Democracy overdose

The impending recall election of Gov. Gray Davis of California has many people excited and dismayed.

Jonah Goldberg is dismayed, believing that if the recall goes forward, democracy and republicanism will be damaged greatly.

Greg Ransom (of Prestopundit) is excited, believing that since Gray Davis ran a dishonest re-election campaign based on an extraordinary fraud, it is only just that the California people exercise their (state) constitutional right to throw the bum out.

I sympathize with both views- I don't like the idea of government-by-polls, which is what will happen should recall efforts become easier and more commonplace. It is the primary problem of democracy- the rule by the mob and ultimately capricious shifts of popular will (and in the case of the recall, not even a majority- the worst of all worlds) use the power of the state to wreck havoc, with no one's property or rights safe.

It is right and good that a government exist by consent of the governed, and that government change come as a result of lawful elections (rather than through violence), but limitations are necessary so that those that govern do so with at least some semblance of principle (or, rather, with a principle other than 'whatever it takes to get re-elected'). That suggests (nay, demands) less democracy, and a more republican form of government.

ON the other hand, purely from schadenfreude, it is wonderful to see the party that worships the Vox Populi as the Vox Dei being roasted by their own rhetoric and ideology. California suffers from far too much democracy, and in a way its 'just desserts' to Gray Davis and his cronies that he is undone by direct democracy. The best of both worlds would be that Gray Davis is sacked, and then the recall mechanism eliminated by vengeful politicians...

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Well, just to provide some

Well, just to provide some background information:

There have been 31 previous recall attempts.
None of them have succeeded.

I think the reason this one is succeeding is because of three things:

1. Davis is amazingly unpopular.
2. There is a major crisis in the state.
3. The recall effort is very well funded.

I got all that from


I think Justene is right on this one. I don't think this means we'll see lots more recall efforts. You'll have to see a conjunction of all three things again, which does seem rather rare.

I suppose you could argue you just need the first two and that the party out of power will then provide the third automatically. I'm not sure it is that easy. I think in this case the recall effort has been funded primarily by Darryl Issa.

Plus it is also possible that the recall requirements will be upped, say to 25%. No politician who has eyes on the Governor's Mansion will want it to be this easy again.