Democrats Hate You and Your Bear Constitution, Too

What a horrible couple of weeks for Californians.

Government is supposed to provide its people with three things: Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Good governments remove obstacles between the people and these goals. Bad governments create them.

Simple, right? Of course our shared reality is more complicated. Restrictions on what a group or individual can do are absolutely necessary. Without them, it’s impossible to ensure that your right to swing your fist stops where my face begins. When government steps in to constrain your liberty, it must be because that restriction protects the life of your neighbor or guarantees their greater freedom.

Let’s apply this to something simple:

You have the right to vote.  It’s enshrined in our Constitution because you are the foundation of our Republic.  Ultimately, you grant the authority to make and enforce law.  It’s important and government should do what it can to ensure your ability to vote isn’t obstructed.  When you cast your vote that vote shall be recorded and counted the same as the vote of your neighbors.

Good government gives you mail-in ballots.  It’s convenient and promotes liberty.

Bad government makes you stand in line for six hours to vote.  It’s burdensome and restricts your ability to exercise your rights.

Here’s something a little more complex:

You have the right to a free education.  It’s enshrined in the California Constitution because skill development is essential to ensuring every citizen has an equal opportunity to pursue happiness.  It has an added benefit of assuring a literate electorate, which tends (historically) to resist tyranny.  Good government should not restrict your access to your right to a free education.

Good government allows you to enroll in a school of your choosing and dedicates satisfactory resources to your development.

Bad government puts you on a wait list, tells you what school to attend, provides inadequate resources to your development, and pressures you to pay fees that is has no right to collect.

So what does any of this have to do with Democrats Hating You and Your Bear Constitution, Too?

This week, our government in Sacramento took one of California’s unique democratic traditions and abused it.  As a result, you are less free than you were last Friday.  It was done without a campaign or a single town hall.  What’s worse is that it was done to great celebration and with overwhelming support by California’s ruling party: The Democrats.

I of course am talking about your Constitutionally guaranteed right to Recall.

Whoa, whoa, whoa– recall?

Yes.  Recall.  California guarantees some unique access to direct democracy.  Unlike the Federal government, you have the right to make law.  You may draft an Initiative for voter approval without ever getting a single elected official to vote on it.  You have the right to veto new laws.  You may reject legislation passed by elected officials for any reason by submitting a Referendum to a public vote.  You also have the right to unilaterally remove an elected official.  If for any reason an elected official causes you to lose faith in their ability to represent your interest, your ideals, or just your opinion, you have the right to have a simple majority of voters decide to remove that official.

These are your rights.  They are not in dispute and  you do not have to justify your desire to freely use them.  Good government removes hurdles to free exercise of your rights and promote liberty.  Bad government installs them.  Nothing changes because these rights are guaranteed by the State of California and not the Federal document most of us are familiar with.

From our Constitution.  My emphasis:



All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require.

SEC. 4.

The Legislature shall prohibit improper practices that affect elections and shall provide for the disqualification of electors while mentally incompetent or imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony.

SEC. 13.

Recall is the power of the electors to remove an elective officer.

SEC. 14.

(a) Recall of a state officer is initiated by delivering to the Secretary of State a petition alleging reason for recall. Sufficiency of reason is not reviewable. Proponents have 160 days to file signed petitions.

(b) A petition to recall a statewide officer must be signed by electors equal in number to 12 percent of the last vote for the office, with signatures from each of 5 counties equal in number to 1 percent of the last vote for the office in the county. Signatures to recall Senators, members of the Assembly, members of the Board of Equalization, and judges of courts of appeal and trial courts must equal in number 20 percent of the last vote for the office.

SEC. 15.

(a) An election to determine whether to recall an officer and, if appropriate, to elect a successor shall be called by the Governor and held not less than 60 days nor more than 80 days from the date of certification of sufficient signatures.

SEC. 16.

The Legislature shall provide for circulation, filing, and certification of petitions, nomination of candidates, and the recall election.

Let’s be clear about something.  Recall elections are disruptive, expensive, and rare.  The end result may unite or divide a community through the removal of a duly elected official.  Casual removal of your representatives is not a sign of a healthy Republic, but you have the right and responsibility to evaluate and decide what is causal, what is necessary, and who should be removed.  As such, it is incumbent upon good government to ease access to your right to recall and to respect the will of the people.  Encumbering this right is no different from encumbering any other.

To put it bluntly, if 20% of your neighbors who voted in the last election decide they want a recall, it’s the state’s job to make sure they have it.  Any action taken to deliberately obstruct that right is illegal and tyrannical.

It doesn’t matter why they want a recall.  It doesn’t matter how much it costs.  It doesn’t matter how much information was available at the time signatures were collected.  The quality of information used by your neighbor to arrive at a decision doesn’t matter either. You, the official being recalled, or the state doesn’t get to tell people to slow down, think about what they’re doing, and demand that folks exercise their freedom at some later date when cooler heads have prevailed.  There is no right to slow down or impair a recall.  There is only a right to qualify one.

What matters is what the people demand.  The people have the right to alter their representation when it pleases them to do so.  The state has an obligation to ensure that improper practices limiting ability of the people to exercise their will are eliminated.  It’s right there in our Constitution.  Plain as day.

Right now Democrats in Sacramento are getting ready to pass SB-96.  You’ve probably never heard of it.  It’s a trailer bill for this year’s budget, which means it has a lot of unrelated crap in it so it can be passed quickly and without public scrutiny.  Changes in this budget bill revise the election code to make it functionally impossible for you to recall anyone.

It’s being rushed through with a provision to make it retroactively applicable to any recall processes currently underway– which means people who dedicated their time and money to exercise their Constitutionally guaranteed right will immediately have their liberty impounded by the state.  Time, effort, and property . . . all gone.

But why?  Why would anyone want to curtail a Californian’s right to reform government for the public good?

Next week in Part II, we’ll discuss who really owns political power in California– and how they wield it.  Spoiler Alert: It’s not you.

About Ryan Cantor

Our conservative columnist, raised in North Orange County, works as an auditor.