Wednesday, September 15, 2021

California recall vote just another example of America's wacky political system

So, a bunch of Republicans in California decided they dislike Governor Gavin Newsom so much that they called a vote just a year before the regularly scheduled vote would have occurred anyway.

Wait, what? They can do that? Welcome to the weird and wacky world of American state politics. Democratic Governor Newsom was voted in during the 2018 gubernatorial elections with 62% of the vote in this overwhelmingly blue (Democratic) state. But the state's rules dictate that, if just 12% of the electorate get together to demand a recall, a whole new election can be held, and (if the vote says so) a new candidate of their choosing can be installed as Governor.

You would think that that way madness lies, and every time a party loses an election they could trigger a new one (and probably lose all over again). But this has apparently not been done since Arnold Schwartzenegger (remember him?) was installed by this method back in 2003.

Anyway, the most recent attempt has failed miserably, with Newsom polling about 64% in his favour, and California is spared the scary prospect of being "governed" by Trumpian talk-radio host Larry Elder. Was this just political theatre, then? Just a game to be played because the rules say it can be?

Either way, the good people of California, Republicans and Democrats alike, are on the hook for the $276 million costs of this ill-advised foray into policy wonkiness, and there will be another (regular) vote anyway in just over a year's time. It has led to some calls to reform the rules around electoral recalls, so that's something. Don't hold your breath, though. This is America, after all.

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