Effects of the Media on the California Recall Election

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Effects of the Media on the California Recall Election What the Recall Election Means for the Presidential Election From rags to riches, Conan to the Terminator, actor to governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has lived a very adventurous life recently turning into the political realm. Now, as the governor of California, Schwarzenegger has a tremendous task on his hands. California is currently experiencing a crisis in its budget and economy as well as an energy problem. These issues and others were the reason Republicans pushed for a vote to have an election to possibly recall the former governor Gray Davis. Many factors contributed to the way Californians voted. Some of these factors were the media, name recognition, the other candidates, the local situation, the national situation, and much more. In this paper I will attempt to answer why and how some of these factors had such a huge effect on the recall election. I will especially look into the mechanics of the media the way this influenced the election. I will then use this examination of the California recall election to try to come to some conclusions and offer further speculation about how Americans will vote in the 2004 presidential election. Reasons For Recall Some people will say that the special recall election was a populist uprising against a leader who was ineffective. They say that the recall is an example of democracy at its best, proof that government works for the people and that the ultimate power rests in the hands of the citizens. Other people do not believe the recall was anything so noble. They see it as a dirty tactic waged by a few political extremists, and that it actually dealt a blow to democracy in California. The true reason for the recall was in fact probably somewhere in between. The recall was pioneered by a handful of conservatives that decided to take a chance and try to use the large power given to the California electorate to their advantage. They believed that even though Gray Davis had been re-elected just a few months before, there was enough dissatisfaction with his job performance to potentially remove him from office. They started collecting signatures. By the early summer of 2003, it became clear that they were going to succeed in getting the necessary signatures to mandate a special election and give voters the opportunity to recall the sitting governor.

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