California Governor Gavin Newsom has launched a campaign to prevent his removal from office after his opponents collected more than 2 million signatures in favor of a recall.
Newsom, who has received countless criticisms for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, said he is “concerned” about the possibility of being impeached and on social media he said he will “fight” because “there is too much at stake.”
California’s highest authority affirmed that his removal is part of a Republican Party move; however, he omits that the state’s population has expressed its displeasure with the decisions he made to deal with COVID-19.
Newsom was elected with 62% of the vote two years ago and has seen his approval ratings plummet because of measures to shut down businesses, keep schools closed and poorly undertake the rollout of vaccines.
It has been civil society, along with non-profit organizations, that have focused on collecting signatures to get Newsom recalled. They assure that it is a non-partisan movement and that they have already collected more than 2 million signatures when the minimum should be 1.5 million, duly verified.
The deadline to collect them is this Wednesday, March 17; and the counties have until April 29 to verify them. If the number of signatures is confirmed, the recall election would be this year, between November and December at the latest.
If the goal is met, recall organizers would have the ability to send a ballot to the people asking if they want the governor to continue. In effect, voters would decide whether to recall Newsom. If they vote “yes,” they would then choose from a list of candidates to replace him.
In the face of what appears to be an impending recall, Democrats began sending out videos of support and a fundraising effort, with the backing of progressive lawmakers from across the country, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and socialist, Bernie Sanders.
“People want recovery and they want it now,” said John Kabateck, director of the National Federation of Independent Business in California. “Small business owners are confused, scared and overwhelmed by what the government is asking them to do,” he said.
Newsom has been embroiled in scandals that could take a toll on him at the time of his ouster. Late last year, photographs uploaded to the Internet were made public in which Newsom was shown mingling, maskless, among guests at a dinner at the upscale French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley. Newsom apologized for attending the dinner and called the event a “blunder.”
Adding to this, California has now been one of the slowest states to distribute the vaccine to the population. “Governor Newsom should leave office because he has mishandled the COVID pandemic so badly, but we also have a significant number of jobs leaving the state, and the number of homeless people has grown much more during his tenure,” said Joe Collins, a former Republican congressional candidate.
Gavin Newsom turned California into “a disaster”
In a report on what is happening in California, NPR reporter Eric Westervelt noted, “California went from being a national model to a disaster (…) California’s per capita death numbers (…) are, in many cases, equal to or worse than many states that have been far less restrictive.”
On the other hand, data from Johns Hopkins University reveal that California reported 3.6 million COVID-19 infections, while Florida, which did not take such severe restrictions, had 1.9 million. According to the study, California’s total number of COVID-19 cases as a percentage of the population is approximately 8.8%, while Florida’s is approximately 8.3%.
From February through April, 3.3 million small businesses nationwide disappeared, according to an analysis by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. In California, 30% of small businesses remained closed in November and at least 19,000 closed permanently, according to a report by the Little Hoover Commission, a state oversight agency.
The political fate of the Democratic governor, who now not only faces an uphill battle to win any election, but is on the verge of what appears to be imminent recall, is not yet known.