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Total Recall: California’s Political Circus

It reads like a movie script. The year? 2003. The mission? Defeat hundreds of challengers to save the state of California and become its leader. But this wasn't a movie... it was a real-life election for governor that featured adult film stars, sumo wrestlers, comedians, and ended with the election of action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. In Total Recall: California’s Political Circus, CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash will unpack the scandal, partisanship, and celebrity of the Golden State’s 2003 recall election – and explore what it might have forecasted about politics today.

Arnold Schwarzenegger circa 2003 is against a neon background containing the Hollywood sign and palm trees

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Same Circus, Different Result
Total Recall: California’s Political Circus
Oct 13, 2021

And just like that, we’ve arrived at the final chapter of our story: The 2021 California Recall. There are plenty of echoes of the 2003 recall in the latest effort to oust Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. It was a complete circus... but with a completely different result. In this episode, we’ll take you through Newsom’s recall win, the lessons learned from 2003, and what the results can tell us about future elections.