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Where would the United States be without California? There would be 40 million fewer people, that’s for sure. In fact, emptying the state of people might be a great idea. The natural beauty of the state — its majestic mountains, picturesque lakes, and raging rivers — is the envy of the lower 48. Only Alaska outdoes California in scenic wonders.
But removing the human inhabitants from California isn’t possible, so I guess we’re stuck with them. I just wish most of them weren’t so damn loopy.
Politicians play to this loopiness. The loopier they act, the more popular they are. For some of them, it’s not an act. They really are that crazy. California Democratic politicians believe all sorts of things that simply aren’t so — that aren’t even possible on this planet.
For example, green Californians believe that if you prevent affordable housing from being built, it won’t affect the cost or availability of housing. Nature and the laws governing supply and demand have pretty much destroyed that fantasy, and yet they persist.
That’s another aspect of California politics — it continuously meets Einstein’s definition of crazy (“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”).
Republicans aren’t much saner. Most of them devoutly wish Ronald Reagan would return as governor. They’re like a cargo cult awaiting the return of C-47s to supply them. California Republicans are mostly lost and are barely a political party at all.
This is the backdrop to the September 14 recall election that will determine the fate of Governor Gavin Newsom who dared close the beaches during the pandemic. That’s tantamount to closing churches, which he actually did too. And businesses. Suffice it to say, that a lot of Californians are mad at Newsom for a lot of reasons.
On the recall ballot, there will be two questions because the state never, ever, does anything simply. The first question is easy enough: Should Newsom be forced to walk the plank and leave office?
It’s the second question that should raise a few eyebrows. If he should be recalled, who should replace him? There follow 47 names of ordinary citizens, stars of stage, screen, and the media, as well as a few Republican politicians.
Ordinarily, you might ask why they didn’t trim that list down to three or four names in the interest of simplicity? Californians never do anything simply. Or easily. Democracy, as we all know, is very hard and Californians want everyone to know just how hard it is. So they made it ridiculously easy to get on the recall ballot. Eventually, 40 million people will be able to claim they ran for governor which should make for some fascinating barstool conversations.
But the wealth of candidates presents its own set of problems. The leading GOP candidate to replace Newsom should he be recalled is radio talk show host Larry Elder — a very nice man running a very nice campaign. Elder has a very nice personal history and offers a very nice conservative vision for California.
If you get the idea that Elder is a very nice man, that’s all he needs to win.
The leading Democratic candidate, Kevin Paffrath, is an “internet celebrity” which means for an old fuddy-duddy like me, I’ve never heard of him. He appears on one of them new-fangled websites — it’s called YouTube which is strange when you ask who else’s tube would it be?
By day, Kevin Paffrath is a mild-mannered real estate investor in a quaint metropolitan realtor office. But by night, he morphs into a wealth-building machine. You know the type. The hard sell with the soft voice. He actually gives pretty good advice to people just starting out. But maybe someone should ask him, how does a bill become law in California? That might be considered important when considering who to vote for.
Larry Elder, the venerable conservative from the oldest of mass media vs. Kevin Paffrath, YouTube “sensation” of the internet age. What’s not to like?