By Tuesday, September 14th, California voters will have had the opportunity to answer two questions on an official state ballot. One is whether the sitting California governor, Gavin Newsom, should be recalled from the office voters elected him to in the 2018 gubernatorial election. The second is the voter’s preference from a list of candidates to replace Newsom, should a majority of the voters decide to recall him and end his term early.
By all appearances, conservative talk radio host Larry Elder would be the one to win a plurality of the electorate’s vote and go on to succeed Governor Gavin Newsom should he fail to hold his office at the recall Tuesday. Elder has continued to dominate the field of other challengers in poll after poll.
His margin of support is widening as we go into the weekend before the recall election as well, with 38% of likely voters favoring Elder in a recent poll conducted by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies. That’s up from the stout 18% polling support Elder was pulling in July. That leaves his closest competitors in the field in the dust.
It’s a real viable poll result to be California’s next governor. By contrast, former San Diego mayor Kevin Lee Faulconer is polling in the single digits. And YouTuber Kevin Paffrath is also polling under ten percent. So the governor’s recall election Tuesday is a race between Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom and the Republican candidate, nationally syndicated talk radio show host Larry Elder.
But this race is about more than Newsom versus Elder. It’s even about more than the multi-faceted crisis of confidence Californians have in their government today.
The real question on the ballot in California Tuesday is what role does the government have in society? And can we ever expect the government to keep staggering promises to manage ever more resources when it has so woefully mismanaged what Californians have already entrusted to it?
California used to be a moderate, center-right state, run by conservative Republicans and centrist Democrats. Remember, two of America’s Republican presidents who incidentally both won reelection with every state in the union’s electoral votes but their opponents’ home states were previously California governors: Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.
Even by the early 1990s, go back and listen to an election year interview by then-California Senator Dianne Feinstein to hear a verbal tirade against immigrants as harsh as the worst Donald Trump has ever uttered for the cameras. After three decades of wealth accumulation unlike anything in the history of humanity, in the wake of the Silicon Valley boom, the state has embraced big government, tax-and-spending, over-regulating, social engineering leftism.
The beneficiaries of all these great blessings of technology and business were not good stewards of their state’s good fortune. They did not aim to maintain a civil, orderly, just, and free society to maintain these blessings. Instead, they became envious and greedy and descended upon the largesse of Californians’ good fortunes to enlarge their estate and expand the state government’s power and glory.
California’s aren’t just deciding between Newsom and Elder Tuesday. They’re deciding between a vision of big government Newsom has spent his life serving, with the results that Californians now have to deal with today. And an idea of small government that Elder has spent his career promoting, calling himself a “small ‘L’ libertarian.”