This is the quietest election season in my dozen years in Half Moon Bay. Let me clarify: There is less fire in the state and local elections than in any election year in my memory.
Why is that?
I have three theories and I wonder if things are relatively quiet where you live as well.
- There is so much dysfunction and hate speech in presidential politics that it simply overwhelms any vitriol at the local level. It could be that people are getting their fill of political polemics in the outright war for the White House. I’ve never thought of political sniping as a zero-sum thing before, but maybe it is. I wonder if there is data that could measure the level of acrimony in other races throughout the country and compare that to, say, the 2012 election year?
- America is already great again. Times are relatively good. The economy has been on a slow, slow, slow upswing. Many more people have jobs than only a couple years ago. At this writing, we aren’t in any boots-on-the-ground wars (fingers crossed.) Racial tension over police action is a notable exception, and maybe that scuttles my theory in places like Charlotte and even New Iberia, La.
- Alternatively, America will never be great again. Maybe apathy is gaining momentum. Maybe there is little interest in state and local politics because it doesn’t carry the TV star power of presidential politics and folks are increasingly losing interest as a result. Maybe we just feel like we can’t make a difference? …
If any of that is true, it would have implications for our coverage. Should we ramp up coverage — readership metrics be damned — because we need to save the democracy? Should we provide less of that political horse race stuff because folks just don’t want it?
I’m not at all sure my experience is your experience. I’d like to hear from you about how the election season is going in your neck of the woods. Do people seem as engaged as ever in local politics? Comment, email me or give me a call.