How can the will of the people be undemocratic?
The people of California have spoken. But since liberals knew what the results would be, apparently this election was unfair and undemocratic. Ever since the beginning of the effort to recall Governor Gray Davis, liberals have complained about how terrible a precedent for democracy this was and how unjust it was. Davis called it an attempted “hostile takeover by the right”. And in Wednesday’s (Oct. 8) Nexus article, students who opposed the recall are quoted as saying that it was “not part of the democratic system” and “bad for democracy”.
Our democracy is based on the people deciding whom they want to govern them. And as it turned out, the majority of Californians did not want Gray Davis as their governor.
That’s undemocratic and hostile? The position of governor exists for the people. It would be absurd in a democracy for a leader with an approval rating of 21 percent to remain in power for three more years.
Some complained that this whole recall occurred because rich republican congressman Darrell Issa financed the effort. Liberals charged that it was money, not democracy, that brought this recall about. Well, I doubt Issa would have contributed over a million dollars if he did not believe the recall would succeed.
And what did its success depend on? It depended on the majority of Californians not wanting Gray Davis as governor. People concerned that wealthy individuals are going to continuously initiate recall efforts are forgetting one thing: recall efforts are worthless without vast democratic support.
Then we heard that the recall was unfair because it was so soon after a legitimate election. The recall effort did not begin immediately after the November election. Republicans are not stupid and they were not going to recall a new governor. They did not start the recall out of bitterness over Bill Simon’s loss to Davis. The motivation for the recall was California’s financial situation a few weeks after his election.
The people of California all of a sudden found out that the deficit had skyrocketed to $38 billion. This was something Davis conveniently forgot to discuss during his campaign for the November 2002 election. Obviously, Davis hid some of the facts in his effort to be re-elected. Ordinarily, a politician would feel that he could get away with this and that his position would be safe after re-election. Thankfully, voters have the power to hold their leaders accountable with the recall process and Gray Davis can no longer abuse his power.
If you don’t buy all of this, then explain how Davis went from earning approximately 45 percent of the vote in November to a voting percentage in the low 20s within a couple of months. Also, the recall process has been legal since 1911. Why has there been no other successful gubernatorial recall effort since then? We all know rich Republicans have been around and Republicans have lost elections before. Why all of a sudden did this recall have so much success?
So let’s not throw a fit about the recall. People are not going to invest the time and money to put on recall elections if they do not have popular support. You may not like what the majority decides. I know I often don’t. But it still must be respected. And what Davis and other liberals called a “hostile takeover” and “bad for democracy” is actually the people of a state deciding what was best for them. It sure could be worse.
Todd Roberson is a junior political science major.