The California Recall Shows It's Fine to Not Vote For Candidates You Don't Support

Millions rejected choosing any alternative to Gov. Newsom. Did they “throw their vote away?” Of course not.


Had this week's California recall election succeeded, millions of Democrats would have inadvertently helped to get Republican radio host Larry Elder elected governor. How? By choosing to reject alternatives to Gov. Gavin Newsom. There's a lesson here in how Democrats and Republicans treat third-party voters and others who reject the options the two big parties feed them.

The recall failed, and it failed badly. The vote totals are still incomplete, but with about 75 percent of the ballots tallied, 3.3 million Californians voted to recall Newsom and 5.8 million voted to keep him.

But that was just the first question on the ballot. All the voters, regardless of how they voted on the first question, had the opportunity to choose one of the 46 candidates running to replace Newsom. Those votes don't really matter now, since the recall failed. But obviously, each individual voter would have no way of knowing the recall would fail until after the election.

So far, the state has counted 9.2 million ballots. Only 5.1 million of those voters chose a candidate to replace Newsom. A full 4 million voters ignored the second question—which, to be clear, was something the Democratic establishment was encouraging them to do.

Elder got by far the most votes among the replacement candidates, with 2.3 million. In second place was Kevin Paffrath, a real estate YouTuber running as a Democrat. He received a mere 500,000 votes.

For the sake of argument, let's assume all the voters who ignored the second question were Newsom supporters and Democrats. (In reality, there no doubt were a number of people who voted for the recall but declined to choose a successor and a number of Republicans who rejected the recall.) If all those people had voted for Paffrath, he would have beaten Elder. But if the recall had succeeded with the current replacement votes, the governor's office would have changed parties, because those Newsom backers didn't vote on the second question. Millions of Democrats essentially threw their second votes away, something both the major parties often accuse third-party voters of doing.

This is a thought exercise, and admittedly, a bit of a stretch. In order for the recall to have succeeded, millions of those very same people would had to have voted for the recall, meaning they no longer supported Newsom. And presumably, had they done so, they probably would have selected a replacement. There were several Democrats on the ballot, though the state Democratic Party declined to support or endorse any of them, and no major names within the party ran.

The people who declined to choose a successor didn't know for sure that the recall would fail. But they knew that they didn't want anybody else. So rather than choosing the most palatable of the 46 alternatives, they opted out. They rejected the choice.

Were they wrong to do so? Absolutely not. Yes, there was a chance that it would have backfired in their faces. But there's no moral problem with looking at the choices in front of you and deciding to reject them all, or to go with some "fringe" choice that best represents your positions. These voters decided that Newsom was their man, and they weren't going to settle for some random Democrats even if that meant that Elder might become governor.

Good for them. Well, not for supporting Newsom: He's a terrible governor. But he's the terrible governor that they want.

You might think that, having had the experience of deciding that the most morally correct response to the recall was to refuse to vote for a replacement, Democrats would learn that people who vote for third-party candidates or don't vote at all might have good reasons to do so. Rather than blaming them for, say, Hillary Clinton's presidential defeat, they might ask how the party ends up with such unappealing candidates that they have to beg, plead, and ultimately shame people into voting for them.

Instead, the Democratic establishment has concluded that democracy itself is to blame. The big argument right now is that recalls are too easy and the rules need to change. In fact, petitions circulate virtually every year to try to recall California governors and other state politicians. Very few of them ever make it to the vote.

Meanwhile, California already has mechanisms in place to deprive voters of candidate choices. The state's top-two run-off system leaves many folks stuck with two candidates from the same political party in November, with third-party candidates shoved out months earlier.

Newsom's recall arguably happened not because there was too much democracy but because there wasn't enough. Too many people felt they had no say in the lockdowns or in Newsom's authoritarian emergency orders. That the recall ever gained any traction at all reflected resistance to harmful policies that, despite what Newsom might claim, were not "following the science" about preventing the spread of COVID-19. Other states' lawmakers have pushed back when governors abuse their emergency powers in a pandemic. But not in California, leaving citizens without a lot of recourse.

