Uninterested in Politics

by Dave Schuler on March 7, 2013

Registered voters in Los Angeles give new meaning to the words “uninterested in politics”:

Mark the date, remember the day.

On March 5, 2013, Los Angeles redefined apathy.

A measly 16% of the city’s registered voters — or perhaps around 20% once all the mail-in ballots are counted — turned out in an election with the following things at stake:

How much we pay in sales tax, who controls the nation’s second-largest school district, who might fill nine City Council seats and three community college board positions, and who will serve as city attorney, city controller and mayor.

This is late-night TV joke territory, as in:

“Election officials were stunned in Los Angeles on Tuesday when 16% of the city’s voters cast ballots. They couldn’t believe that many people knew there was an election.”

You could spin it, I suppose, and say it’s not that we’re disengaged, we’re just laid back. A whole metropolis of Big Lebowskis, dude.

I think this provides some evidence for a point I’ve made before. Our problem is not that not enough people show up to vote. It’s that the franchise has been extended too far. If every single human being living in the city of Los Angeles were eligible to vote, I strongly suspect the rate of voter turnout would fall below 5%.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

michael reynolds March 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Honestly, I wouldn’t have turned out for it. How the hell would I know who should be on the community college board? For that matter, how much do most voters know about city council candidates? I don’t even know if my current town has a city council. I imagine someone’s running the place but I have no idea who.

TastyBits March 7, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Other than the sales tax, what does it matter to me who is elected? The spoils will be divided among the winners, and the losers will assure their fools things would be different. As to the sales tax, the people are going to get screwed one way or the other.

The rational choice would be to not vote. Save the gas money, and let the suckers have fun. I would suggest the “low information” folks are the smart ones.

jan March 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Wow, what cynicism there is now, where your vote doesn’t seem to mean a damn thing! People get the government they want. And, if they chose to not even vote for the government they want, then they should be satisfied with what they ultimately get.

I’m not happy with government. But, I’ll continue to at least cast my vote, beforehand getting as much information that is available to me. After all, one does have to work occasionally at maintaining a free society — otherwise someone else may be doing all your decision-making for you in the future, and not entirely in your best interests, either.

Drew March 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm

All hail, jan!!

Icepick March 7, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Whoever wrote that column sucks. The BIG Lebowski was the millionaire. The one that didn’t care was The Dude, the ostensible Little Lebowski.

The writer fucked up the pop culture in a city that only cares about the pop culture, and did it while complaining that the people of LA don’t care about politics. Perhaps if the news organizations of LA didn’t suck so much….

Icepick March 7, 2013 at 11:07 pm

I’ll just state that at least here in Central Florida local politics is extremely slimy. I’d rather run up against the combined slime machines of Obama and Karl Rove than go up against some of the local characters.

I’ll also note that a fair number of the local political types end up getting rich while doing government work. Amazing how that keeps happening.

TastyBits March 8, 2013 at 8:40 am

@jan

I never stated that my vote did not count. My vote does not matter. My vote counts to somebody, but that somebody is not going to make a difference in my life. In large cities, elections determine which political machine will divvy the spoils (or hand out contracts for the less cynical). On the state and national level, it is not much different.

I have followed politics for a long time, and I saw it was a game some time back (late 80′s or early 90′s). Everybody assures me that their candidate and party will change the world, but very little changes. With each change in power, there is a corresponding change in each party’s position on issues, and the partisans either do not see it or chose not to see it – stupid or willfully ignorant.

What I find amusing and infuriating is the call to vote combined with the dismay over the votes cast. The other team has low information, uneducated, entertainment-driven, blah, blah, blah, but my team has the opposite. When those same voters vote for my team, their IQ suddenly jumps.

I want the government out of my life – out of my wallet and out of my bedroom. Political parties attempt to garner as much power as possible. When out of power, they will whine when the other side advances the scope of government, but once again in power, the will forget their objections.

Drew March 8, 2013 at 11:25 am

Has the world ended yet?? I heard that the sequester was the end of the world.

Of course, I’ve heard that for 30 years. Children dying, the elderly eating dog food before they become dog food………no more schools, and they can’t read……..global warming taking out NYC……(hmmmm, food for thought)…….

Where are we? All dead yet?

Just wondering……..

Icepick March 8, 2013 at 2:10 pm

the elderly eating dog food before they become dog food

Purina is … SOYLENT GREEN!

global warming taking out NYC……(hmmmm, food for thought)…….

I saw that a few people yesterday were rather pleased with Kim Jong Un’s threat to take out Washington DC. It made me wonder if nuking DC would be a winning idea for a third party Presidential run.

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