All for naught?
What if they gave an election and nobody voted? That’s the question being asked these days in Los Angeles, where less than 12 percent of registered voters bothered to cast ballots in a recent countywide election.
Yes, local elections usually have a lower turnout than general elections. But several LA City Council seats were up for grabs, as were the mayoralty and three significant and controversial ballot measures.
The election was also a de facto referendum on President Donald Trump, the first since his stunning win in November. As political strategist Mike Madrid noted in a Los Angeles Times post-election op-ed piece, politicians and activists tried to gin up excitement about the election by injecting Trump in the races. “His name and face were everywhere and a part of almost every campaign,” Madrid wrote, with the candidates all vying to be more anti-Trump than their opponents.
“And after millions of dollars were spent making Trump the issue on everything from land use decisions to fixing potholes,” Madrid concluded, “Angelenos stayed home.”
That has to be worrisome to Democratic leaders. They’re well aware that all across the country Republicans have whupped their candidates in local elections, such that the GOP controls not only Congress and the presidency, but also most governor’s offices and state legislatures.
Democrats are counting on the anti-Trump energy that has generated raucous town hall meetings, million-women marches and a push for sanctuary cities to give Democrats a boost in the 2018 midterm elections. But if their voters don’t turn out, all that anger, dislike and disgust will be for naught.