The Newsome Recall is a Republican Ploy to Retake the Senate

If you’re a Californian, September 14 is an important day.

That’s the day republicans hope to unseat Democratic governor Gavin Newsome in a special recall election.

Citing the administration’s policies regarding taxes, immigration, homelessness, and the state’s drought emergency, Newsome is facing opposition from Larry Elder, Kevin Faulconer, and Caitlyn Jenner.

Yes, that Caitlyn Jenner.

But the recall is actually about more than a referendum on Newsome’s performance.

California’s US senators are Democrats Alex Padilla–appointed to fill Kamala Harris’s seat when she become vice president–and Dianne Feinstein.

Feinstein is 88 years old, less than half-way through her six-year term.

She had a pacemaker installed in 2017.

The New Yorker magazine published a story last year exploring the concern many familiar with Sen. Feinstein have expressed over her potential cognitive decline.

Many argue these claims are hyperbolic.

But just as republicans are obsessed with baseless theories about President Joe Biden’s supposed senility, they are similarly looking at Feinstein and seeing a potential republican replacement.

One responsibility governors have is appointing people to fill vacancies in their states’ federal delegations in the event of resignation, removal, or death.

If Feinstein were to step down or, G_d forbid, die in office, the California governor would appoint her successor to finish her term.

If that governor is Gavin Newsome, her successor will likely be another Democrat.

But if that governor is a republican…

It’s not like this is some unlikely scenario.

The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, who died in September, was contemplating retiring during Barack Obama’s presidency, but anticipated Hillary Clinton succeeding him and wished to see a woman elected president before stepping down.

Her death presented former president Donald Trump a third SCOTUS vacancy, which he filled with Amy Coney-Barrett (whose nomination McConnell had no problem acknowledging despite it being an election year).

As CNN reported recently:

“Having witnessed Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death just weeks before the November 2020 election give then-President Donald Trump another Supreme Court appointee, and with fears over the 82-year-old Stephen Breyer’s seat on the court, a number of Democrats are worried the Senate could flip, too. And they privately say that in the immediate aftermath of a Newsom loss, the calls would intensify to urge Feinstein to step aside before a GOP governor could be sworn into office.”

There is cause for concern.

Voter apathy for recall elections is high.

The Guardian reported:

“Only 36% of all registered voters want to oust Newsom, but that number rises to 47% when polling likely voters, according to a poll by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies. And a recent CBS News poll found that 72% of Republican voters were ‘very motivated’ to participate in the recall, while just 61% of Democrats felt the same.”

The poll’s director, Mark DiCamillo, explained:

“Turnout is likely to be far higher among Republicans than Democrats and ‘no party preference’ voters. And, since nearly all Republicans favor Newsom’s ouster, a larger proportion of likely voters are voting yes.”

About republicans’ projected high turnout, James Lance Taylor, University of San Francisco political scientist, said:

“They’re hoping that Democrats are just not interested enough, that not enough Democrats will return the ballots, allowing [Larry] Elder to sneak in the back door and become governor of California.”

Democrats of California, cast those ballots for Gavin Newsome and stop the GOP power grab.

The Senate is already teetering on a precarious Democratic majority.

Don’t let Senate Minority Leader Mitch “The Grim Reaper” McConnell regain the title of “Majority Leader” he lost to NY Sen. Chuck Schumer this year.

There is too much at stake.

Image credit: Flickr

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, Liberal Nation Rising, and Medium.