Minus some freak revelation, I'll be voting yes tomorrow to recall Governor Newsom and voting for Kevin Paffrath to replace him. Nothing about California has gotten better since Newsom has been governor; the major problems California faces -- homelessness, cost of living, relatively poor educational outcomes, and some of the highest taxes in the US despite all its problems---have only gotten worse since Newsom has been governor. Corruption and incompetence is endemic in California government, and Newsom is ground zero. Unless a person is irrationally loyal to failure and corruption because its the status quo, or they are irrationally afraid that his alternative would be worse, there is no reason to keep Newsom.
Personally I think if Newsom is removed, any of the leading alternatives would be better. I don't think this recall effort will be successful though. And I think unless a different candidate from the Democratic Party successfully challenges Newsom, there is little chance that Newsom will lose in 2022 because too many Californians are pathologically politically sectarian with regard to their loyalty to the Democratic Party.
So the best chance California has is a Democrat who isn't a corrupt, incompetent, hypocrite. And as far as I can tell -- so far -- Kevin Paffrath is none of those things. Of course, he is now a politician, so we should always be skeptical of him; but at least he is expressing a rational and non-sectarian comprehension of problems. I don't agree with everything he says, but I agree with enough, and I think he is competent, and also has excellent marketing abilities; so I think he has the best chance.
And I think people who lean Republican should consider how sectarian California is, the restricted electoral system we have where we must choose 1 candidate among many rather than use something like ranked choice voting to give us more freedom and power in our political choices, and the fact that any Republican who runs in 2022 will inevitably carry with them the taint of Trump, which to a large portion of Democrats is like kryptonite to their reasoning abilities. And rather than be partisan themselves, people who lean Republican should support a Democratic Party candidate who shares *some* of their perspectives, rather backing a candidate, such as Elder, who they may prefer because of his political alignment, but will not have sufficient broad support to win.
If Newsom does happen to lose the recall, and Elder, who is currently polling highest for his alternative, does win, I'd be okay with that -- and I also have the opportunity to add one more vote to a Democratic candidate who I hope to see continue to pursue political office and give him more confidence in his ambition. Even in 2022 I'll probably support Paffrath over someone like Elder, largely because Elder has expressed a foolish partisanship for the Republican Party, at one point saying he was confused why his friends would be upset at him voting for Trump, because after all he is a Republican and Trump was the Republican candidate. That sort of blind partisanship I don't want in any politician even if I agree superficially with many policy ideas he has. It implies he will plausibly go along with whatever stupid things his party encourages regardless of how stupid those things are simply out of party conformity.
Given the choice of a Democrat who has many top priority ideas I agree or a Republican who has a few more top priority ideas I agree with, but the Democrat explicitly expresses his lack of party loyalty and the Republican explicitly expresses his strong party loyalty, I'm going to choose the Democrat -- even if the Democratic Party is the Unredeemed Party of Slavery.