Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Recall signal against political establishment

Posted 12:54pm October 11

by Nell McGarity
U-WIRE Washington Bureau

With 54.7 percent of the state voting in favor of recalling Governor Gray Davis, Dem, and despite allegations of mistreatment of women among other things, actor and former Mr. Universe Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rep, has successfully won the governorship of California.

Garnering 48.1 percent of the vote, Schwarzenegger defeated his closest opponent, Cruz Bustamante who received 32.2 percent. Some experts assert that Schwarzenegger’s victory is more in the progressive spirit of California politics rather than a shift in the traditionally Democratic stance of the state.

“The recall reflects the fact that voters are frustrated with the political establishment,” said Professor Forrest Maltzman of The George Washington University. “California is typically the vanguard, and I think this will be reflected in the next few election cycles.”

Iowa State University professor Steffan Schmidt agrees.

“This recall vindicates the reformers and Progressives who amended the California constitution in 1911 so that ‘the people’ could eject rascally and corrupt politicians and bypass the interest-riddled legislature and enact through direct democracy ‘the people’s agenda,'” said Schmidt.

California is the most populous state and carries the most electoral votes with 56, followed by Florida and Texas. In 2000, President Bush won both Florida and Texas, with former Vice President Al Gore taking California.

President Bush’s political base is typically more conservative. With allegations of women being fondled and touched inappropriately by Schwarzenegger as reported by The Los Angeles Times, as well as drug use, and a quote regarding his reported admiration of Adolph Hitler, some question whether the newly elected Republican will serve as a way for Bush to secure California in 2004.

“Schwarzenegger’s victory doesn’t hurt Bush. But if I were Bush, I wouldn’t be pleased either. It is not a pro-republican vote. It is more and anti-establishment vote, and Bush is the establishment in 2004,” said Maltzman.

Though Schwarzenegger won overall, the urban counties that elected Davis in 2000 remained loyal, voting against the recall. Eighty-point-four percent of the voters in San Francisco County voted against the recall, as did 51 percent in Los Angeles County. In 2000, Davis received 143,102 votes in San Francisco County with his next closest opponent, the Green Party’s Peter Camejo, receiving 33,495 votes. In Los Angeles, Davis received nearly twice as many votes as his Republican opponent.

“I think the recall will make politicians hyper-responsive to constituents and public opinion, which is probably not good for our system,” said Maltzman. “I think this is a tool that California voters will use frequently.”

“Those who belittle this recall are the elitists who don’t want to unleash the fury of disgruntled voters which is exactly what’s happening in this election,” said Schmidt.

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