Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had back to back opinion pieces published in the Washington Post earlier this month. On September 8th the Post published “Trump can’t erase a decade of clean air progress with a Sharpie,” a strongly worded opinion piece questioning the Trump Administration’s attempt to revoke California’s clean air waiver. The following day the newspaper published “Too many voters live under minority rule. Here’s why,” an essay, that he co-authored with journalist and gerrymandering critic David Daley, highlighting the latest research from Dr. Christian Grose, Dr. Jordan Carr Peterson, Matthew Nelson and Dr. Sara Sadhwani, showing that more than 59 million Americans live under minority rule.
In his September 8th op-ed Schwarzenegger questions the motivation behind the decision to undermine California’s clear air efforts: “The Trump administration, for some reason, is hellbent on reversing decades of history and progress. Whether it is political pettiness, shortsightedness or just plain jealousy, I couldn’t tell you. I can tell you that it’s wrong. It’s un-American. And it’s an affront to long-standing conservative principles.”
After explaining the longstanding history behind the California waiver, dating back to Governor Reagan and President Nixon, and challenging Republican orthodoxy as it relates to states’ rights, public safety and supporting business, Schwarzenegger explains how California’s economy continues to outperform the rest of the nation and why nearly fifty percent of all green tech venture capital flows to the state. Schwarzenegger closed the piece by stating that “you can’t just erase decades of history and progress by drawing a line through it with a Sharpie” and vowing that California will fight the move to revoke its waiver and will win.
Schwarzenegger and Daley’s joint op-ed focuses on a staggering statistic highlighted in “The Worst Partisan Gerrymanders in U.S. State Legislatures,” the newest white paper published by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, that shows that more than 59 million Americans “live under minority rule in a state where the party with fewer votes in the 2018 election nevertheless controls a majority of seats in the legislature.” After highlighting the six states – North Carolina, Wisconsin, Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – that have minority rule in one or both of their legislative chambers, Schwarzenegger Institute Academic Director Grose and co-authors explain how partisan gerrymandering is to blame for the “disproportional gaps between the percentage of the statewide popular vote…[for the governing party and] the percentage of seats the party won.”
Schwarzenegger and Daley make it clear that they believe legislative gerrymandering is bad for democracy and for America but take some solace in the fact that voters and the courts are beginning to fight back. Last year voters in Michigan, Missouri, Utah and Colorado all voted for redistricting reform and judges in North Carolina and Pennsylvania threw out maps that were clearly drawn for partisan advantage.
Both op-eds were widely read and shared on social media with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeting a link to the Minority Rule op-ed and the Schwarzenegger Institute white paper.