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California after Arnold

California after Arnold by Stephen D. Cummings
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As Arnold Schwarzenegger begins to end his internationally famous and historic governorship, the intense jockeying to replace him has started. National figures like Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsome and Antonio Villaraigosa are among the contenders.  

California after Arnold provides historic perspective for the Schwarzenegger Administration, looks at the current state of California politics and society, and offers some projections for the future of the Golden State.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, given his outsized career as a bodybuilder and movie star, Schwarzenegger has produced a very mixed record as Governor: while he utterly failed to terminate what he called ?crazy deficit spending,? he has achieved far-reaching reforms in the areas of legislative redistricting, the environment and labor laws.

As the most populous state in the union and the eighth largest economy in the world, California politics continues to influence events well beyond its borders. For example, the electoral votes of the Golden State elected two presidents in the 20th Century: Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and Richard Nixon in 1968.  California governors invariably find themselves on prospective presidential candidates? lists and indeed, the state has produced a plethora of national candidates: Hiram Johnson, Herbert Hoover, Earl Warren, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Jerry Brown and Pete Wilson, plus Schwarzenegger, who surely would have run had he been eligible.
Much has been written, and will surely be written, on California politics, but no other work will contain such a comprehensive collection of demographic and politics data, relying on actual election returns, Census data and exit polls, including 100+ tables that break out demographic and voter details for all to see.

The book illustrates how Democrats and Republicans have won, the different strategies they have used and why.  The book looks at the prospective candidates in 2010 and also at the long-term prospects of both parties and various ethnic and interest groups.
Algora Publishing; August 2008
ISBN 9780875867403
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Title: California after Arnold
Author: Stephen D. Cummings
California?s politics is as remarkable as California?s personality. Since Governor Hiram Johnson revolutionized California?s government with the initiation of the initiative, referendum, and recall in 1911, California has practiced a form of direct ballot box democracy unlike any other state. The combination of Arnold Schwarzenegger, California, and its unique politics came together in its gaudiest form with the 2003 recall election of Governor Gray Davis. The recall was part direct democracy, part voter outrage and revenge, part media circus and Hollywood glamour. With 135 of the most bizarre candidates ever to run for major public office, the result was an election that installed as governor an ex-bodybuilder who made his early success in Hollywood running around nearly naked in various films and who was a Republican who married into the Kennedy family. In one evening in October 2003, Arnold was transformed into Governor Schwarzenegger of California.

The ?Arnold Show? has been going on for six years now and has another year and a half to run. It has been quite a ride from the highs of 2004, to the crash of the special election of 2005, to re-election in 2006, to the current battle over the California budget and the ongoing battle with the global financial crisis that is pounding the state and is guaranteed to make the governor?s remaining term in office a difficult one. Likewise, the upcoming 2010 election to select Schwarzenegger?s successor as governor is clouded by the state?s fiscal mess, and the fact that previous governors faced economic crises with the specter of Hiram Johnson?s recall provision hanging over them like a guillotine or the Sword of Damocles. The question one has to ask, then, is what happens to California after Arnold?

That is the question that this book attempts to answer. It attempts to do so in three parts. The first part is the Arnold factor, with Chapter 1 about the 2003 recall, Chapter 2 covering Arnold?s years as governor, and Chapter 3 his ultimate legacy as governor.

Part 2 is about California. Chapter 4 is a brief history of California politics from 1911 to the present and shows the historical forces that affect the upcoming 2010 election. It covers the legacy of Hiram Johnson?s reforms, describes the rise of the Democratic Party, and culminates in the election of Pat Brown in 1958, followed by the conservative era of the Reagan Coalition from the 1960s through the 1980s when working class Democrats were firmly in the Republican camp based on social issues, and the break-up of that coalition, starting in 1992, into the current Democratic Coalition based on the return of those working class Democrats and the rising electoral strength of minority voters. Chapter 5 discusses the institutional structures such as the initiative and the Two-Thirds Budget rule, term limits, and other forces that affect how politics is run in California. Chapter 6 covers the issues that the next governor will be facing.

Part 3 is about California in 2010 and the 2010 election. Chapter 7 tracks the demographic, economic and political changes from 1958 and how they will impact 2010 and future elections. It breaks California down by regions, race and ethnicity, class and ideology. Chapter 8 is about the governorship, with profiles and characteristics of past governors, and biographical sketches of the candidates. The last chapter is an assessment of who most likely will be the party nominees and who will be elected the next Governor of California.

Following the text is an extensive statistical appendix covering the demographics of California from 1960 to the present, the geographic and ethnic breakouts of the governor and U.S. Senate races from 1958 to 2008, and the geographic and ethnic breakouts for key ballot propositions from 1958 to 2008. The appendix is the most detailed collection of California election data of its kind in one source.

California and its people continue to fascinate observers of all kinds. Its sheer size, diversity and economic power mean that it has the ability to influence events in the United States and around the world. It directly impacted two presidential elections in 1916 and 1968. Californians were elected four times between 1968 and 1984. Today, the current battle regarding Governor Schwarzenegger, the California legislature, and the California budget makes headlines in the foreign press as well as this country. The next governor of California will not only have to deal with the current financial crisis, but will be making decisions that will affect the nation and the world. It is for this reason that books like this one are written.