Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday warned the state’s current governor, Gavin Newsom, not to ignore the threat of a recall election, Politico reports, noting that the "atmosphere" in the state is the same now as when he was elected.
Schwarzenegger, who replaced Democrat Gov. Gray Davis in California’s 2003 gubernatorial recall election, noted in an interview this week that the recall effort that Newsom faces shares several similarities with the one that put him in office.
"It's pretty much the same atmosphere today as it was then," Schwarzenegger said. "There was dissatisfaction, to the highest level."
He added, "People are working very hard. People are making unbelievable sacrifices every day. It's very tough to raise kids and to have a family, and to go through this challenge, working to make ends meet. And you feel like, ‘Wait a minute, but Sacramento doesn't really do everything for us that they promised they’ll do. We are working hard — but they're not. They're failing us every day.’ That’s what I see as the similarities from 2003. It’s the same vibe.
"And it’s the same with the momentum. Something that sets it off to a higher level, kind of the straw that breaks the camel’s back ... like an explosion."
The Republican former governor added, "In Newsom’s case, it was the French Laundry thing. With us, it was the power outages in 2003."
When asked about Newsom’s comment that the push is a "Republican recall," Schwarzenegger said, "The Republican party is, like I have said, dying at the box office. This is the crazy thing here, when they say it’s a ‘power grab’ of the Republicans. Let me tell you, the [California] Republicans couldn't even get anyone elected. It's ludicrous — the Republican Party doesn't exist. These are the signatures of the ordinary folks that have signed on."
He continued, "The political parties will make it right away about them. The Republicans are going to claim the Democrats are terrible, and then the Democrats are going to come in and they say, ‘It's a power grab,’ which of course I heard a million times in 2003," but, Schwarzenegger adds, "It had nothing to do then — and it has nothing to do today — with either party.
"People are dissatisfied," he said, noting that the recall is "the people's way of kind of letting off some steam, and then they decide: Do we want to follow through, or not follow through?"
Schwarzenegger later explained his success in 2003 as being partly due to Californians "looking for an outsider," and said, "I made it very clear to the people of California that I don't see the Democrats as the enemy, and I don't see Republicans as the enemy. I said we must work together to bring the people together — and then we can accomplish certain things. So, this is what I think was a refreshing kind of a thing to hear."
Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.
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