Yesterday my phone went berserk with an “Emergency Alert” about the stay-at-home order. Fortunately, I was just sitting at my desk; I heard from people who almost crashed their cars from this latest abuse of power.
The bigger abuse, of course, is the stay-at-home order itself. But the battle now is not just for the next few weeks but the next six months, as Newsom has left no doubt he wants to keep the State of Emergency going at least into next summer. The good news is we’re making progress on a number of fronts:
- The Orange County Board of Supervisors has passed our Healthy Communities Resolution, joining Northern California counties and making this a statewide movement to end the arbitrary lockdowns.
- In our lawsuit, Newsom’s Reply Brief with the Court of Appeals is due Monday, then we’ll have oral argument and get a decision. The Governor also just lost his lead lawyer, with Xavier Becerra resigning to take a job in D.C.
- I’ve just introduced a bill to abolish endless emergencies in California. A State of Emergency would automatically expire after a fixed period of time (60 days or shorter).
But the biggest threat to Newsom is one that is entirely volunteer-driven, the most impressive grassroots campaign I’ve seen. Politico now reports that Newsom’s top advisors are “increasingly concerned” about the recall against him. Lest anyone say there isn’t broad interest in the recall, my tweet on the Politico report has been seen by 1.8 million people.
These Newsom advisors, according to Politico, are afraid the recall “could mushroom into a major threat in 2021.” The Sacramento Bee says that “fending off” the recall is a major challenge for Newsom’s new Chief-of-Staff (a top lobbyist, to no one’s surprise). It reminds me of a quote sometimes attributed to Ghandi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.”
There is one official website for the recall, and it is here. The campaign received a major shot in the arm when a Sacramento Superior Court granted a four-month extension on account of Newsom’s lockdowns. Over 800,000 signatures have now been collected, and the Secretary of State has directed every county to begin verifying them.
The bar for a recall is undeniably high. When Gray Davis was recalled in 2003, only 900,000 verified signatures were required, but it will take 1.5 million to qualify the Newsom recall. Yet there are countless volunteers working tirelessly, over three more months until the March 17 deadline, and what Lead Proponent Orrin Heatlie calls a “French Laundry list” of reasons for people to sign.
The ability to launch a recall, by the way, was added to the California Constitution through a Special Election in 1911. Supported by Governor Hiram Johnson and growing out of a national political movement associated with Teddy Roosevelt, it was seen as a tool to “unlock the special interest grip” on state politics.
That grip has never been tighter than it is now. Gavin Newsom may not have created all the problems causing California’s decline, but he fully embodies them – to the point of caricature. And he’s dramatically accelerated them in a way we never could have imagined. Yet through his disastrous actions, he’s also accelerated an equal and opposite reaction.
Californians sense the American dream is dead here. In a new PPIC poll, nearly two-thirds say kids growing up in the state today will be worse off than their parents. But I don’t believe it has to be that way. I think California is due for a major political realignment, and it’s up to us to make it happen.