Why vote NO on the recall of California Gov. Gavin Newsom
The recall movement against Gov. Newsome in California is a right wing effort with backing from corporate interests. | Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Thanks to an effort launched early last year by anti-tax, anti-immigrant Republicans eager to rebuild their failing party in the country’s most populous state, California voters are facing a stark choice on September 14: whether to keep Democratic Governor Newsom in office or to replace him from a field of candidates dominated by Trump clones.

Forty-six candidates, over half of whom are Republicans, are running to unseat Newsom. They include far-right radio host Larry Elder, now leading the pack; former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, an outspoken Trump supporter; and businessman John Cox, who lost badly to Newsom in 2018. They are relying on right-wing big money from California and out-of-state, and the support of far right wingers former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Linked to recall campaign activities are members of neo-fascist, para-military groupings like the Proud Boys and Three Percenters – the very groups that violently took over the nation’s capital with Trump’s encouragement on January 6.

Some Republican candidates in the recall race may employ diversionary issues and tactics or moderate their positions to hoodwink California voters who tend to be more liberal. But overtly or covertly, Republican candidates ascribe to undemocratic practices, immigrant scare tactics, racist stereotypes, sexist behavior, homophobic loathing, support for the death penalty, weakening gun laws, and climate change denial.

In essence, everything that Trump favors and Gov. Newsom opposes.

According to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies/Los Angeles Times poll, while just 36% of all registered voters say they would recall the governor and 50 percent are opposed, some 47% of voters who are most likely to go to the polls would vote to recall him – a difference just short of the survey’s margin of error.

The Republican far right is counting on California’s substantial Democratic voter majority and progressive-leaning independent voters to stay home, lulled by a false sense that there is no way a small Republican minority will unseat Newsom.

On the line is the protection of hard-won gains that Gov. Newsom expanded such as increased pay, paid sick leave and paid family leave, doubling the earned-income tax credit for low-income families, and expanding the right to form unions, including signing legislation to give childcare workers the right to organize.

California Labor Federation leader Art Pulaski put it this way: “California has the strongest worker protections in the nation.” Pulaski added, “As the pandemic ripped through our state, the governor acted quickly and decisively to protect essential workers,” mandating sick leave for COVID, ramping up health and safety protections, requiring employers to report workplace outbreaks, and following scientific guidelines concerning the pandemic.

And according to Bloomberg News, the state “has no peers among developed economies for creating jobs, raising household income, manufacturing growth, investment in innovation, producing clean energy, and backing common-sense gun safety laws.”

Clearly, electing a far-right, pro-Trump Republican to rule the most populous state in the nation, and a beacon of progressive politics, is out of the question.

It is urgent that Californians vote in the September 14 recall election, and make sure that family members and friends vote, as well.


Juan Lopez
Juan Lopez

Juan Lopez is chairman of the Communist Party in northern California and statewide coordinator. He has been a labor and community activist during the nearly forty years he's lived in Oakland, where he and his wife raised three children. He was formerly a member of the Teamsters union and a shop steward.

Marilyn Bechtel
Marilyn Bechtel

Marilyn Bechtel writes from the San Francisco Bay Area. She joined the PW staff in 1986 and currently participates as a volunteer. Marilyn Bechtel escribe desde el Área de la Bahía de San Francisco. Se unió al personal de PW en 1986 y actualmente participa como voluntaria.