Thursday, May 20, 2021






        For the last 11 years, Democrats have controlled every statewide office in California, while gradually building their majorities in both houses of the state Legislature to levels significantly above the two-thirds needed to make Republicans irrelevant.


        But the instant the recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom qualified for a vote this fall, things changed for the state’s Democrats.


        Virtually unopposed and uncontrolled for years, they have passed one extreme liberal measure after another, from a ban on cash bail that was later canceled by the voters to massive spending on housing for the homeless, many of whom are not interested in moving there, and much more.


        They have overridden some local zoning authority and some lawmakers are now trying to pass measures that would all but end single family zoning in the state, an effort to eliminate what they deride as “urban sprawl,” a phenomenon many homeowners call breathing room.


        Now comes the recall, and suddenly the Democrats who dominate in Sacramento are being forcibly reminded that California voters on the whole are not super-lefties who want to deprive people of their vision of the mythical California Dream.


        For even if its success is rendered unlikely by the sheer dominance of the Democratic Party in voter registrations, the recall raises the possibility that Californians could elect a Republican governor, with veto powers over many liberal proposals for at least a year. That power could last longer if such a Republican should be reelected next year, the way movie muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger was in 2006, three years after becoming governor via the recall of ex-Gov. Gray Davis.


        This looming possibility might have legislative Democrats thinking seriously about some of their proposals, things like forcing the University of California to give up its hospitals’ links to Dignity Health facilities around the state or compelling cities and counties to allow apartment buildings of up to eight units on every piece of land, regardless of what local citizens or officials might want for their communities.


        In short, if Democrats are smart, they will moderate their views and their aims during the runup to the recall vote.

        This will be especially true if polls begin to show some lessening of the current approximate 10 percent edge no votes on the recall have among likely voters over yes votes.


        It is certainly true there is no recall candidate in the wings who can match the appeal the 2003 Schwarzenegger had to young and old because of his movie persona. But if the yes side gains traction among even a few Democrats, all bets will be off.


        All it would take for that to happen would be another hypocritical Newsom gaffe like his oversized, indoor dinner at the ultra-expensive and exclusive Michelin-rated French Laundry restaurant in Napa County last fall, where he was joined by influential lobbyist pals. At the time, state rules promulgated by Newsom prohibited gatherings of the size and configuration of his.


        That one incident did more to bring about the recall than any other single Newsom action or position. Imagine the impact if the governor commits a similar indiscretion now.


        With Newsom, in part because his buddies include some of San Francisco’s super-wealthy elite, this is a possibility.


        If there’s one thing the ultra-liberal Democrats who now control Sacramento could not stand, it would be having a Republican governor willing to veto their pet social-engineering proposals. So any day now, expect them to wake up and realize they must curb some of their enthusiasm for awhile for fear of forcing Newsom to choose between vetoing their bills or weakening his own chances of beating back the recall.


        There’s also the possibility the recall itself may lose, but a couple of those on the list of candidates for replacement governor perform well enough to become a credible threat to Newsom’s reelection a year later.


        That would be unprecedented, but with a recall, precedents don’t appear to matter very much.

    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It" is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit

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