Scott Hardie | August 23, 2003
We haven't discussed the California recall election here yet. (In these dry times on TC, maybe poll responses pass for our debates.) I don't really want to bring up the silliness of the whole thing, because I think that speaks for itself. But I would like to say that, whether some of the candidates are just in it for a lark or not, it's a really good thing to see so many candidates on the ballot. Every election should have so many. The more candidates there are, the better chance of being able to vote for one that you truly want to elect. And sure, if every candidate only has a small bunch of wackos for voters, then the least small bunch of wackos will get to decide the state's governor for the next four years, but is that truly worse than a two-party system? If you're a Democrat or a Republican who usually votes for your party's candidate, ask yourself, how well did your last candidate for governor reflect what you wanted to have in a governor? Mine sure didn't, but I voted for him anyway because he was better than the other guy. Isn't it time we stopped electing the lesser of two evils and ditched our two-party system?

Jackie Mason | August 24, 2003
[hidden by request]

Erik Bates | August 25, 2003
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | August 26, 2003
"Basically" what has happened is, a lot of people in California are upset about the high taxes, the rotten school system, and the energy crisis, among other things. Even though Gray Davis was just elected governor last November by a landslide, the people of California (spurred on by Davis's political enemies) gave enough signatures to a petition to have a recall election. In October, the people will face a two-part ballot: First do they want to recall Davis, and second who do they want to replace him if he is recalled. Becoming a candidate in the recall election is a hell of a lot easier than normal (only $3500 and 65 signatures), in part because you get to skip an expensive and exhausting year-long campaign and do it all in eight weeks. This has led to many serious candidates like Cruz Bustamante and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but also a lot of people who are doing it only to boost their careers like Gallagher (yes Gallagher) and porn star Mary Carey, and other people who are apparently only doing it for fun like Larry Flynt and 100-year-old Mathilda Karel. Naturally this has resulted in a lot of jokes and charges that Republicans are stealing the office, but as I mentioned when I started this topic, I do at least see some good in so many candidates having a chance. People see Gary Coleman's candidacy as a joke, but the man has been a political activist for years and he almost ran last November, so I'm glad that people in his ideological base are finally able to see his name on the ballot. For a lot of miscellaneous candidates and their proud-but-few supporters, it couldn't happen any other way, and that's a shame.

Davis seems like the exact sort of slick career politician we need less of in this country (let alone in the Democratic Party), but I do sympathize with the man; he has failed to build Rome overnight and he's being unfairly villified for it. For instance, last year the rolling blackouts were a big controversy in the state, and Davis was blamed. So he built a battalion of new power plants, and now the problem is pretty much under control. But taxes had to go up to pay the billions of dollars it cost, and now the residents are fuming about the tax hikes. What the fuck, people? This reminds me of one of my favorite elements of "SimCity 3000," how well the game kept things in perspective: Sure the environmental protestors don't want the toxic waste dump near their city, but as one advisor points out, they use deodorant and toothpaste and shampoo just like the rest of us. A lot of Californians want to have their cake and eat it too, and unfortunately they see Davis as the one preventing this from happening. A year after Arnold is elected and nothing has changed, I hope that Davis's sacrifice is not forgotten.

Denise Sawicki | August 26, 2003
Well, as I understood it (and this is just what my friend Eric told me, not anything I've looked up myself, because I, like Erik here, tend to keep away from the news lately) Gray Davis needs to get over 50% of the vote on the first question in order to keep his post, however if he doesn't get that, the candidate with the plurality will get it. So, theoretically, 49% of people could vote to keep Gray Davis, and the rest of the people could divide their votes among many different candidates such that the greatest percentage going to any one candidate was, say, 10%. Hence Schwarzenegger could become governor due to receiving 10% of the vote, even if 49% of the people preferred Davis. That's pretty screwy.

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