The California Democratic Party kicked off its annual three-day convention Friday with caucus meetings and parties at the Westin Bonaventure in Downtown Los Angeles. About 3,000 delegates, candidates and supporters attended, reveling in the success of Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democratic supermajority in the state legislature turning around California’s once bleak economy.
However, as California Democratic Party Chair John Burton and others noted repeatedly, success can lead to a sense that all is well and can exacerbate the tradional problem of low-voter turn out in mid-term elections. “We cannot be complacent,” said Burton, while also acknowledging that “it’s tough to be enthusiastic when you think you have a cinch” in your election.
Longtime Democratic strategist Bob Mullholland said he thinks the turnout for the 2014 elections could be worse than the 50% turnout in 2002. Right now, Gov. Brown’s popularity is higher than President Obama’s and he is expected to sail to re-election, as are Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Kamala Harris. “People don’t vote to reward someone" for the good job they’ve done," Mullholland told me. People vote when they are angry or in trouble—and that’s not the case with Democrats this year.