Davis sees the result – the removal of Democratic governor Gray Davis and his replacement by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger – as mainly the latest manifestation of anti-immigrant racism.
But this ignores the fact that almost half of those Latinos voting in the election supported the recall, and almost a third voted for Schwarzenegger. Davis also ignores the fact that the racist Proposition 54 – which would have banned the state from collecting racial data, making it more difficult to uncover discrimination – was defeated by nearly two to one.
The fact is that Arnie did not run a hard right campaign, but posed as a liberal on social issues like abortion and gay rights. The vote didn’t represent a shift to the right so much as an anti-incumbency revolt and the rejection of a pro-corporate Democrat who had betrayed nearly all his party’s traditional constituencies.
As the political commentator Kevin Phillips noted in the Los Angeles Times, Republicans should take little comfort from this result, since if it was possible to recall a president, George Bush might find himself on the chopping block next.
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