There must be something about California politicians smashing things to get media attention. Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari’s campaign event Wednesday – at which he asked voters to smash toy trains – is just the latest such stunt.
Kashkari offered $25 gas cards to voters who smashed toy trains in a dig at Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s high-speed rail project.
USC Political Analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe says Kashkari needs all the media attention he can get, as many voters haven’t heard of him and he’s trailing Brown by a wide margin in the polls.
“He is using a time-honored political gimmick: Do something that’s fun, do something that’s off-beat, do something that doesn’t take a whole lot of thinking – and you may well get covered,” she says.
But a toy train isn’t the first object to be smashed in the name of politics – and nowhere near the largest.
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger used a wrecking ball to smash a car during his 2003 Recall campaign. It symbolized his push to reverse a car tax increase. And way back in 1969, Asm. March Fong smashed a toilet on the Capitol steps in her bid to ban pay toilets in California.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pulls on a pipe valve to stop the flow of fake red ink during a news conference at Cal Expo in Sacramento, Calif., Wedensday, Feb. 23, 2005. Rich Pedroncelli / AP