California Recall Election: A Waste of Time and Money

After months, the right-wing Republican effort to recall Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom in California is finally over. Newsom hung onto his position by about 3 million votes, winning with about 64% voting No and 37% voting Yes on the recall. The margin of victory for Newsom just about matches the percentage of votes he received when he was elected governor in 2018.

And now that it is over, we have a clearer idea just how much of a waste of time and money it was. According to several analysts, when all the campaign spending and state spending to carry out the election are added up, the total money spent on this recall election could be as high as $500 million.

That’s $500 million dollars thrown away when so many people are suffering in the state.

At least 6.3 million Californians are below the federal poverty line.

About 20% of Californians suffer from food insecurity and do not know where their next meal will come from.

161,000 people in California are experiencing homelessness, with about 15% of the nation’s homeless families located in California.

Several counties in the state still have hospital bed shortages due to the pandemic.

School districts up and down the state don’t have enough COVID tests to carry out adequate infection prevention.

Large swaths of California are in dangerous fire territory, with enormous shortages of fire fighters and fire prevention efforts.

But Democrats and Republicans can spend $500 million dollars on an election about their party politics.

Newsom tried to spin the defeat of the recall as an endorsement of his job as Governor, saying:

I want to focus on what we said yes to as a state. We said yes to science … to vaccines … to ending this pandemic … [to] economic justice, social justice, racial justice, environmental justice … all of those things were on the ballot this evening.

It’s true that many people correctly saw their vote against the recall as a vote against the racist and anti-immigrant right-wing campaign of the Republican-led recall effort. But that is not the same thing as an endorsement of Gavin Newsom’s role as Governor.

Newsom and the Democrats don’t represent science or vaccines or ending the pandemic. It’s been the Democrats who’ve protected the interest of the multi-billion-dollar drug companies that hold the patents to the vaccines, and done next to nothing to make vaccines available throughout the world. In poorer countries, less than 2% of the population has been fully vaccinated. The longer the world remains unvaccinated, the more this virus has a chance to continue to mutate and produce more contagious variants like the Delta.