June 8th, 2010
01:34 PM ET
13 years ago

Schwarzenegger: Be a reformanator!

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/08/art.arnold.gi.jpg caption ="'I think there's a mood all over the state of California that the people want reform. People want to have change,' Schwarzenegger said."]

Los Angeles (CNN) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is urging Californians to vote in favor of a measure that aims to dramatically alter the state's primary process.

The initiative, known as Proposition 14, is on the ballot Tuesday as California holds primary elections. The measure would overhaul how primaries for statewide and congressional elections are run. Instead of candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties running in separate contests and the winners facing off in a general election, Proposition 14 would have all candidates run together in a first round of voting.

The two candidates receiving the most votes would then compete in the general election, regardless of party affiliation. Supporters say the proposition would open up the process by not restricting voters to party-line choices.

"I think there's a mood all over the state of California that the people want reform. People want to have change. Proposition 14 is one of those reforms that are very necessary," Schwarzenegger, after voting Tuesday morning in Los Angeles.

The moderate Republican governor, who is term limited and prevented from running for re-election this year, urged voters to take action: "Complaining about the stalemales in California doesn't help, but action helps. So be a reformanator, be a reformanator. Go out and vote and create the changes."

The most recent non-partisan polls conducted in the past two weeks indicate that a solid majority of California voters support Proposition 14.

Schwarzenegger and other supporters also say the measure would help moderates who face a tough time in party primaries, where conservatives and liberals often have an oversized sway on the results. But those against the initiative say that the measure will weaken the Democratic and Republican parties, and will embolden special interests.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Arnold Schwarzenegger • California
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Arnold was nothing more than a gimmick by the Republicans to oust Gray Davis. The only reason why CA voted for him is that people that people think Arnold is cool. Now after people get to finally know what Arnold actually believes in...the very same Republican activists are the 1st ones to throw him under the bus.

    June 8, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. paulbark

    I think this proposal makes sense. If the top two vote getters are from the same party, so be it. Let them face off in the general election.

    June 8, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. ED

    Any advise from this man should prompt one to do just the opposite. His administration is not successful and his advice is flawed.

    June 8, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    The proposition also removes the requirement that candidates identify which party they belong to. Since the GOP votes in almost absolute lock step, I think knowing which party a candidate belongs to can be important. I'm voting NO on 14.

    June 8, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. Philip James

    I wouldn't vote for anything Arnold is in favor of, he is for special interest only, his own. I lived in California for over Fifty years and he is the worst governor in the last fifty years.

    June 8, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. John in Brooklyn

    Vote "no" on this so-called "reform". If the governor were serious about allowing voters to vote for any candidate they wanted in the primaries, why not simply introduce same-day party affiliations? That way Democrats could vote for Republicans if they wanted, etc. Instead, the choices in the general election will now be determined by a tiny fraction of the electorate who vote and could, in all liklihood, result in two candidates facing off in the general election who are very similar in ideology, depending on what special interest group is able to mobilize their power base most effectively in the primaries – when nobody else votes.

    This move is not about expanding choices...its actually about trying to increase the liklihood of electing more Republicans in California, since Republicans tend to vote in both primaries and general elections, while Democrats tend to have light turnout in primaries and turn out in droves in California for the general election.

    Imagine the Democrats' surprise when, regardless of their large majority in California, they may find two Republicans facingt hem on the ballot in the fall.

    June 8, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    sounds like a LOUSY idea to me..... sounds like its real aim is to eliminate the 2-party system for a 1-party system....

    June 8, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Independent One

    I like this idea!!!

    June 8, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. ja

    did cali fix its money woes

    June 8, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. linus

    A less drastic way to fix the problem is to have a completely open primary. That way, Republicans can vote in the Democratic primary and Democrats can vote in the Republican party, so candidates with the most extreme views are weeded out.

    June 8, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. Ben in Texas

    Wow, Arnold. I'm impressed. That idea might go some way in breaking the strangle hold of the 2 parties, not to mention bringing a lot of excitement and participation to the primaries.

    Of course, the parties will never go for it, and they always get what they want. But nice try, though.

    June 8, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. JMikey54

    The only problem I see with this is if someone would be able to run as independent against the two who have been chosen to run in the general election. For example a republican could run as an independent in the general election and let two democrats who won the primary split the vote and then win the general election, or vice a versa.
    Or does this proposition prohibit anyone from running in the general election if they do not run in the primary? If it does not I see a problem.

    June 8, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. Guy

    After thinking about this, I like where it goes. I think instead of 2 final contenders, set it at 5 for more choices just in case the top 2 turn out to be not all there cracked up to be. The final few weeks of a campaign always say so much about the candidates that it sometimes shows their true (unfortunate) colors.

    June 8, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. hendrik

    Governor, retire please. I kind of like the system the way it is. That is unless it benefits the Democrats. I have the sneaky suspicion that you think it will favor your Rethuglican friends.

    June 8, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. CK in SD

    or you could make it so there were 2 democrats on the ballot and say 5 republicans, if each democrat gets 50% of the democratic vote and each republican gets 20% of the republican vote, the general election becomes the democratic primary

    June 8, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. pln

    Though there may be some merit to this proposition and change is needed, does this actually address the issue it is trying to fix? As we have seen with the Republican primary, isn't the more likely result of this proposition give a heavier advantage to those with the most money? This also opens up the opportunity to have only one party represented in the general election. How is that more choices? If political affiliation does not matter anymore, what is the purpose of having 2 elections? Why not just have one election where everyone competes and majority wins? This solution doesn't benefit moderates, just those with unlimited funds. If we want to really reform our election process, we need to create an even playing ground, where political view is actually the deciding factor, not your ability to pay for advertisements.

    June 8, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Proposition 14 is a truly excellent idea!

    June 8, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. mike

    Arnold didn't you say you were going to balance the budget but
    it hasn't happen so what is all this were going to do this or that I am tired of the republicans who want to cut government spending and the
    first thing to get cut is the public schools it is never the private
    schools because that is were wealth go don't worry about the budget
    in the next ten years we will be a third world nation who will be taking orders from india and china and you are worried about spending
    what a joke

    June 8, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |