Trump Huge Inaugural TV Ratings, but Crickets in California

California-students-protest-Donald-Trump (Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty)
Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty

President Donald Trump’s inauguration scored the second-highest television ratings in 36 years, but there was no visible celebration in California.

Despite the brouhaha that broke out between the Trump administration and the media over the size and enthusiasm of the Trump inauguration, Nielsen Ratings ranked the television audience at 30.6 million, the second-highest since Ronald Reagan’s 41.8-million-viewer monster 36 years ago. The TV audience share was 50 percent higher than Barack Obama’s 20.5 million in 2013, but 18 percent below Obama’s 38 million in 2009.

But there was no visible celebration in California, where Democrats just won a supermajority of both houses of the state legislature. Even Orange County, once a bastion of conservatism, voted for Hillary Clinton, the first Democrat presidential nominee to win the OC since 1936.

California ranked as the number one state for political campaign contributions, with $728,805,337 in the 2016 cycle. The state was also number one in money donated directly to Democrats, and number two in money donated directly to Republicans, according to the non-partisan Open Secrets.

That huge money advantage generally explains why California Republicans have not won a statewide election in California for more than a decade. With GOP party registration at historic lows, Republicans were unable to field a competitive candidate to challenge for the first open U.S. Senate seat to become available in a quarter century.

California used to be dominated by Republicans. Although in 1960 the Democrats enjoyed a 17 percent voter registration advantage of 57 percent to 40 percent for Republicans, the GOP get-out-the-vote machine produced turnout numbers that far exceeded Democrats, according to Public Policy Institute of California.

Both Republicans and Democrats have lost significant percentages of partisan registration to independents, who have risen from 3 percent in 1960 to about 24 percent today. During that period, Democrats fell from 57 percent to 43 percent and Republicans fell from 40 percent to 26 percent.

The poor turnout in California for Republicans in the 2016 election was due to the Republican Party and the Trump campaign writing off California as unwinnable. As a result, Hillary Clinton won 7,362,490 votes, 61.6 percent, to Donald Trump’s 3,916,209 votes, 32.8 percent — about a 3.4 million advantage for Clinton.

California Republicans, who used to out-vote their registration percentage by 8 percent, under-voted their registration by 3 percent. Meanwhile, Democrats over-voted their registration by 7 percent. Exit polls found that Hillary Clinton won men by 21 percent; women by 36 percent; and Independents by 13 percent.

Democrats like to say that Trump is “Not My President,” because Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by about 2.8 million votes. But they should really be saying that Trump is “Not California’s President.”



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