In the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election, many in the TCU area have noticed something different about citizen participation in this election cycle.
Throughout campaign history, voters have typically shown their support by publicly displaying which candidate they are backing. In the 2012 presidential race, Obama-Biden and Romney-Ryan logos seemed to be everywhere.
However, TCU student and Tarrant County GOP Hispanic Engagement Field Director Jacob Velasquez said this election season has broken the trend of propaganda posters.
He said there are hardly any yard signs or bumper stickers around, at least in the neighborhoods surrounding the university.
“It’s just an interesting phenomenon that’s going on,” Velasquez said. “A number of people on both sides are just sort of disinterested in the election cycle.”
As an employee at the Tarrant County GOP Headquarters, Velasquez said people have refrained from purchasing yard signs for fear of vandalism or judgement.
“People have been stealing signs and vandalizing signs. I’ve gone into different neighborhoods before where people say they don’t want to express their political views because they could feel retaliation from their neighbors,” Velasquez said.
Other reasons for this phenomenon are plenty and varied, according to TCU political science professor Dr. Ralph Carter.
Aside from vandalism, Carter said voters are not using candidate propaganda because they simply are not interested in either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
“It’s strange but it’s a sign of how polar things have gotten. I think Americans would agree we have a choice of two flawed candidates,” Carter said. “As a result of that, I think the enthusiasm level in the campaign has been muted by what it normally is.”
In an interview below, Velasquez said the most discouraging part is the lack of citizen participation across the board, including voting.
Early voting in Texas took place Oct. 24 through Nov. 4.
Americans will still have the chance to vote on Election Day, Tuesday Nov. 8, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To find a convenient voting location, visit Vote Texas.