Op-Ed: Presidential Primary is reminiscent of California's 2003 Recall

Posted Aug 30, 2015 by Stan Rezaee
The 2016 Presidential Primary has attracted a diverse crowd of candidates who are either focusing on the issues that affect Americans or seeking their 15 minutes of fame.
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Wikimedia Commons
For many Americans, the election has become a circus show as candidates attempt to be recognized by pandering to the lowest common denominator of the voting base or by trying to say the stupidest comments possible. Overall never have voters seen such an election that has become a wild show that is either impossible to take seriously or fun to watch.
Unless one lived in California during the 2003 Recall election that saw a crowded field of candidates fighting for the Governors office, only for it to end with Arnold Schwarzenegger replacing Gray Davis.
A quick recap; due to a series of fundraising scandals along with an unpopular vehicle tax and the legislator failure to pass a budget on time made Governor Davis unpopular. It was the handling of the electricity crisis (caused by Enron manipulating the market) that finally sealed his fate and pushed voters to have him removed from office.
The victory of Governor Schwarzenegger was the most remembered moment from the recall but it was not the most unusual aspect, after all this was not the first time an actor was elected governor of California. Yet compared to the other candidates who were either serious about becoming governor or used the recall for their moment of fame, the 2016 Presidential Primary feels tame by comparison.
The election of course attracted the usual political heavyweights in the state like State Senator Tom McClintock and Lt Governor Cruz Bustamante while Congressmen Darrell Issa donated $1 million to the recall effort. The election also attracted Arianna Huffington, who was a conservative pundit at the time, along with the return of Bill Simon from the last election.
Then there were the celebrities and off-beat candidates that made the election fun to watch. Among the notable candidates were former Commissioner of Baseball Peter Ueberroth, Hustler founder Larry Flynt, actor Gary Coleman, porn star Mary Carey, and prop comic Leo Gallagher.
Other candidates were either running because they advocated for a political cause or were local business owners seeking publicity. Overall, 135 candidates ran for governor during the recall election.
The diverse candidates and with Schwarzenegger leading the polls made the election a punchline for comics. Meanwhile the media dubbed it as a Total Recall while Game Show Network hosted its very own mock debate titled Who Wants to be Governor of California.
Looking back, the Recall Election and the victory of Gov. Schwarzenegger was either an embarrassment to California or it just shows how much more awesome we are compared to the other boring states.
The 2016 Presidential Primary seem to have some of the minor flare of the 2003 Recall only it has become more of a battle between attention whores. Yet; with candidates like Donald Trump running for President of the United States, the concept of a Schwarzenegger presidency doesn't seem to be such a bad idea by comparison.