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A Modern Election

There have been numerous issues that have caused controversy between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown in the upcoming elections for the governor of California; however these controversial topics do not have much of anything to do with their promised policies or political issues. The candidates seem to continue to avoid tackling the true issues at hand with California, and busy themselves with diversions including Whitman’s undocumented worker scandal and Brown’s associate’s off-record comment calling Whitman a ‘w****’. It appears that this ensuing election is focused more on scandalous mudslinging than politics.

The issue dealing with Whitman’s undocumented worker came about when Brown stated that he supported a path towards legislations for undocumented immigrants and that he opposed cutting services to illegal immigrants and that they should be allowed to attend public universities in California. However, Whitman stated that employers who hire illegal immigrants should be held accountable and that the sanctuaries provided for illegal immigrants to evade immigration laws should be eliminated (www.latimes.com). Whitman’s beliefs were contradicted when a former home worker Nicky Diaz came forth claiming that Whitman kept her as an employee, even though she knew of her illegal immigration status. This controversy not only drove an obvious wedge in between Whitman and Latino voters, it also gave Brown a huge bargaining position over Whitman.

It has been no secret that Whitman has been pouring millions into her campaign (Whitman has spent a total of $140.1 million on her campaign for government, surpassing previous amounts spent on gubernatorial elections in the state.), so when news came that she had poured more money into her campaign in the form of ads and endorsements, Brown’s party contributed a little “salty language” by calling Whitman a w****. Whitman had injected $2.5 million more into her campaign for an ad advising voters to hide their wallets because Brown supports increase taxes and had agreed to protect pensions for law enforcement officers in exchange for an endorsement. Thus the ‘w****’ comment was based off the belief that Whitman was essentially selling herself out for an endorsement, however the officers ultimately chose to back Whitman (www.neontommy.com).

Whitman’s “Maidgate” aided Brown’s campaign and Brown’s “W****gate” gave Whitman a definite boost, not for the benefits of their political beliefs but for their opponent’s faults and errors. The headline issues involving the governor candidates have nothing to do with their policies or what they plan to do for California. I have not yet seen a political commercial that is actually focused on the candidate’s admirable qualities and why voters should choose that candidate. The election is packed with mudslinging and the important political issues including environmental matters and the legalizing of marijuana are neglected.

“They both need to give specific answers on how they are going to make voter’s lives better now without the 30-second platitudes of their TV ads,” says Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for Study of Politics and Media at California State University Sacramento (www.csmonitor.com).

According to the nonpartisan Field Poll released Sept. 22, at six weeks before the November 2 elections, Brown and Whitman were tied at 41% each among likely voters. Whitman has a narrow lead in Los Angeles County, which makes up 25% of the statewide vote. Brown has a 40% point lead in San Francisco and is 3% ahead of Whitman in Latino votes. Whitman and Brown are tied among their women votes.

With the Whitman and Brown so neck-in-neck in terms of their scandals, level of mudslinging commercials, and lack of exposure in their political promises, this year’s election is going to be close.





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