Maybe all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t have saved the hapless and corrupt Gray Davis. Unfortunately for the donkey party, though, they actually tried that strategy, and demonstrated to the entire nation that it failed—miserably. All they could muster was the usual and very tired combination of class envy, appeals to tribalism, and eleventh hour personal attacks. Not only did this creaky old strategy fail in its own right, it even catalyzed an unprecedented backlash.
The LA Times admits to losing 1000 subscriptions as a result of its relentless “sexual predator” hit pieces on Schwarzenegger, that ran during the week prior to the election. The actual number could be much higher. Moreover, these feckless attacks, if true, amounted to little more than relating that Arnold touched the breast of this or that starlet or gym rat, 10 to 25 years ago. Besides not resonating with most of the voters, they spawned the release of far more serious charges against Davis, that he physically abused at least three female employees, shaking them, and screaming obscenities at them in hot anger.
The real star power story in this election has far less to do with the Terminator and much more with the number of Dem luminaries who paraded through the Golden State, on behalf of Davis—to no effect! We had Clinton, Gore, Jesse Jackson, senators Feinstein and Boxer, and former governor Jerry Brown, among others. The big guns helped not at all, and may even have hurt, especially in the wake of Clinton instantly disappearing from the campaign once the specter of sexual harassment emerged.
There was more bad news for the Dems, with plenty of defections from their very most loyal groups—Blacks and Jews. Yes, Blacks did vote 79% against the recall, but that leaves 21% who did not. Can you name an election in the last 40 years in which 21% of Blacks did not vote Democrat? The Jews voted 69% against the recall, so 31% of the group that is probably the most genetically Democrat of all went counter to the party line. I characterize the Jews this way since the Dems offer them absolutely nothing, and indeed have become far less pro-Israel than the Republicans. To underscore this paradoxical notion of Jews consistently voting against their self-interest, of the Jews who favored the recall, 52% voted for Cruz Bustamante, a man with zero connection to the Jewish community, and a bona fide MEChA racist.
Let’s look at two more groups. A mere 45% of Latinos and 48% of union households voted for the recall.
The only silver lining that the Dems could proffer is that “It’s the economy, stupid,” and George W. better take note for next year. Even this bromide, though, came from the 1992 presidential election.
Could it be that FDR’s formula of pitting the have-nots against the haves, combined with shameless pandering to ethnic and regional tribalism, along with kissing up to trade unions, with slight updates to include atheism and craven anti-Americanism has finally run its course?
Now, 71 years after the first election of this utter disaster of a president, we can finally answer “YES.”