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Why the Newsom Recall is Nonpartisan

If you’re searching for an accurate term to describe the Newsom recall effort, it’s not easy. With 48 percent of the electorate planning to vote for Newsom’s retirement according to the latest poll, and only 24 percent registered Republicans in California, characterizing the recall as a “Republican Recall” is inaccurate. But that’s not stopping California’s Democrats from doing that, because it works.

The demonization of Republicans in California has its origins in Prop. 187, championed in 1994 by Pete Wilson, the Republican governor at the time. Approved by 58 percent of the electorate, but later struck down in court, the measure would have prohibited undocumented immigrants from using social services, public schools, and public healthcare services except in cases of emergency.

Ever since, Republicans in California have been successfully stigmatized as racist. The next step in the demonization of Republicans in California came with Prop. 8, approved by 52 percent of voters in 2008. Defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and also struck down in court, the legacy of Prop. 8 is to taint California’s Republicans as not only racist, but homophobic bigots as well.

If these factors weren’t enough, California’s Republicans are now tagged as Trump supporters. Since California’s electorate is thoroughly conditioned to associate Trump with every negative right-wing stereotype imaginable, that, too, works.

No wonder we have a national politicians like Elizabeth Warren appearing on television ads in California, where she equates supporters of the Newsom recall with “Trump […] Read More

It’s Not a “Republican Recall,” Mr. Hastings

Consumers of broadcast television were treated to a barrage of ads over the past week lambasting the “Republican Recall.” Revealed at the close of these ads was the source of major funding for the ads, Netflix founder and billionaire Reed Hastings. Compared to other Silicon Valley notables such as Mark Zuckerberg, who spent $400 million to tilt the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, Hastings flies mostly under the radar. But that’s changing fast.

Last year, Hastings contributed nearly two million to a dirty campaign that got George Gascon elected to Los Angeles County District Attorney not by extolling his virtues and qualifications, but by maliciously maligning the incumbent. Angelenos are paying an awful price, as Gascon implements a crime friendly regime that has aroused open rebellion among his subordinates and enraged so many residents that the vast county teeters on the precipice of political realignment.

Not content with supporting the problematic Gascon, Hastings now has his eyes on the whole state. But what motivates him to do this? Why is keeping Newsom in office so important to Reed Hastings that he’s willing to throw additional millions into a statewide political campaign? Hastings, like dozens of his progressive billionaire counterparts in the Silicon Valley, is not stupid. So what part of Newsom’s legacy is he so determined to protect, and what is it about the recall movement that he consider so toxic?

It’s fair to wonder the rhetoric you’ll hear from the fringes of any […] Read More

Newsom Recall Gathers Momentum

With over 1.2 million signed petitions already collected, and tens of thousands more arriving daily, the chances that Gavin Newsom will have to fight for his political life in a special recall election have never been higher. How the proponents have built a powerful coalition of committees is an example of innovation that offers a new model for qualifying initiatives, recalls and referendums, one that will not be restricted to billionaire corporations or one-party legislatures.

According to lead proponent Orrin Heatlie, the volunteer signature gathering army that has been growing all summer is now deploying over 5,000 people every weekend to gather signatures. “They’re tired but they keep plugging along like they always have,” said Heatlie, adding that “more and more people volunteer as they learn about the progress of the movement.”

The latest counts, confirmed by representatives at both of the main committees, indicate over 200,000 signatures have already been collected via a direct mail effort, and over 1,000,000 signatures have now been gathered by volunteers. The original volunteer committee, the California Patriot Coalition led by Heatlie, has been active since June 2020. The committee running the direct mail campaign, Rescue California led by Anne Dunsmore, has only been doing mass mailings for a few weeks.

Using direct mail instead of professional signature gatherers is a risk that appears to be paying off. Paid signature gathering campaigns currently face the multiple obstacles of COVID restrictions on where they can set up, as well as the impact of […] Read More