Following my previous article, “Newsom Versus Davis: A Review of Two Very Different Recalls,” here’s how Republicans could have a chance at recalling Newsom and replacing him. This is based on both what happened in the 2003 recall of then-governor Gray Davis and what is different this time.
First, realize that what’s most different this time is the short distance to the Sept. 14 election, now less than two months away—and the short time in office to do anything. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the winner of the 2003 recall election, served as governor for more than three years in his first term.
The Newsom replacement will get just nine months from Inauguration Day in November to the adjournment of the legislative session on Aug. 31, 2022. Then there’s a new election on Nov. 8, 2022.
That presents a unique opportunity, never to be repeated: one candidate, with one reform idea, and an action agenda.
First, it’s crucial that the candidate not develop the elaborate platforms of a usual campaign—detailed plans for reforming education, the budget, climate change, the electricity grid, the water system, the roads, and so forth. Nobody cares now. If you already have such plans, deep-six them. You have nine months for one thing. Nothing else.
Second, the candidate should also pledge to serve only for this short term and not run for reelection.
Because if you don’t do that, then you’re really running on a five-year agenda, which gets you stuck in the cycle of the first point, above, of running a usual campaign in an unusual year.
The candidate’s campaign motto should be “Nine Months to Fix Issue X.”
Third, they need to embrace being a Republican.
Newsom and his Democratic allies, especially the powerful public-employee unions, are attacking this as the Republican recall. They know they need to rally their base, which doesn’t like Republicans.
But you’re just running for nine months of action.
“Let a Republican fix X issue for nine months. Then you can bring back a Democrat next November. Even Newsom, if you want him. Don’t know why. But you could,” the candidate could say.
Fourth, really pick just one issue and stick to it no matter what. It should involve something you could do with executive orders, the way Newsom has during the COVID-19 pandemic. The courts have upheld his powers. In any case, campaigning on signing executive orders, even if they’re thrown out later, would be a way to advance this one issue in the minds of the toiling masses.
What should issue X be? My suggestion: Follow the advice of political commentator Scott Adams and attack the teachers’ unions, the California Education Association, and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) for holding back black and Latino schoolchildren.
It’s well known that these kids are stuck in the worst schools, as the California Teachers Association and CFT prevent reforms such as merit pay for teachers and universal statewide school choice. You want their parents to become Republican voters just this one time. Then it might become a habit.
Here’s the main executive order to advance. Remember, we’re not concerned now about how to implement it or what might happen in the courts.
Executive Order 1: SB 160 from 1975, the Rodda Act, is hereby rescinded. It granted collective bargaining to the teachers’ unions. It put the unions on both sides of the negotiation table: on one side as the “employee” and on the other side as the “employer,” because the union funds the campaigns of union-friendly politicians. No wonder teacher pension costs have exploded and test scores have tanked since the act became law.
Don’t take my word for it. On Feb. 18, 2020, Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, actually wrote this on the union’s blog: “The school board is our boss. We have a unique power—we elect our bosses. It would be difficult to think of workers anywhere else who elect their bosses. We do. We must take advantage of it.”
And they do take advantage of it—to the detriment of schoolchildren, especially Latino and black kids.
The reasons for rescinding SB 160 are clear in the California Constitution. Article I, Section 31 (a) stipulates: “The State shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”
Article IX, Section 1: “A general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the Legislature shall encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural improvement.”
Article IX, Section 5: “The Legislature shall provide for a system of common schools by which a free school shall be kept up and supported in each district at least six months in every year, after the first year in which a school has been established.”
These clauses are clearly being violated by the crummy schooling doled out to poor and minority kids because of collective bargaining for the teachers’ unions. SB 160 is unconstitutional, therefore prima facie null and void.
Even if the candidate advancing this revolutionary agenda loses and Newsom stays in power, the revolution will have begun against the teachers unions’ monopoly. And the Republican Party will have galvanized an issue that would be the foundation for bringing itself back to relevance—and power.
There’s one more thing the candidate will need to do if he or she hopes to win: Stop being boring.
As Danton told the Legislature during the French Revolution: “L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace!” (Audacity, audacity, always audacity!)
John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. He has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He’s a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary to California State Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler@substack.com.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.