The California recall election is three weeks away, and it appears nearly everyone who has received a ballot and 32-page information pamphlet – the thumbnail sketch of policy and beliefs – thinks this might be a joke. Is Candid Camera skulking about filming expressions of confusion and dismay? The situation is so ridiculous one Tik Tok user (albeit one who could not pronounce “gubernatorial”) went through candidate replacement options, pointing out lack of political experience and, well, some sort of normalcy even at California standards.
Some of the statements are head-scratchers, “fer sure dude,” as they say. The Green Party candidate Dan Kapelovitz, his whole platform is “Can you dig it?” Adam Papagan, who has no party affiliation and going out on a limb, probably no friends, describes his abilities as: “Love u.” Good to know, but did he text his declaration from his 8th-grade geometry class?
Then we have Angelyne: Billboard Queen, whose slogan is “We Must Party.” According to her website, “The Angelyne Party establishes a new format of existence. The imagination of the citizen is what is at the forefront.” Imagine that. Is there any reason the Democratic Party should be concerned?
Let’s Be Against Casting a Vote – That’s The Ticket
The California Democratic Party has a lot on the line: the protection of 40 million or so legal folks and the world’s fifth-largest economy. With question one on the two queried ballot, should Newsom be removed from office, the party hopes no one will vote yes. But if there is a majority demanding his ouster, the second question becomes the most important: who takes the reins and gallops off into the annals of Ballotpedia?
To date, the only serious candidates appear to be of the conservative variety. Caitlyn Jenner, the Olympic Decathlon gold-medalist, is in the lineup with former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, businessman John Cox, and conservative-right media personality Mike Cernovich. They have statements. Whatever will the open vote-whenever-no-ID proponents do now?
Drastic times call for extreme measures. The beleaguered and surely exhausted California Governor Gavin Newsom and the state Democratic Party have developed an idyllic plan: Don’t answer the second question. Or in politi-speak, don’t vote. The mandate on Twitter is as follows:
“Defeating the Republican recall attempt against Governor Gavin Newsom is our #1 priority. 1. Vote No on the first question. 2. Leave the second question blank. 3. Mail it back.”
Democratic faithful spending millions in ad propaganda and excoriating Republicans for their tamping down of unsecured voting practices over the last few years are feeling a tad adrift in this election. Several feel powerless and offended over wanting to be a part of this monumental decision but being told to sit it out. Like podcast consultant Eric Spiegelman who spoke with the L.A. Times: “How dare the Democratic governor of California tell me not to vote? Like, what is that?” Of course, he has also threatened to write in his name to live in infamy on Wikipedia.
Newsom Or Bust. Seriously?
According to a recent poll from the University of California at Berkeley, 40 % of Democrats say they will not answer the second question. And while it does appear madness in the party which wants willy-nilly to hand out ballots to whoever the cat drags in, there is a history behind said “strategy.”
In 2003, the party decided to try an all-or-nothing approach. Then Democratic Governor Gray Davis had a lieutenant governor, Cruz Bustamante, who panicked and jumped in the recall election. He may have been a shoo-in had his boss not been so offensive to the electorate. Bustamante is living proof of the adage “Birds of a feather” and all those grandmotherly thinly veiled threats. Failing on all counts with a Davis recall and a solid “Hell No” to Bustamante, Californians were saddled with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It seems evident that California Democrats are banking on the strategy that goes against their party voting rights platform. And frankly, only Democrats could get away with telling folks not to cast a ballot. But perhaps a serious vote cast for the self-proclaimed Billboard Queen will override the good senses of the electorate and bring out the party animal in all.
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