Yesterday, we had a slight discussion in a German class that I'm taking over Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a brief moment on his seven years as governor. Few folks ever sit down and ask.....how did Arnold reach this post, and you have to go back and spend an hour reading over some rich California political history.
So this starts with Pete Wilson winning the governor's chair and taking office in 1991. Most folks will say that the Wilson era went along a scripted sequence, with few if any scandals. Interestingly enough, on the first go-around, Pete ran against a young Feinstein, winning with a four-point difference (you can look up the county by county map, to note that most of her votes came from the L A or San Francisco region along the coast). Four years later (1995), Wilson won with 15-points. Then the Pete Wilson era closes out.
In 1999, the Gray Davis era begins (20-point win over the GOP front-guy). In some districts around the state, Davis even takes 80-percent of the vote. Folks are hyped up. Davis burns through the first four year period with various promises made, and strong measures to suggest results met up with the promises. Along the way, he spent eight billion in unfunded educational measures...getting results on paper, but moving the state into a difficult financial situation. The artificially created electrical crisis? Well, this got a lot of mileage and wasn't really Davis's fault....but he never seemed to get a hand onto the mess and people kinda wondered if special interests were at play.
So you come to this interesting 2002 governor's election. The discontent plays big among the voters for the entire year prior to the election. Gray Davis wins the election by roughly 5-points. But there is this odd factor at play....only 36-percent of the registered voters showed up to vote in this election. Yes, if Bill Simon (the GOP guy) had gotten 400,000 people to show up....he would have won the election. Adding to this story, Davis spent an all-time record of money on campaign ads.....which ran mostly along a very negative episode.
The discontent? It rumbles over this result and roughly sixty-percent of the public is fed up. So they go and make an effort for a recall-election. Oddly enough, there is a recall rule which says to be a valid recall.....you have to get 12-percent of the number of voters from the previous election.....to sign the petition. Note, NOT the registered voter count.....but the folks who voted in the past election.
So this creates this curious scenario. With such a low voter turnout (only 36-percent of the registered voters showing up).....they easily reached 900,000 folks who signed the petition, and the Gray Davis era is finished.
Eleven months into the 4-year term, Gray Davis is finished. Another election is held and Arnold is the GOP guy.....winning by 17-points (major wins in the L A region). Arnold goes on in 2006, to win with a 16-point edge.
If the electrical crisis hadn't occurred? That's the thing about this whole story....for the public, that was the last straw. One odd factor in this whole story.....this is occuring all before social media or Facebook came along. The internet was not a factor in getting Gray Davis out. This more or less comes via talk-radio and newspapers.