California gubernatorial recall election 2021 coverage for the deaf

Before I waste your time, I will give you the quick answer: Vote No and vote for Kevin Paffrath. That’s really the amount of energy you should put into this waste of time.

For the rest of you, I can provide some reasoning, but I am really annoyed about it because this is cutting in to my Nextdoor time. Did you know there are people that use Nextdoor that are wrong? It’s true! And I need to go on there and let them know about it!

We did this 18 years ago. More than 100 people were on the ballot, and I was almost one of them. I did not have $3,500 to throw around (I don’t exactly have that now either), but I thought it would have been cool to be on there. I don’t regret it, and I don’t regret not throwing my hat in the ring this time either.

Let’s cover my decision first and get that out of the way so I can focus on the shitposting I am really here to do.

For those of you who were not here in 2003, this is how recall elections work. There are 2 things to do. First, you have to figure out whether you want to remove Governor Gavin Newsom from office. Second, separately, if more ballots say Yes than No, who would you pick to replace him?

Not a lot of critical thinking is required here, but there is a little game theory to apply. It is OK to look at the list of 46 candidates and decide whether any of them would do a better job than Newsom. That’s probably the smartest way to look at it. Because it absolutely should color your decision.

But what should also color your decision is the likelihood of someone who would not do a better job than Newsom to receive a plurality of votes. And that is why I am voting No.

I have never been a Newsom fan. When he first ran for mayor, coincidentally in 2003, same as the Gray Davis recall, he held off a hard charging Matt Gonzalez. It felt closer than it actually was, which probably speaks to the company I kept at the time. But we were pretty upset all the same. From a class or identity politics perspective, it was an easy choice at the time, and admittedly the two candidates were distinctive enough no matter what your political stripes.

And Newsom did the job, worked his way up, and was elected governor with 62% of the vote 3 years ago. It would cause one to think this recall election was in the bag, that the “No” vote would blow away the Yeses.

I’m here to tell you, “Not so fast.”

Voters don’t vote to say “thank you.” They vote to say “fuck you.” And although they are not as mad as they were in 2003, that just means turnout will be lower, especially with no big name alternative on the ballot, like we had with Ahnold.

Truthfully many things can happen that will result in the president being recalled. Yes voters are more riled up. There is no obvious get-out-the-vote candidate. Newsom has been busy doing his job vs. campaigning, which I am sure is a setup for a lot of punchlines. At least be original if you’re going to do so, OK?

The rest of this screed is a collection of talking points, so I will understand if you move on to the candidate review. But this really is a waste of taxpayer money, because the next election is less than 14 months after the recall election. In Davis’s case, there were still 3 years left in his second term, and he only won reelection because his main opponent was so awful. The vibe is very different this time.

But it is also more apathetic. We can’t make people under 40 get vaccinated, and you think they’re going to vote in this election? There’s no Trump to vote against! So really anything can happen, and it will be harder for “anything” to happen if you vote. I don’t even care how anybody votes anymore. The more representative the results are, the less it matters to me what they are. At least the people have spoken.

There are easy jokes to be made about some of these candidates. Bill Maher has done it for me so I will not bother.

So why Paffrath? He would do the least amount of damage among the candidates for the 14 months or so he has to hold down the fort, and that is all this is. It’s like when a baseball team fires its manager in August and announces an interim replacement who used to just be the bullpen catcher. Nobody expects him to manage the following season, but someone needs to fill out the lineup card in the meantime and hold press conferences.

I am stealing this from Maher, but I am sure he stole it from someone else, because this is not news. A lot potentially is at stake. We have a senator, who like Newsom, used to be mayor of San Francisco and is also in her late ’80s. She is not stepping down.

Should something happen to Dianne Feinstein, the governor will announce her replacement. That is why we have Alex Padilla. If a Republican gets in, guess who will replace her? And now you have lost your Senate majority, small that it may be. The Senate is a whole other ball of wax. Most of the early vaccinators were Democrats, which means if the vaccines start to wear off, they will be the first to get COVID-19 of they cannot get a booster in time, which means it is more likely that they would die.

Besides the Senate majority being in danger, it also potentially means that if anyone in the Supreme Court dies, such as RBG Jr., Stephen Breyer, there is no way that a replacement justice will be brought to the floor. We already saw this with Merrick Garland in 2016. I don’t understand why that would not happen again.

Although it is slightly hyperbolic, not voting No in the recall and not picking a candidate who would make a good faith effort to govern in a fashion that reflects what a majority of Californians want could eventually result in a 7–2 Supreme Court majority for the conservatives. And hey, if you want that, then you know how to vote to get that to happen!

Anyway, that’s all the energy I am putting in to this. I will see you for the primary in 9 months.

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