This is also why ballot initiatives have become such a big deal in California. Democratic leaders in this one-party state habitually pass laws that serve the needs of entrenched interests, leaving direct democracy as the citizens' line of defense. We saw that with A.B. 5, the terrible law that absolutely demolishes Californians' right to work as freelancers. It took a ballot initiative to weaken it, and the unions are still fighting it (and unfortunately winning). Sometimes ballot initiatives are the only way to bypass an unresponsive state government.

California is in not in danger of having too much democracy. Citizens should slap down (metaphorically) any attempt by the Democratic Party to undermine the state's recall systems, which progressives put in place to give citizens the ability to respond when politicians are so beholden to special interests that voters are just ignored.

Above all, the number of people who ignored the second question on their recall ballots should remind Democrats that not voting can be a moral rejection of bad choices. Neither Democrats nor Republicans are entitled to voter support just because they've managed to create a political environment where they're only the options voters are given. That's anti-democratic.

NEXT: Taxing the Rich Isn't Enough to Pay for Democrats' Welfare State. They'll Need To Soak the Middle Class Too.

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  1. Actually in Cali only democrats can be voted for

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    2. Even when you vote for Elder it still ends up being for Newsom.
      It’s a September miracle.

      1. It’s a state that is overwhelmingly Democrat. There are literally twice as many registered Democrats in the state than registered Republicans.

        And STILL the Republicans are going with the theory that they only reason they lost was fraud. So stupid. They don’t deserve to be a party anymore. Can we get a new one on the field, please?

        1. Kill yourself, faggot.

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        2. Because it’s not a theory.

          Democrats, for this election, changed the rules so that ballots could be postmarked on election day.

          Got that?

          In a state with a 2-1 Dem/Rep ratio, Democrats were so confident in victory that they changed the rules so that they could still mail ‘votes’ while the polls were closed.

          And look, a whole crapload of hastily marked ballots are what gave the ‘victory’ to Newsom

          1. What color is the sky on your planet?

            1. The same color as one where if someone creates easily exploitable rules, you expect them to exploit the rules they pushed through.

              You know, blue.

            2. Fuck off and die, TDS-addled asshole.

          2. I thought they were just going to use the holes in the ballot envelopes (you could see the yes/no vote if you put the ballot in one of four possible ways) to toss out enough Yes votes to tip the odds. But I guess they want with the collect and harvest method instead, to make the margin so large no one would bother with an audit.

        3. I don’t know what the real result was. CA voters are certainly idiotic enough to keep him in office. Although I’m sure the reported results aren’t based on actual vote results.

        4. It’s a state that eliminated the other party candidacy in general elections through voting changes.

        5. The polls were at 48-52 in the week before the election. It ended up at 35-65.

          Either the strategy of painting Elder as worse than Trump and intent on killing off millions of Californians worked, or the Dems are getting really good at harvesting ballots.

        6. And what should that party be? I mean if 80% of cosmo wokes gain their living by working for or being part of the Democrat privilege machine? The GOP can’t ban teacher’s unions or for that matter ship all the bolsheviks who run Big Tech (not created it but run it because their hedge fund Ivy League buddies appointed them) like to “stick it” to the Catholics or Protestants and those Italians, Germans, Greeks and so on by pumping billions into open borders and the Democratic machine back to NYC or better yet deport them to Russia. The only solution really is a break up..all “free” counties should be able to move to an adjacent State. A divorce is the only fact it is the only solution in a national sense now..the left is out to destroy America..

  2. People are too stupid to understand how it was supposed to work.

  3. If Newsom lost the recall, they were already prepared to sue on the ground that the recall was unconstitutional.

    1. Or perhaps the Dems Newsom other way of blocking it.

      1. I think the GOP should be Gavin a recall another go. Vote until they get it right.

        1. The Dems would bring in additional heavy hitters for this Warren California.

          1. You all were Biden your time until you could break out all of these puns, weren’t you?

            1. Just the ones I can recall.

          2. Warren’s ads were sinking Newsom in the polls.
            Calling Elder worse than Trump and Deathsantis put together is what won it for Newsom, plus some first class ballot harvesting (which is legal in California).

