Los Angeles County had a dismal turnout rate in the March 7 election, the first chance for voters to express themselves at the ballot box since Donald Trump’s stunning victory. People here seem more political than in the past — they go to a lot of protests and town halls, and they fill their social media accounts with anti- GOP screeds. But less than 12% of eligible voters showed up.
This suggests that hatred of our new president isn’t sufficient to get out the vote.
Granted, the election was a local affair. The most controversial questions for voters involved measures to regulate the cannabis industry and restrict development. The national GOP was not on the ballot. Neither was Trump. And yet, politicians and activists, eager to combat the usual off-year, off-season voter apathy, certainly tried to inject Trump in the race.
His name and face were everywhere and a part of almost every campaign. He was on mailers, mobile ads and door hangers. Candidates and interest groups worked overtime to show that their opponents were somehow supportive of, aligned with or of similar cast of mind to the unpopular man in the White House.
And after millions of dollars were spent making Trump the issue on everything from land use decisions to fixing potholes, Angelenos stayed home. That could mean trouble for Democrats nationwide…. The question for Democrats: If these core groups in L.A. didn’t show up on Tuesday, will their counterparts elsewhere show up for the 2018 midterm?