Edie and Janet’s Guide to the 2021 Recall Election

We wish we didn’t have to write this voter guide, but we’ve had more questions about this special recall election than expected, and the truth is, it’s super important. 

If you’re interested in the details behind this crazy and unnecessary yet pivotal election, we’ve got you covered. But here’s the short version:

  • Vote No on this recall before the September 14 deadline. Recalling Newsom would be undemocratic and harmful to CA and beyond. You should have already received your ballot in the mail, just send it back ASAP!
  • You don’t have to vote on the second question, and many anti-recall campaigns say to leave it blank. However, if the recall succeeds on Question 1, whoever gets the most votes on question two (easily a dangerous wacko) becomes the governor. We’re not comfortable leaving Question 2 to chance, so we are voting for Joel Ventresca, a very progressive Dem from San Francisco who seems like literally the only reasonable person on the ballot with a platform we support (despite the unfortunate fact that he supports the recall). 

Why is voting in the recall election so important?

There are four big reasons (among many others) why we can’t let this recall succeed.

  1. This recall is super undemocratic. It will likely be decided by far fewer people than voted for Newsom in 2018. If it is successful, his replacement will be chosen by a tiny fraction of our electorate. (In fact, under any scenario where the recall passes, NO votes on the recall will far outnumber the votes for a replacement Governor.)
  2. Dianne Feinstein is 88 years old, and reportedly failing mentally. If she leaves office before her term is up, whoever is Governor will appoint her successor. A Republican Governor would hand the U.S. Senate back to Mitch McConnell. 
  3. The leading Republican candidates are highly likely to reverse or slow California’s leadership on climate change, both by vetoing strong climate legislation and by clearing Newsom’s excellent agency appointments out of the executive branch agencies that implement our laws and policies. This would almost certainly have dire consequences for California and the whole planet. This is time to double down on climate action, not falter.
  4. All the Republican candidates (one of whom is likely to win if the recall succeeds) have vowed to end all mask and vaccine mandates in California. We personally know more people sick with “breakthrough” COVID now than at any point in the pandemic; we can’t afford a governor who will play politics with public health. 

So, how do we beat this thing?

Since this is so important, it’s all hands on deck to spread the word about voting NO on the recall before September 14. If you’re not the volunteering type, just talk about it with your friends and neighbors or whoever you see on Zoom. 

If you are hungry for more social interaction and want to do a good deed (which science says is more healthy than exercise!), here are some more options:

Some background on how we got into this mess

  • The crazy rules say that if recalling Newsom gets more than 50 percent of votes (that’s Question 1), the Question 2 candidate with a plurality of votes becomes the next Governor. With 46 candidates in Question 2, Larry Elder or some other wacko could take over the state with, say, 8 percent of the votes on Question 2. (And it’s looking like somewhere between 30-50% of voters in this election will leave Q2 blank!)
  • Edie likes the San Francisco League of Pissed Off Voters explainer about the whole thing, and generally agrees with their take on the candidates (Kevin Paffrath, apparently the leading Dem, is HORRIBLE). 

Why are anti-recall organizers and strategists telling voters to leave Question 2 blank?

It’s true that if we can beat the recall on Question 1, it doesn’t matter who wins Question 2. So Democratic insiders decided, largely informed how the 2003 recall went down, to keep it simple and put all their eggs in the first basket. Conventional wisdom says that Cruz Bustamante’s campaign for Question 2 during the Gray Davis recall was confusing and/or made Dems complacent about voting yes on Question 1.

The Newsom campaign and the California Democratic Party say they didn’t want to confuse people… but it turns out it’s pretty confusing when Question 2 is right there in front of us! Some people are happy to just vote No and call it a day (which is absolutely fine; the most important thing is to send that no vote in!). But the rest of us are not wrong for wanting a say in who might replace Newsom if it comes to that. 

The potentially unfortunate consequence of the Democratic gamble is that with no anointed alternative to Newsom, a Republican wacko is highly likely to win Question 2. So Get Out The NO Vote on Question 1 is our best bet! (See above for those volunteer opportunities.)