We Must Hang Together, Or Surely We Shall Hang Separately

The special election to recall Gavin Newsom is coming up this Fall, and the two questions on the ballot might serve as a metaphor for the dilemma confronting Republicans in California. Question one is binary: Do you want to recall the governor, or don’t you? On this question, California’s Republicans have come together. They all would like to see Newsom go.

Question two, however, presents fundamental challenges to Republican unity. It is a multiple choice question, “who do you want to replace Newsom?,” with candidates galore to choose from. So far, all of them are Republicans. Inevitably and increasingly, these candidates are choosing not only to disparage their common foe, Governor Newsom, but also to disparage each other.

In a broader sense, this typifies what Republicans have been doing for years in California. They cohere fairly well on what they oppose. Taxes are too high, there are too many regulations, and public schools are failing, especially in low income communities. Poverty rates lead the nation, as does homelessness. The forests are burning, crime is rising, and the state remains on partial mass lockdown. But what are California’s Republicans for?

The unanimity of California’s Republicans against the failed policies of Governor Newsom, and by extension the party he represents, deserves recognition even if it isn’t enough to merely come together to oppose a candidate and his party. What happened over the past year was a triumph of teamwork. It was a triumph of shared purpose over endemic rivalries and turf wars. […] Read More