Game Changers Book Talk Examines Key California Elections

Gamer Changers authors
April 19, 2016

 Can voters truly change things by going to the polls? The answer is yes, according to the four authors of "Game Changers: Twelve Elections that Transformed California," which won the California Historical Society Book Award in 2014.

Steve Swatt, Susie Swatt, Jeff Raimundo, and Rebecca LaVally spoke at IGS about the book, which describes 12 key elections that changed the state’s political trajectory. Included in the list are the elections of Hiram Johnson, Earl Warren and Pat Brown as governor, and the passage of campaign finance reform, Proposition 13, and legislative term limits.

In such critical elections, voters have repeatedly made a lasting difference in the state’s politics, Steve Swatt said in introducing the talk.

Each of the four authors then talked about one segment of the book, including the approval of the bond issue that built the Los Angeles Aqueduct to bring water from the Owens Valley, the role of the Los Angeles Times in the nationally prominent 1934 gubernatorial election, the election of Earl Warren as governor, and the 1980 election that changed the nature of campaigns.

The talk was attended by Ted Lempert’s California Politics class, which has been using the book, and by members of the public.

The authors have many ties to IGS. Susie Swatt, who held key staff positions in the Legislature for many years, serves on the IGS National Advisory Council. Raimundo, a former journalist and campaign consultant, serves on the Matsui Center National Advisory Committee.

Event photos by Farrah Kazemi