  4. Now they can get on with the important business of putting everybody in masks and shutting the electricity down. Oh and making sure pigs are comfortable before they’re slaughtered.

    1. And making sure new homes don’t get cheap and reliable natural gas appliances.

  5. “So far, the state has counted 9.2 million ballots. Only 5.1 million of those voters chose a candidate to replace Newsom. A full 4 million voters ignored the second question—which, to be clear, was something the Democratic establishment was encouraging them to do.”

    9.2M votes, “only” 5.1M chose someone other than Newsom. 55% of the voters chose a replacement. Am I missing something?

    1. Probably that the results were known before the ballots were mailed out.

    2. One could vote “No recall” but still select a candidate should the first question result in removing Newsom.

      1. which would have been the smart option if you were a Dem voter

    3. You are kinda missing it. The “no” votes are all Newsom votes and that represents 63.9% of the votes . Some of the Newsom voters were hedging by expressing a second preference in the event Newsom was recalled which is where that 5.1 million number comes from.

      1. If you voted no you could still vote for Newsom since it was most votes wins.

        1. No, Newsom’s name was not on the 2nd question of replacements. This was why the Democrats were filing lawsuits over the undemocratic nature of the California recall process. Newsom can’t replace Newsom, (unless a write-in campaign works).

          Sample Ballot.

          1. Which is a pretty dumb objection since the primary question is whether Newsome should remain in office or not. It would defeat the point of the recall if he could be voted out by a majority and then right back in by a minority.

  6. Actually, a helluva lot of voters had no idea there was as second issue on the ballot. They assumed it was a straight yes or no, or a straight Newsom vs Elder. I suppose they were confused as fuck when they actually looked at the ballot.

    This was entirely according the Democrat’s plan. They deliberately made this a Newsom vs Elder issue. I suppose if Faulconer had been ahead it would have been a Newsom vs Faulconer issue.

    I have close friends who as late at two weeks ago had no clue there was a second issue. People with doctorates and fully educated. Because that’s what the Democrat Party told them.

    So it is NOT the case that people chose to vote none-of-the-above, it’s that they were hoodwinked into thinking this was a different election.

  7. I don’t get the point of this article, doesn’t seem to be an important one anyway, so might as well discuss here how to get the independent vape industry back in business in the event FDA decides to enforce its deeming regulation.

    First, probably have to wait until Trump’s back in the White House. Then, get the states on board by having them adopt taxes on vaping fluids and equipment. Then have FDA go back to a non-enforcement policy, same as with marijuana. I’m afraid there just isn’t likely “ever” (i.e. not for generations) for there to develop the support in Congress for actually changing the statute even to explicitly exempt nicotine and things that can go with nicotine from consideration as tobacco products, so the best we’ll be able to do is have several generations of national administrations that look the other way, and states that cut themselves in majorly on the business.

    1. > First, probably have to wait until Trump’s back in the White House.

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

      1. Scott Gottlieb will be advising him again, what could go wrong?

      2. How’d Biden and leftist policies working out for you these days?

        1. To be fair to Biden, given his ego and ineptitude, it is a miracle he didn’t transfer nuclear weapons or surrender to the Taliban.

          1. But Brandyshit would still be whining about mean tweets.
            He’s stupid that way and many, many others.

    2. I bought a bunch of vapes & cartridges & it’s easy enough to fill my own–waiting for Trump to fix the vape industry isn’t for me

  8. “Neither Democrats nor Republicans are entitled to voter support just because they’ve managed to create a political environment where they’re only the options voters are given”

    LP has been on all 50 states ballots for a long time. Seems voters have rejected them completely. There’s no compelling case because they know only one of two parties will win.

