Point of View Columns

When Nightmares Become Real

The gubernatorial recall election circus in California is coming to a close. Very shortly (some of) the voters in the Golden State will decide whether Gavin Newsome should remain as governor of the state. If the decision is that he should not continue in office, the second part of the ballot has a couple of dozen Republican candidates from which voters could choose.


In that case the new governor of California will have been elected with far less than half of the votes cast. This is minority rule in living, breathing color and it could happen.


This nightmare scenario could happen because even though a small minority of voters could arrange for a recall, an even smaller minority could elect the next governor. This could take place even though the overwhelming majority of the people of California wouldn’t touch most of the Republican Dirty Dozens with a ten foot pole.


It is more important than ever that the American people realize that we have been living in an approximation of minority rule in this country for decades. Consider that the successful Republican presidential candidates have won the popular vote only once since 1988. Consider that the 50 Republicans in the Senate represent less than 40% of the American population. And it is certainly fair to say that with Republican presidents and senators putting their thumb on the scale of justice, the 6-3 protoconservative majority on the Supreme Court isn’t even close to giving full consideration to the prevailing concerns of the majority of the American people.


This has happened in large part because the protoconservatives – the right wing of the right wing – have had laser like focus on the real levers of power in the American governmental system. The Constitution vests a tremendous amount of power in the states (try taking a brief look at the 10th Amendment when you get a chance). With this bit of knowledge firmly in hand Republicans have managed to gain a stranglehold on the legislative process in over thirty states even though every credible poll indicates that less than 40% of Americans self-identify as Republicans.


Republican legislatures gerrymander districts to reduce the power of voters who don’t share their vision. Further, they redistrict electoral boundaries to literally reduce the number of non-Republicans who can win elections.


This in turn translates into significant power every four years when the rules of the Electoral College require state legislatures to validate the election of the president. And one would be right to be concerned about this particular fact after the refusal of many Republicans to accept the 2020 election results. This could easily result in the overturning of the election results in their favor as a certain ex-president wanted not too long ago.


Minority rule is further enabled by the tendency of moderate and progressive Democrats to look the other way while the Republicans the foundations of democracy. Usually its because too many people “don’t want to be bothered with politics” or seriously believe that there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans.


And when that happens you get California on the precipice of a public policy debacle of epic proportions. Whether it is Kaitlyn Jenner or Larry Elder or The Man With The Bear, if Gavin Newsome is recalled the people of California are in for a rude and cruel awakening. There will be too many people who will find out much too late that they needed “to be bothered with politics”.


The countdown begins.

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