'How Arnold won the West' is a hilarious political satire on the most bizarre American election to date. In true Hollywood-style and after much media speculation, Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy for Governor of California on The Jay Leno Show in August 2003. The world was watching. But as Schwarzenegger hit the campaign trail, were we just witnessing the cult of celebrity?
In "How Arnold Won The West", Schwartzeneger plays his greatest role of all time, taking on the leading role in the Republican party's attempt to steal the position of Governor in the US's 5th largest economy. They evoke a 100 year old law, which they utilize to call for a recall, in an attempt to overthrow Governor Gray Davis in an orchestrated coup d'etat; damning him for creating a massive deficit for the state of California.
They begin by showing Arnold's(well the Republican's anyway) approach toward this feeble attempt to steal a victory away from the Democrats. It shows how Arnold would ONLY speak to a crowd in public settings, and every time he gave a speech, it was a carbon copy of the last. He promised to balance the budget, while not raising taxes and also to improve things like the school system and the environment. He claims he will achieve all these goals by stopping spending!! He also repeatedly says that the American people will see through the attempt, by every single other candidate to stop the recall, for what it really is.
Cooke then points out how the Recall was being single handedly funded by a Republican Congressman who had made millions from selling auto-theft devices. She points out how it is yet another ploy by Republicans to steal an election they could not win, as they did to Clinton, Gore, and also in Texas and Colarado. The film shows how the Californian people saw through this ploy and decided to take action, making this the biggest mockery US politics has ever seen. Candidates for governor ranged from porn stars, to guys promoting their beer, and even Gary Coleman!! In a hilarious montage of interviews, Cooke shows who Arnold is getting his support base from, and how the rest of Californians decided to turn the election into a circus in order to show the world how absurd this initiative really was.
Cooke then shows how Arnold and the Republicans filibustered the media, denying them ALL one on one access to Arnold. They put him in a position where he never once had to discuss the issues by taking questions from journalists, and when he did, he just avoided answering them, instead cracking jokes or changing the subject. One reporter points out how the Republicans, cleverly, used the media by taking all the limelight, but not letting them carry out their actual function. This shows how, despite taking a number of personal attacks, Arnold was able to come out on top and win the west.
This film points out, in an entertaining and informative fashion, how the Repulicans were able to buy themselves a new election and successfully turn it into a popularity contest. They chose the most known candidate, with convenient political ties to the Kennedy's. Despite the majority of Calfornia's attempts to stop the recall, the republicans were able to come out on top and achieve victory. This has stripped the state of California's political integrity, and should be seen as the biggest mockery of democracy in the history of the US.
(at the end Cooke points out that attempts are already being made to change the Constitution to allow landed American's like Arnold to run for President...how far will the republicans go?...how far will the American people and the world let them??)
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