    Anyway throw you vote away if you want a democrat leftist who will do anything to keep you enslaved.

    1. The LP had one candidate on the ballot. He didn’t crack 1%. I guess everyone voted strategically for Elder (as I did).

      Plus the LP guy was so bland he made milquetoast look spicy.

  9. So many people are stupid they didn’t realize that if they vote no they could still vote for Newsom just in case enough people vote him out there was still a chance he could get voted in since it was a matter of most votes to win.

    1. That’s not how it works. If the governor is recalled, he’s ineligible for the second question (who will replace him).

  10. The whole premise of “not voting” is that it’s not worth the hassle to cast a vote that has zero chance of changing the outcome.

    But once you’re actually marking a ballot, it’s bat shit crazy not to cast a ballot for your preferred candidate.

    Did matter? No. But neither did showing up to vote in the first place, so that’s obviously not the standard by which we are measuring things.

  11. You might not have to vote for them but be dammed if you disagree with them.

  12. Well, I didn’t even bother to vote in the recall so you can’t blame any of this shit on me. Hell, I don’t even know where the ballot dropboxes are in the Atlanta area even though I’m pretty sure they had some.

  13. They got the outcome they voted for. Yes, they did throw away their vote as elections are zero sum games.

  14. Mostly it shows Democrat voters are stupid, as if we needed more evidence. If by some chance Newsom had been defeated (and polls showed it a 48-52 race just a week ago), they would have handed the governor’s mansion to Elder on a silver platter, when they could have easily picked a safety Dem candidate as a backup.

  15. This is a rather stupid article on a site that’s not wanting for them lately. There’s no “moral” issue with throwing your vote away, just a strategic one. If voting matters and you care about the outcome of elections, you’re being retarded if you throw your vote away.

    Yes, I understand the subtext is because voting third party, i.e. Libertarian, is throwing your vote away, per Kodos, and whoever refills the writers’ trough around here wants to at least tacitly promote the Libertarian Party. But it’s still stupid.

    “Neither Democrats nor Republicans are entitled to voter support just because they’ve managed to create a political environment where they’re only the options voters are given. That’s anti-democratic.”

    Representative government is anti-democratic because some other guy decides on your behalf. The horror. Republicans and Democrats are the two dominant political parties in a system whose emergent features include a two party system. Period.

    There is no amount of pity, subsidy, or attention those two parties owe or could give to the Libertarian Party to make it electorally viable in this country. If one of the two parties collapses the second party that emerges to combat the survivor will not be the Libertarian Party, although its adherents will again be asked to join a coalition capable of governing.

    I assume they’ll say no again, and march onto stage naked, as is their stupid right.

    1. The headline is a logical catastrophe. Literally doesn’t make sense.

  16. The California Recall Shows Californians Are Stupid Lemming, and Will Get What They Deserve, More Repression and Hypocrisy

  17. Millions rejected choosing any alternative to Gov. Newsom. Did they “throw their vote away?” Of course not.

    True. Instead, they supported a corrupt, authoritarian government that does the bidding of billionaires, is wrecking the state and throwing people into poverty. That certainly amounts to accomplishing something with your vote!

    1. Libertarians: Standing on the sidelines convinced it’s the high ground.

  18. The purpose of elections is not to tell the government your truest wishes (which the gov’t has no business asking). The purpose is to make a collective decision. Not voting contributes nothing to that purpose. So does voting for candidates re: whom a collective decision has already been made (ones that 100% can’t win), when there are collective decisions still outstanding.

  19. My kid lives in Burbank..he said he received three ballots in the mail all with different names. Elections are a joke now…its all a shame..and that is just what the left has always wanted…

  20. CA shouldn’t set an example for anything.

  21. Ya know, if you’re still living and voting in California, Newsom isn’t entirely to blame!

  22. The problem for California is that there is no alternative party. The Republican once did well in the state, but this occurred because they put forward ideas and policies. Democrats win because Republican have seceded the field. That Larry Elder was the leading replacement candidate shows this fact.

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