S. E. Williams |

While we have all grown weary of COVID-19’s unforgiving impact on our lives, as Californians we have not lost our sense of political purpose nor our grip on  reality; and when it comes to the game of politics, we are not fooled by the significant role of Trumpism in the Newsom recall election.

This is largely because recall advocates and their feigned and heavy-handed grievances against the governor are as transparent as glass.

Few of us would say Newsom is a perfect politician, and neither are any of the others. However, few can argue that he has not acted with intention to make progress on his campaign promises. He presents as a liberal leader who has never claimed to be anything but that, and although he is yet to deliver on all his promises, his term is not over and he is the man we elected in 2018 to lead California into the future.

In his inaugural address Newsom proclaimed, “We will aim high, and we will work like hell to get there.”

Certainly, some of his work in progress is stymied by the unrelenting coronavirus. But let’s get real—this election is not about his work in progress. This election is not about his having gone too far to deliver on his liberal promises. And, in many ways, it is not about right-wing frustration with the mandates Newsom implemented to curb the virus’ spread, though they are being conveniently used to help motivate the virus-ignoring, anti-maskers in support of the recall. Finally, although there may be some  corporate backlash in response to many of his liberal policies it does not account for the aggression driving the recall. 

What it is about, however, is what Newsom has done and may do as a forward-thinking governor. This is what has angered right-wing extremists and fueled their slavish and vitriolic recall campaign.

Remember, Newsom halted the death penalty; put restrictions on police use of force; closed some prisons; is shutting down the use of private prisons by the state; has reimagined the juvenile justice system and closed many of those facilities; advocated for the largest stimulus ever enacted in the state; expanded the state’s anti-poverty program; established a framework for equity in school funding and extended rent and utility debt relief, among other justice-centered, equity-based actions.

All of this is antithetical and offensive to the “White privilege is supreme, let those in need ‘eat cake,’” philosophy advocated by the Trumpsters.

We do not have to imagine what California will become if Newsom is recalled and replaced by Trump acolyte, Larry Elder. Yes, Elder is an educated man, but by many measures, an educated fool with a loud-mouth and limited finesse. He is someone who regurgitates Trump ideology and then can hardly give a reasoned explanation for such positions as he tries to claim such beliefs and philosophies are his own, original thoughts. Any right-thinking Black man should be ashamed to align himself and embrace the vitriol of such an overt racist.

In a way you almost feel sorry for someone like Elder who is lost in the fog of magic negroism. He is a  classic example of how some people will sell their souls—and their Black cards—hoping for a seat at a table where the hosts—Trump and his right-wing extremists—have shown again and again for people of Elder’s hue, the table in the dining room is not for people like him unless he is  carrying in a tray of “yes sirs” to serve as a side dish when called upon to do so. 

“. . . [P]rominent Republicans with ties to Trump are driving the effort, and some of them have supported efforts to toughen voting laws in other states. Trump hasn’t publicly supported the recall, but those in his corner certainly have.”

Sophia Bollag, “Fact Check . . .” The Sacramento Bee

But, enough about this lost brother. I promised myself not to overuse my digital bits and bytes on Elder and his dangerous nonsense, and instead to use my voice to encourage my friends and neighbors in the Inland Empire to take this recall election seriously and to stress how important it is for them to vote NO.  

It does not take much to imagine what could happen in California if Newsom is recalled and replaced with a Trumpster. Just look at the chaos this nation lived through for four years under the Trump administration and the lingering damage his ineptitude, racism, sexism, avariciousness, penchant for plutocracy, and kleptocratic style of leadership has wrought.

And, if that is not enough to energize you to complete your mail-in-ballot and respond to the first question, “Do you want to recall the governor?” with a resounding NO, and return it by mail right away, you should also consider what else could be in store for Californians if Republican extremists gain political control of the state.

Today, California is among the most successful states in the nation when it comes to expanding voter access, but according to the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy that was not always the case.

When California adopted its original Constitution in 1849 only White men could vote. When the 15th amendment gave Black men the right to vote in 1870, California was one of only two free states that refused to ratify it. This state has a long history of voter suppression based on race and class through voter registration laws.

If we believe what is happening across the country in Republican led states where Trumpsters are working overtime to suppress the votes of people of color, young people and the elderly is real—do not believe the hype that it cannot happen here. Voter suppression is in the DNA of this state and we must fight hard to protect the progress we have made for all Californians in this regard.

We must also remember some of the most rabid supporters of the Trump ideology hail from California, including Kevin McCarthy who represents the state’s 23rd congressional district and serves as minority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. There’s also Devin Nunes who represents the states 23rd congressional district and who not only led the relentless Republican side-show known as the Benghazi Hearings that continued for much of the Obama administration. And, as the once ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, he purportedly and inappropriately fed the Trump White House key information in relation to the first impeachment hearings.

This Recall election is no accident. It is a tired reminder of how Republicans previously took control of California—through an off-year recall election. The Trump extremists in their party will stop at nothing, pull out all the stops, bend any rule, violate any principle, to work their minority will in the state.  

It is now up to all of us to push back, to fight against this effort, to prove them wrong, to let them know we will not allow this recall approach to work again—not on our watch.

Everything is convenient for us to participate in this election. Just open your mail-in-ballot, answer No to the first question, and return it as soon as possible in the postage-paid envelope included.  

California Percentage of Vote-by-Mail Ballots Out of Total Votes

(Source: UCLA Lusk Center for History and Policy)

We’ve shown what’s possible with mail in ballots during general elections in previous years and we can do the same in this Recall election because we all know that “voting is the one right which protects all other rights” and makes true progress possible.

Return your Recall  ballot with a No vote today or no later than September 14th!

Of course, this is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.

Stephanie Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News. A longtime champion  for civil rights and justice in all its forms, she is also an advocate for government transparency and committed to ferreting out and exposing government corruption. Stephannie has received awards for her investigative reporting and for her weekly  column, Keeping it Real. Contact Stephanie with tips, comments. or concerns at myopinion@ievoice.com.

S.E. Williams

Stephanie E. Williams is an award winning investigative reporter, editor and activist who has contributed to several Inland Empire publications. Williams spent more than thirty years as a middle-manager...