California is one of the only states to have successfully recalled a governor. It has happened only once in the history of the state. That infamous Governor? Governor Gray Davis (D) who lost his recall election to the moderate Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger back in 2003.
Which was the other state to successfully recall their Governor, and what was the Governor's name? Well that would be Governor Lynn Frazier of North Dakota in 1921, according to CNBC, who was recalled over a socialist style takeover of private industry by the state government.
The only other recall measure that successfully made it to the ballot was a 2012 recall election against Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and he won that challenge easily.
The point of that history is to show you just how hard it is to actually recall a governor. It's not easy, and though there are recall petitions for just about every governor elected in every state that has a recall provision, every time, the majority of them are just silly at best.
That said, there was a legitimate hope that Newsom would be recalled. Early polling, particularly after he was caught violating his own COVID restrictions, showed that he was extremely vulnerable. In fact, had the recall election been held at that time, he likely would have been the second California Governor recalled.
Yet it was not held back then, and in the ensuring months, Newsome played the one card that he had a reasonable suspicion would get him through all of this. What was that card?
His knowledge that people in California overwhelmingly supported his policies and were only mad because he broke them.
For Newsome, this was an easy obstacle to overcome. All he truly had to do was convince the citizens of California that he REALLY did believe in the policies that he had just flaunted, and all would be forgiven, after all they really do like what he's doing.
Yes, this is similar to the Trump and Republican relationship in many ways. Vast majorities supported his policies, but only a few diehard supporters supported him. In the same way, the majority of Californians support Newsome's policies, even if they were fed up with his personal defiance of them.
That's why he survived, not because of how he, "beat Larry Elder."
Astoundingly, over 50% of polled Californians APPROVE of both Newsome's vaccine mandate and his mask mandate. Over 45% of those polled said they would also approve of a "Vaccine Passport" to prove that a person was indeed vaccinated. Newsome did not win this election because he was some kind of superior candidate to Larry Elder, he won because he was giving the people of California what they wanted.
All he had to do was not fall into the trap of getting caught violating it again.
So he played the role of the dutiful politician. He was conspicuous about his mask wearing. He made a spectacle of his getting vaccinated. He beat the drum that those living in California wanted to hear, and they fell in line and marched to his rhythm.
Honestly, it was like "convincing" ducks to eat bread.
This is why the recall election never stood a chance, and it is also why those in conservative states will never understand why. We cannot fathom a state so indoctrinated by a "village mentality" that they would give up their freedoms just to "feel better." They trust their government and have not even questioned why they are doing what they are doing.
Unlike the rest of us who are naturally suspicious of anything the government does, they are all too happy to have government strong arm enforcing whatever the heck the masses happen to desire at this given moment.
Even Rome's mob was not as easy to control as California's is.
Governor Newsom put on a dog and pony show, he gave them bread and circuses, he, like the Caesars of the past, gave the people what they wanted, and to modify a line from the movie The Gladiator, "they love him for it."
No, I cannot explain it to you. I can tell you why it happened, but I cannot explain it to you. The mindset of treating COVID like it is Ebola is just so far beyond me that I could not explain it to you if I studied human psychology for years. The idea of exchanging the comfort of math and statistics for the fear of emotionalism and "big numbers" flummoxes me. How could I possibly explain to you what I cannot even begin to fathom?
Yet, in the end, the people of California got what they wanted, and just like the homeless tent cities everywhere, the drug needles that line certain parts of the cities, and the wildfires that destroy entire cities each year, they are the ones who will have to live with the consequences of their decisions.
I'm just glad I do not.
Most of the people that I know feel the same way.