I’ve been waiting for the first winner of the Democratic primary for Commissioner to finally break through the reality barrier and admit that they could die or be filmed running naked down Churton St. and still win the fall election.
But the campaign meetings happen, and the game is played. Money is raised, signs are planted, and the earnest supplications for campaign money are sent. And the press plays along with the masquerade. Meanwhile, we all get dumber.
A Republican has never won a county commissioner seat in county history. And it will be a good long while before it happens, if ever. The commissioners are elected by a very small number of primary voters in the spring, usually around ten to fifteen percent of the electorate.
When the fall election rolls around, the larger crowds come out to the polls and cast their ballots for the big races that are in the news. Then they look down the ballot and see a bunch of names they don’t recognize and go with the straight-party ballot. Since a strong majority of Orange County voters are Democrats, it’s a done deal.
The end result is that the citizenry is deprived of real engagement on the issues during an election season that garners the most attention from voters. During the fall season, more citizens are paying more attention to politics than any other time. Yet county issues are not in the mix.
There are a lot of reasons that County issues and politics are not well understood and are far from the minds of most citizens, but this is surely one. Because few people are vested in the process, much of what the County does is not tracked by the electorate.
In a future column, I’ll offer some ways that we can change this atrophied system, but in the meantime, I’d like to pick up a little cash from anyone who wants to bet that a Republican will win a Commissioner seat this fall. In fact, I’ll bet that no Republican will come within 5%.