Potential Gamesmanship by the Supermajority to Frustrate a Republican Governor

By John Moorlach
John Moorlach
John Moorlach
John Moorlach is a former Orange County Supervisor who most recently served as a state senator. He previously spent 12 years as Orange County’s Treasurer-Tax Collector, and led the county out of bankruptcy.
August 17, 2021 Updated: August 24, 2021


The Sept. 14 recall election is rapidly approaching. Polling indicates a 50 percent chance that Gov. Gavin Newsom will be recalled, possibly making him the second governor to incur the voters’ wrath in California’s 171-year history, and within the past two decades.

The recall of Gray Davis in 2003 was the first in California’s history and the second in U.S. history. They are rarer than Halley’s Comet. This is a big deal!

Let’s say that the polling goes 60/40 and portends Newsom can expect to pack up his belongings and leave the Capitol. What should the state Legislature be considering, since the supermajority always plays games with the system? They certainly proved this when enough signatures were being gathered to recall state Sen. Josh Newman.

The California Legislature is currently working feverishly voting on measures before the end-of-session deadline on Sept. 10. Although this is their top priority, it would be possible to sneak in a new bill or two that would address normally unnecessary, but now urgent, matters. This could easily be done by using a budget trailer bill.

If they fail to address two critical matters before Sept. 10, and sensing that Newsom may lose, the Democratic leadership in the Legislature may approach Newsom and ask him to hold a special session on Sept. 13, the day before voting concludes.

The first issue is the current state of emergency, the length of which has become record-breaking. What if a Republican is elected to replace Newsom? Certainly, that individual can’t have the authority to issue executive orders until Jan. 3, when the Legislature officially reconvenes. What to do? Why not have the supermajority vote to conclude the state of emergency before the close of the current session or during the one-day special session?

Should Newsom dodge a bullet and the recall vote narrowly fails, then he can call another special session to have the supermajority reinstate the state of emergency and allow him to return once again to using the dictatorial powers that this status brings.

Sound farfetched? Not with this supermajority. They will come up with any remedy to avoid an embarrassing situation, like allowing a GOP governor unfettered control. A Republican issuing executive orders would drive the supermajority crazy. So, remedy it with cute gamesmanship.

The other recently raised concern would be regarding U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein. What if a Republican becomes California’s governor, and Feinstein leaves office before the end of next year? The supermajority won’t stand for a Republican governor appointing her replacement. Neither will the national Democratic Party, as switching out a Democratic U.S. senator for a Republican would change the dynamics of national politics and frustrate President Biden’s agenda. What to do?

Get cute and ask Feinstein to resign now and let Newsom appoint her replacement hours before the potentially successful recall vote.

With the progressive side of the party demanding that Feinstein step down, she could agree to their request in the nick of time. Hopefully, she could also decline and ask them to pray for her good health until she concludes her term in office.

And you thought the recall was a simple game of checkers. It’s not. The possibility of losing a governor who easily signs bills makes the supermajority shudder.

It obviously won’t be easy for a potential Republican winner to serve as governor if the recall is successful. But the ability to issue executive orders, appoint a new U.S. senator, or even appoint new state Supreme Court justices, would make for fun Capitol theater.

Recalling Newsom is a bipartisan endeavor. Although he’s been in office for close to three years, where are the accomplishments on wildfires? Homelessness? Public safety power shutoffs? Unemployment benefits (EDD)? Stopping high-speed rail? Crime? Water? Honestly, being supportive of digital innovation? Housing? Protecting and encouraging charter schools? The list is so long.

California has a governor that the public employee unions want. Of the more than $50 million that has flowed in to support him, a massive portion comes from this special interest group! Unions virtually run Sacramento through intimidation, because of their financial clout. But it’s not in your self-interest, it’s in theirs, and it will translate into even higher taxes in the future.

You, as an investor in California with your personal income, sales, property, gas, and multiple other taxes and fees, need to exercise your vote. This is a serious event and demands your participation.

It’s time for an intervention. Let’s upset the current paradigm and demand that Sacramento’s legislative elected leaders start on restoring California. The time for the Golden State being the butt of jokes around the nation is over. It’s time for its taxpayers to send a message, and then let’s enjoy the subsequent drama.

Godspeed to the next Republican governor of California.

John Moorlach
John Moorlach
John Moorlach is a former Orange County Supervisor who most recently served as a state senator. He previously spent 12 years as Orange County’s Treasurer-Tax Collector, and led the county out of bankruptcy.