California's roller-coaster economy — a boom and a bust each decade — has a counterpart in its topsy-turvy politics.
Every decade or so, the state's voters upset the conventional wisdom.
It happened 32 years ago when voters ignored opposition from the state's political leaders and enacted anti-tax Proposition 13.
It happened again in 1990 when voters, disgusted with a pay-to-play scandal in the Capitol, imposed term limits on elected officials.
Thirteen years after that, reacting to budget and energy crises, voters recalled a sitting governor and elected movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger as his successor.
The common denominator in these upheavals has been popular anger, often coinciding with feelings of economic distress. Recent polls indicate that Californians are stressed by recession and in a sour mood – primed, it would seem, for political change, however they may define that term.
That makes predicting winners and losers in this year's high-profile contests a dicey business at best.
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