“White House and Republican Party officials said Mr. Schwarzenegger’s victory in the heavily Democratic state was a successful political pre-election test of President Bush’s core campaign agenda of lower taxes, a more robust business climate and faster job creation. The agenda attracted surprisingly strong support from the Democrats’ core political base, with blacks, Hispanics and labor union members voting in large numbers to oust Gov. Gray Davis and replace him with the Republican movie star.” At a minimum, Republican strategists say the Democrats will have to invest unforeseen resources to hold California next year.
Some Democrats have tried to argue that Californians’ anger against Gray Davis was merely an instance of “anti-incumbency” that will rebound against President Bush next year. This view seems rather silly, but other Democrats have claimed somewhat more plausibly that the California election was unique because of the personalities involved, or that Arnold’s moderate position on social issues was the key:
A DNC spokesman said that “California is a Democratic state and will remain so. Arnold proved that, because he ran on Democratic issues as a pro-choice and gay rights candidate.” It strikes me that anyone who thinks the California election was about Arnold being “pro-choice” wasn’t paying attention. Yet this theory may be revealing in a sense. Democrats may really have gotten to the point where they think the defining political issues are abortion and homosexual rights, rather than taxes and job growth. Which is, in large part, how they got into this mess in the first place.