warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Welcome Back, Mr. Jerry Brown

Aja Dang |
November 2, 2010 | 9:19 p.m. PDT


Governor Moonbeam gets his seat back. (Photo Neon Tommy)
Governor Moonbeam gets his seat back. (Photo Neon Tommy)


The name calling and extravagant spending has all come to an end as Jerry Brown has been elected the next governor of California.

It should be no surprise to anyone who has followed polls and trends during recent months since predictions of a Brown win go as far back as February. But take a look at the U.S. political map, and California seems to be one of the few states that is not painted red.

In an election year where voters are moving toward the GOP, California continues to walk to the beat of its own drum as it has done in past elections. In 2006, when the country was in a Democratic heat wave, California elected Arnold Schwarzenegger, the incumbent Republican governor.

One explanation is that Californians choose to elect individuals rather than political parties. In a USC election night panel, speakers explained that the only way to break the trend of a Democratic state is to find worthy challengers. 

“A historical trend in a state is a trend because the challengers were not effective enough to win,” said USC Professor Roberto Suro. 

Bill Whalen, a fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution who consulted for Schwarzenegger's campaign, agreed saying Republicans especially have not offered many strong challengers.

"In the 80’s and 90’s, they had candidates who had long political careers, but the last three Republican gubernatorial candidates in California have been running for office for the first time," he said. "So the Republicans are going to have to either get people into lower offices and build them up, or keep recruiting wealthy people--and I think that’s sustainable only to a point."

As Meg Whitman stated in one of her campaigns, California voters were faced with voting between a political novice or an aging politician. Unfortunately for Whitman and her running mate Carly Fiorina, people chose the later. 

“You have two people who knew the system much better than Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. You had two business women and two savvy politicians who showed they knew the ropes a little better and were able to adapt better,” said USC student Max Freedman.   

Suro also said a seasoned veteran will tend to fare better in California. 

“A lot of first time candidates, when the pressure builds they make a mistake," he said. "In Whitman’s case it was the whole nanny episode. On camera she seemed to crack, someone who was a practiced politician might fair better under pressure. There is nothing that can happen to embarrass Jerry Brown." 

Dan Schnur, chairman of the state's Fair Political Practices Commission, explained that a political candidate who has worked their way up the legislative ladder is more accustomed to the pressures of election season. 

A suggestion to people wanting to run in the next election: work together with your fellow party-goer. 

By looking at the campaigns of Whitman and Fiorina, it is obvious that the Republicans were running two different campaigns. On issues ranging from global warming to illegal immigration, they rarely agreed upon anything, which may have hurt them in the end.

“If they appeared a little more unified it might have worked out better,” said student Andrenna Hidalgo. 

In the end, only the strong survive and the Democratic party lives to see another day in sunny California. 

To reach Aja Dang click here.

To follow Aja Dang on Twitter click here.




Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.