Don Rogers: Recall all in Democrats’ hands

The answer for Democrats is simple.

No need for screeching about the undemocratic nature of a recall election that proceeded within our system, um, democratically.

No need for screaming at, being appalled by, questioning not only the logic but the very soul of anyone entertaining the thought that it may not be an entirely bad idea to consider a replacement for Gov. Gavin Newsom.

No need to posit that anyone else in the position would wreak disaster upon the masses, as if truly a king and a fickle one at that, as if the other branches of state government did not exist.

No, this one is easy, as easy as batting away flies from the angel food. You only have to vote.


The polls in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election were correct, I believe. Hilary Clinton was favored by margins enough to win the Electoral College, as well as the popular vote. All those people surveyed had to do was … well, you know.

Of course, under our archaic system founded when powdered wigs were the rage, President Donald Trump won the electoral count and therefore the election in three northern states — where Clinton was favored — by a total of 78,000 votes. Far more Democrats than that didn’t bother casting theirs.

Oh, plenty took to the streets after that, marching furiously with Resistance! signs, wearing funny hats, claiming lots of suppression. But the truth was too many were too lazy to follow through when it counted.

You’d think that would be lesson enough to last beyond the next presidential election. But here we are. Newsom could well lose in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one.

Yes, Republicans today aim to make voting as inconvenient as possible, and they’ll happily point out Jim Crow was considerably worse under yesterday’s conservative Southern Democrats, who — ahem — became today’s conservative Republicans. For my part, I enjoy modern Republicans tacitly acknowledging liberal movements while taking credit for GOP achievements back when the party was downright progressive.

The ground game in politics always is ugly. A conservative Supreme Court in 2013 knocked out the pegs of federal voting laws that had remedied some of the Crow crap. Republican states have cinched down ever since with each excuse to do so.

GOP political lives increasingly are at stake. So within the confines of the law, they’ll add friction where they can to keep groups from collecting and delivering votes en masse; make voters show ID as if ordering a beer; have fewer polling places in parts of town that tend to vote Democratic; throw in unnecessary rules on voting by mail.

It’s all annoying and done in the wrong spirit, calculated to keep electing Republicans where they currently hold legislative majorities.

Today’s Republicans know they don’t have to make voting nearly impossible, as once was common. They only have to make it a little annoying. Why? Because Democrats don’t vote.


California is not Texas. The supermajority is not Republican. Voting could not be easier in this state. Democrats win handily statewide and in most nooks. Most of these races aren’t even close.

So why should Newsom be worried? Why should Democrats be shrieking when they command two-thirds of the electorate, along with pretty much all of the Legislature and judiciary?

Recalls are not easy, but they are not impossible, either. Only 1.4 million valid signatures out of 22 million eligible voters were required to put just the second of 55 attempts in our state’s history since 1913 to recall a governor on the ballot. More than 2 million signatures were turned in, and at least 1.7 million were validated. Twelve percent of the turnout in the previous gubernatorial election is required to qualify.

This is the democratic process, like it or not. A recall election is valid and real.

Democracy would hardly be broken if a Republican took the position because Democrats in the bluest of the blue states couldn’t manage to cast enough ballots. It might actually stir back to life at the state level.

The Legislature would perk up, certainly. Those executive powers would be clipped. Sure, there’d be at least a period of gridlock, though some of us view a pause for breath as better than the path we’re on now.

Yes, this recall election is dumb and a complete waste of money. We agree there. But it’s here, and legitimately so.

So what now? The answer is easy enough, and Republicans have next to nothing to say about the outcome. So Democrats, lick your wounds from this outrageous fortune, trundle however reluctantly to the mailbox, and return your ballot. You don’t even to have to lick a stamp. Or is that still asking too much?

Don Rogers is the publisher of the Sierra Sun and The Union, based in Grass Valley. He can be reached at or 530-477-4299

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