California Dreaming?

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

The New York Sun

Could the counter-revolution against a newly radicalized Democratic Party begin in, of all places, California? This is what we find ourselves wondering as the campaign to recall Governor Gavin Newsom hurtles toward a deadline in March. That’s when Republicans and other opponents of the flailing governor need to come up with something like 1.4 million verified signatures to trigger a recall election.

Quite a battle is under way in the signature campaign, we gather from the Coast papers. So far, reckons the Sacramento Bee, the recall camp has come up with 1.2 million signatures, only a third of which have yet to be verified. To net the required 1.4 million, estimates are that something like 2 million signatures will have to be gathered by the deadline. Though it might be possible, reports suggest that it won’t be easy.

Coast Democrats, it seems, take quite a different attitude on this signature business than Democrats do in, say — just to pick a state — Pennsylvania. In the general election just ended, Quaker State Democrats were in court even before election day, trying to get out of requirements to validate signatures on mail-in ballots — after all, the AP reported, Democrats were voting by mail at “an almost 3-to-1 rate over Republicans.”

At the Pennsylvania supreme court, the state’s key election official, Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat, prevailed. She won a ruling that, according to the AP, prohibited “counties from rejecting” mail-in ballots even “if the voter’s signature on it does not resemble the signature on the voter’s registration form.” Ms. Boockvar had warned that ballot rejections posed “a grave risk of disenfranchisement on an arbitrary and wholly subjective basis.”

The court bought it. “County boards of elections are,” it ruled, “prohibited from rejecting absentee or mail-in ballots based on signature comparison conducted by county election officials or employees, or as the result of third-party challenges based on signature analysis and comparisons.” We note all this simply to mark the contrast with how thoroughly Democrats are culling signatures for the recall vote on the Coast.

This may doom the recall, and we wouldn’t want to understate the scale of Democratic power in the Golden State. It’s home to the big Democtatic bastions of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and San Francisco. None of them, though, is at the moment in particularly good odor. The Democrats hold supermajorities in both houses of the legislature, and all statewide offices. Both Coast senators are Democrats.

What this means, though, is that for the GOP on the Coast there’s nowhere to go but up. Plus, too, the state has a conservative streak. Reagan and Nixon arose at California. It sent S.I. Hayakawa to the Senate, Devin Nunes to the House. The Hoover Institution is at California, where Proposition 13 helped ignite the Supply Side Revolution.

We wouldn’t want to make too much of any of this. In the Times this week, though, Bret Stephens has a column mocking California’s high taxes, soaring crime rates, and burgeoning emigration to other states. If Mr. Trump is gone, he reckons the “consequences of liberal misrule will be harder to disguise or disavow” — though, by our lights, they may also grow harder to disavow even if Mr. Trump sticks with the fight.

The New York Sun

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