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Fear Was the Spoiler in California Election
Fear was the spoiler in Californias October 7 gubernatorial election. So-called progressives abandoned their ideals and didnt vote for Green Party candidate Peter Camejo, the most prominent progressive in the race.
Why did so-called progressives miss a golden opportunity to elect a progressive governor?
Peter Camejo received 211,595 votes or 2.8 percent of the vote, far below the almost 400,000 votes he received in last Novembers election. Progressives voted for Camejo but many Green Democrats, Huffington liberals, and scared of Schwarzenegger voters reverted back to their Democratic shells and didnt vote for Camejo.
This election also brought out other so-called progressives Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), actors Dustin Hoffman, Paul Reiser, Endeavor talent agency partner Ari Emanuel, West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, producer/eco couple Larry and Laurie David, and a couple hundred other Hollywood types. They chose not to support Camejo, but couldnt throw enough money at one of their ownArianna Huffington, rich and white, chameleon extraordinaire. Huffington started out as a right-winger supporting Newt Gingrich, then she became progressive, and now it appears shes the honorary chairperson of the Democratic Party.
The Democratic Party did not support Lt. Governor Cruz Bus- tamante for the same reason Huf- fington progressive Democrats didnt support Camejo. Both Bustamante and Camejo are people of color who are okay for a second choice, but not okay for a first choice when one of their own (Huffington and deposed Governor Gray Davis) is running.
We also have to consider the celebrity of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Did the voters have all the facts? No, but they had some facts and voted for Arnold anyway. On election morning, Peter Camejo appeared on the Steve Harvey Show. Peter is an honorable man who deserves respect, but Harveys angels thought a porn star was just as valid a candidate as Camejo.
Do voters who vote on star power and not facts care about issues? Do they care about the war on Afghanistan and Iraq? Are they against the death penalty, three strikes, racial profiling, the Patriot Act, wars of conquest, and nuclear weapons? Apparently not, because a vote for Arnold is seen as a vote for George Bush.
We cannot negate the power of the corporate media, including Oprah Winfrey, Howard Stern, Jay Leno, and Larry King. They, along with the networks and newspapers, dealt California a fatal blow by refusing to give equal time to other candidates.
What about the Democratic Party? Amazingly, the Democrats still have no clue why they lost. The Democrats have such bad policies and such an unpopular leader that they are no longer trusted by the vast majority of voters. But to hear them tell it, it was the right- wing conspiracy. Republicans make up 35 percent of registered voters. Not all 35 percent voted on October 7, but Davis was recalled by 55 percent of registered voters. At least 20 percent and more non-Republicans voted Davis out of office.
The voters were sick of Davis and he and his party refuse to admit it. Davis was vulnerable from the start and played a key role in keeping more competent Democratic candidates out of the race. He kept competition out of last years race by pumping $10 million into the Republican primary to defeat Richard Riordan, a moderate Republican, instead of arch conservative Bill Simon. The Democrats could have saved the governorship for themselves if Davis had put ego aside and resigned. True the recall would have gone on, but it would have been a recall against Bustamante who no one would have recalled.
Fear, racism, and Daviss ego spoiled it for California. But theres a silver lining. Camejo participated in six debatesthe first time a third party has been included in televised debates for a statewide office. He was viewed as the winner of many debates and perceived by everyone as a serious candidate with real solutions to California problems. He shattered preconceived notions about who the Greens are.
Camejo put the Greens on the map in California. Already five State Senators are pushing through Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) legislation, a Green issue. Fear was the spoiler in this recall election, but a progressive stayed the course and hopefully truth will one day free us from fear.
Donna Jo Warren is a native of South Central Los Angeles, and was the Green Party candidate for Lt. Governor in November 2002.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.