OPINION: Californians must not be deceived by the RecallGavin movement


Sarah Olson

The leaders of the movement are known for being involved with right-wing conspiracy theorist groups.

In the previous and current months there has been a growing campaign among California Republicans to recall California governor, Gavin Newsom, dubbing themselves the “RecallGavin” movement. The movement received a shocking amount of support, boasting an impressive 1.6 million ballots, which are currently in the process of being verified. The recall campaign is highly problematic, and seeks to remove the governor, spouting unreliable claims of poor leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic, and seeks to blame institutional issues, such as homelessness, crime and drug use on Gov. Gavin Newsom. To combat the growing movement, Californians must not be deceived by the false claims made by Newsom’s opponents but must unite to keep him in office.

The campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom claims to be led by California’s Republican party. However, leaders of the movement have close ties to conspiracy theorist groups, who have concerning political agendas. According to Politico, the co-founder of the movement, Orrin Heatlie, has on multiple occasions, spouted racist conspiracy theories, telling his supporters to “microchip all illegal immigrants.”

The Los Angeles Times recently published an expose into the leaders of the movement, finding that two others, Denise Aguilar and Tara Thornton, “have ties with the Freedom Angels,” an anti-vaccination conspiracy group, who “were present at the incursion of the nation’s Capitol,” the Los Angeles Times reported. While these are the most prominent members of the movement, there are others involved with conspiracy theorist groups. To fight back against the campaign, the leaders must be exposed for the right-wing conspiracy theorists and racists that they are.

The recall campaign continues to spout baseless accusations of poor leadership from Newsom. The campaign cites that Gov. Newsom is responsible for issues including unaffordable housing, record homelessness and record drug use, all issues that Newsom is unfairly judged for. In September 2020, Newsom passed a series of bills allowing for treatment and support for Californians struggling with substance abuse. Since then, California’s drug use issues have dropped, and rehab inductions have slowed down, a crisis started under previous governor, Jerry Brown. Newsom also passed a $1.4 billion bill for homeless support in January 2020, allowing for mental health support, housing and healthcare for all homeless citizens of California. These initiatives taken by Gov. Newsom not only proves his fitness for leadership but shows that his actions are well-intentioned.

The recall campaign unfairly preys on California’s senior citizens, many of whom potentially have relation to students at SCHS. Support for the movement is highest in counties such as Sierra County, Trinity County and Plumas County, areas dominated by senior citizens. The recent 2020 census shows that the median age of the areas were 50 and older. Here is where the campaigning for the movement was highest. The campaign has reportedly received almost $4 million in donations. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, nearly “45% of contributors to the movement, who listed an occupation, were retired.” By spouting claims of incompetent leadership, the campaign has preyed on wealthy and vulnerable citizens, primarily in their own interest. To protect senior citizens from irrefutably dirty tactics, California must raise education among senior citizens to help prevent them from being taken advantage of.

The campaign to recall Newsom is problematic, to say the very least. From it being led by prominent right-wing conspiracy theorists, to the baseless claims of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s incompetence and the dirty strategic tactics they use is only hurting California and its citizens, including all SCHS students. Citizens must start by educating others, making sure that others understand the danger of the campaign. Simply showing support for Newsom also helps and can increase strength in the face of the campaign. Finally, people must come together and unify in the face of the common danger, to rise to action and shut down the campaign.