Game Changers: Twelve Elections That Transformed California


Paperback, 6 x 9, 320 pages.
ISBN: 9781597143202.

BUY from heydayBUY ON BOOKShop

By Steve Swatt with Susie Swatt, Jeff Raimundo, and Rebecca LaVally; Foreword by Bruce E. Cain


Game Changers examines California’s history through the prism of twelve elections that forever changed the state. Drawing from a wealth of primary sources, including new interviews conducted by the authors, each chapter explores one election (Leland Stanford’s gubernatorial race, the initiative that mandated term limits, and the Los Angeles Aqueduct Bond Measure, to name a few), revealing the forces behind the choices made at the polls and the consequences that carry over to this day. The authors offer thought-provoking interpretation rooted in decades of experience in journalism, public-policy analysis, and political consulting at the state Capitol. Through their perspectives we better understand the intricate game played in Sacramento by contenders such as the bespectacled and brilliant progressive reformer Hiram Johnson, iconoclastic muckraker-turned-candidate Upton Sinclair, and Proposition 13 author Howard Jarvis, with his zealous oratory and machete approach to tax reform. By focusing on elections, the authors show that Californians’ voices are as powerful and transformative as the tectonic forces beneath us.

Published in collaboration with the California Historical Society.

Winner of the 2014 California Historical Society Book Award

Silver Medal, 2017 Independent Publishers Book Award (West Pacfic—Best Regional Nonfiction)

Regional Nonfiction Finalist, Next Generation Indie Book Awards

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Steve Swatt is a veteran political analyst and public affairs executive. He is a former award-winning political reporter with twenty-five years of journalism experience with The San Francisco Examiner, United Press International in Los Angeles, and KCRA-TV (NBC) in Sacramento. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Susie Swatt


Susie Swatt is a member of the National Advisory Council of the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley. She spent nearly forty years as a key staff member in the California Legislature. As a special assistant for the Fair Political Practices Commission, she researched and authored a study that won a national award for “investigative work in the public interest.”


Jeff Raimundo recently completed twenty-five years as a political and public relations consultant based in Sacramento. Previously, he enjoyed a twenty-year career as a newspaper reporter and editor with The Sacramento Bee and McClatchy Company newspapers in Sacramento and Washington, DC.


Rebecca LaVally, PhD, teaches rhetorical criticism and persuasion at California State University, Sacramento. She is a former editor of the California Senate’s public-policy research office and former Sacramento bureau chief for United Press International and Gannett News Service.