 2022, and maybe they’d have a shot at removing the governor with those arguments.

But right now, they don’t have the numbers, they know it, and they’re doing it anyway.

Listen, credit is due to those who slogged it out over months to get the signatures to put this on the ballot. They pulled off a feat that seemed near impossible in a state where no high ranking public official wanted them to succeed.

But in this case, it’s like the dog finally caught the car it’s been chasing, and it’s full of clowns.

Here are the hard numbers: As of Feb. 10, there were 10,228,144 registered Democrats in the state. That’s compared to 5,347,377 registered Republicans, 5,258,223 no party preference, 680,573 registered American Independents, and 85,828 registered Green Party members.

Newsom’s opponents will need a magician to get enough votes to yank him from office.

Maybe in a time when people acted reasonably it could happen. But we’re living in a hyper-partisan country where people look to politics to determine whether they should wear a mask during a pandemic.

In an age like this, how many people are going to consider facts when casting their vote? And how many are going to vote a certain way to stick it to the other guy?

Even if Democrats stay away from the polls, and Republicans swarm the ballot box behind a chosen candidate, the amount of votes needed to expel Newsom remains enormous. Some might say insurmountable.

Do you really think there are enough California Democrats willing to cross party lines, focus their votes on one opposing candidate, and boot Newsom from office? After four years of a Republican president they loathe?

The amount of energy expended on this effort, while laudable, will lead to nothing. It would have been better spent grooming strong candidates to run against Newsom in 2022.

To paraphrase the Bard: The certainty of the recall is done. It can’t be undone. That means this state will spend millions of dollars on an election, and then spend millions more next year on the same issue.

Newsom has an uncanny ability to court controversy, and this recall election is no exception. People will campaign one way or the other. Knocking on doors, putting out campaign signs, making phone calls — all the typical actions of a normal election, even if it does look like a funhouse mirror reflection.

Regardless of your own political leanings, this election means there’s one thing you absolutely must do.


The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com

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