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From global warming to redistricting: Is Arnold back?

Former Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, followed by French officials, at a 2014 meeting in Paris targeting climate change. (Photo: Frederic Legrand, COMEO, via Shutterstock)

It was ‘way back in 1984 when Arnold Schwarzenegger first uttered the movie catchwords “I’ll be back” in The Terminator.

Today, Arnold is back.

Sort of.

Schwarzenegger signed the original California cap-and-trade law in 2006. Then, he had support only from Democrats.

In the past several weeks, the former governor of California has:

–Stepped up his advocacy for the environment, specifically by endorsing California’s controversial cap-and-trade law and launching an environmental policy resource for state governments.

–Along with former president Barack Obama and former attorney general Eric Holder, become a leading opponent of gerrymandering, the art of drawing legislative and congressional districts to protect incumbents.

–Engaged in a public feud with President Donald Trump, started by Trump when he tweeted that “Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show.” Schwarzenegger fired back: “I wish you the best of luck and I hope you’ll work for ALL of the American people as aggressively as you worked for your ratings.” Later, Schwarzenegger told SiriusXM that he found the motive for Trump’s tweets: “I think he’s in love with me.” And just a few days ago, Schwarzenegger delivered a blistering review of Trump’s comments after the Charlottesville protests.

— Donated $100,000 on Aug. 13 to the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, saying he was “horrified” events in Charlottesville.

Meanwhile, the Schwarzenegger Institute at the University of Southern California (Advancing Policy not Politics) has launched the Digital Environmental Handbook.

“While these so-called ‘white nationalists’ are lucky to live in a country that defends their right to voice their awful, incorrect, hateful opinions, the rest of us must use our voices and resources to condemn hate and teach tolerance at every opportunity,” he declared on Facebook. “My message to them is simple: you will not win. Our voices are louder and stronger.”

Meanwhile, the Schwarzenegger Institute at the University of Southern California (Advancing Policy not Politics) has launched the Digital Environmental Handbook, described by the Institute as “a first of its kind environmental policy resource for state legislative leaders.” The handbook project is a partnership between the institute and the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, and the idea is to share ideas among state lawmakers.

Schwarzenegger signed the original California cap-and-trade law in 2006. Then, he had support only from Democrats.

In a July 4 speech before a caucus conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Schwarzenegger took on Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement to curb greenhouse gases:

“America did not drop out of the Paris Agreement. One man dropped out of the Paris Agreement,” Schwarzenegger declared.  “We all stayed in the Paris Agreement … That is why it is so import that we fill the vacuum where the Federal Government has fallen short.  We are now going to step in and do the work.”

Although they are both Republicans and former friendly acquaintances, Schwarzenegger and Trump now seem to loathe one another.

Schwarzenegger is no stranger to political reform.  When he was California’s governor between 2003 and 2011, voters passed ballot propositions that handed the power to draw legislative and congressional districts to an independent body with no partisan majority. They also instituted a reform that sent the top two vote-getters in the primary to the general, regardless of party.

Now, through his Terminate Gerrymandering Crowdpac, Schwarzenegger has committed to match donations to a fund that will help Common Cause participate in a case before the Supreme Court challenging maps drawn by Wisconsin Republicans. The court will hear the case, Gill vs. Whitford, during the term beginning in October. Speaking at Duke Law School, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called it the most important case to come before the court in its next term.

Although they are both Republicans and former friendly acquaintances, Schwarzenegger and Trump now seem to loathe one another.

After Trump tweeted about Schwarzenegger’s ratings as host of The Apprentice, Schwarzenegger fired back in a video. Citing the president’s poll approval ratings, he said: “Oh, Donald, the ratings are in, and you got swamped. Wow. Now you’re in the 30s?”

Schwarzenegger has just turned 70. By all accounts, he is in good physical condition, and works out consistently. With all his activity on the policy/political scene recently, added to the fact that his last few post-governorship movies have not set box offices on fire, might there be another run for political office in his future?

He’s also got his own heavy baggage. He fathered a son during an affair with his housekeeper and kept it secret for 14 years.

Maybe a run for the Senate, if incumbent Dianne Feinstein decides to hang it up in 2018? He meets the requirements — at least 30 years old, a U.S. citizen and at least a nine-year resident of the state he’d represent. Politico reported in March that GOP strategists said he was considering a run.

He appears to have ruled it out, however.

“I’m deeply flattered by all of the people who have approached me about running for Senate, but my mission right now is to bring sanity to Washington through redistricting reform like we passed here in California,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “Gerrymandering has completely broken our political system and I believe my best platform to help repair it is from the outside, by campaigning for independent redistricting commissions,” Schwarzenegger wrote.

The former governor seems to be having a wonderful time pushing his pro-environment, anti-gerrymandering agenda, and even without the movies or holding elected office, he enjoys plentiful headlines. And it isn’t his style to be merely one of 100. ”

He’s also got his own heavy baggage. He fathered a son during an affair with his housekeeper and kept it secret for 14 years — events that ended his 25-year marriage to Maria Shriver. The son is now 19 years old.

He’s had various affairs, including with his “Red Sonja” co-star Brigitte Nielsen, which Schwarzenegger said happened while he was dating Shriver.

“‘You can’t go back – if I could, in reality, be Terminator, of course I would go back in time and would say, ‘Arnold… no,’ ” Schwarzenegger told an interviewer in the April issue on Men’s Journal.

He told “60 Minutes” that he’s always tried to keep things to himself.

“That’s the way I handled things, and it always has worked,” the action hero-turned-politician told “60 Minutes.”

“But it’s not the best thing for people around me.”

 


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