Arguments Against the Recall

If the recall succeeds, whoever gets the most votes immediately takes office as the new governor. If the voter turnout is low, and it probably will be, particularly in a special election, a very small percentage of the electorate could chose the governor. If the recall is successful, we could see the same tit-for-tat that we now experience in the selection of federal judges. Republican Governors Reagan, Deukmejian, and Wilson all either increased spending, increased taxes, or both. The political instability resulting from the recall effort is damaging California’s credit rating, increasing borrowing costs, and exacerbating the fiscal crisis. The recall is part of a national Republican strategy to gain power by bypassing the normal election system. This is exactly what Republicans did in Florida in 2000, and now they are trying to do it in California in 2003. Voters would choose from a potentially long list of candidates, and only a plurality of votes would be required to win. Because nothing limits the number of candidates who may appear on the ballot, a candidate could win with only a few percentage points. Replacing a legitimately and recently re-elected governor with a candidate who wins by only a small fraction of the vote is not in the democratic tradition, especially when the governor faces no allegations of genuine malfeasance or criminality. We should not encourage a wealthy, opportunistic, and far too ambitious politician to overturn a fair election. Money already plays too great a role in politics. Using the recall against an elected official simply because you do not like him is unfair and dangerous. During the boom of the 90’s, many Republican legislators voted in favor of budgets that raised spending. And many also sought expensive new projects for their districts.

It is the nationwide recession, encouraged by Bush’s profligate spending and outrageous tax cuts for the wealthy, that must share the blame for fiscal woes that have left all but three states with big deficits. Some of these tapped-out states even have a Republican in the statehouse and Republicans dominating the legislature.