As leaders of the “Resistance,” America’s declining newspapers see their jobs as educating ignorant Americans about the dangers of That Man in the White House. Case in point, this piece in the Los Angeles Times. Ostensibly, it’s about the poor turnout (anybody surprised, given L.A.’s electoral makeup?) in the recent municipal elections — but, of course, it’s about you know who…
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?
Maybe that’s also because Los Angeles is a one-state country, and California is a one-party state, whose voters are either very wealthy residents of coastal enclaves, and therefore protected from the consequences of their own votes, or the seething poor, many of them illegals, living east of Western Avenue. It’s an unstable coalition at best, and one that will eventually collapse along with the blue-state model and its potholed roads, failing dams, trains to nowhere and lack of fresh water and arable land.
The middle class is in decline. And as it declines, so, it seems, does voting. That’s the story of Los Angeles, but perhaps it’s also the story of the Democratic Party.
If Democrats want voters to show up — and they’ve long argued that when more people show up, they win — they may have to prove to people who have less and less of an economic stake in our society that voting really matters. And to do that, they’re going to have to do more than remind everyone that Donald Trump is in the White House.
As the Democrats learned the hard way last November, however, showing up is not enough. As long as Democrats congregate in welfare states run by social-justice warriors, their larger effect on the country is nil. In effect, they’ve self-quarantined in a few states along the west coast, the upper midwest and the Bos-Wash corridor. The trick now is to keep them there.