Perhaps there is nothing unusual at all, that it just seems that way to someone who has been watching elections in Orange County for decades, but in the month leading up to the presidential election, GOP nominee Donald Trump is largely MIA from the Republican Party of Orange County Facebook page.
As of Tuesday afternoon, one of 23 posts put up by the local party, which is headquartered in Tustin, mentions Trump.
It's an Oct. 19 post inviting guests to watch the presidential debate with like minded Republicans. And Trump is not actually named in the text; he's on the Trump-Pence logo used to illustrate the post.
To be clear, I am referring to the official party posts on Facebook/OCRepublicans. There are examples throughout the page where the OC GOP's Facebook friends leave comments that mention Trump.
Not all are positive, perhaps owing to this region being home to more establishment Republicans than upstart ones.
Under the post with the illo that resembles a Trump-Pence sticker or yard sign, Ryan Cantor comments, “My fellow like minded Republicans can't stand Donald Trump or anyone who posts his sign on Facebook.”
Most of the October GOP of OC Facebook friend comments are positive toward The Donald, however.
Under “Visitor Posts,” Cathy Forkey includes a link to what she considers, in all caps, “BEST TRUMP AD !!!”
An official post pleading for GOP registration and votes includes the style of a familiar slogan with the words, “Keep Calm and Vote Republican.” Lillian Egleston corrects that with her comment: “Keep Calm and Vote Trump/Pence.”
Right under that is an Oct. 10 invitation from the OC GOP to meet former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. “Sorry, no,” comments Carole Temple, “she is NOT a Trump supporter.”
To be fair, the main function of the Republican Party of Orange County is to get the vote out for local GOP candidates, even the ones in non-partisan municipal races. Of secondary importance are the state and national races, where Orange County's Red State votes often offset the Blue State ballots from Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Then again, if you go to the Democratic Party of Orange County's Facebook page, you will discover that, also as of Tuesday afternoon, five out of 23 official October posts mention and/or picture Hillary Clinton.
The same split-screen image of her smiling next to a smirking Trump is featured in two separate party invitations to watch debates with fellow Democrats.
A follow-up photograph party officials posted from one of those debates does not mention Clinton by name but does say of those shown viewing a screen, “We're with her!”
Actually, that's not totally true, according to Democratic Party Facebook friend Brian McNelis, who comments, “Who invited the Trump-supporting douchebag that was sitting in the back with the baby?”
(That douchebag is just lucky he was not at a Trump rally, where the baby would have been tossed by security. As you-know-who once shouted, “I DON'T LIKE BABIES!!!”)
The OC Dems' posting of a press release about experts predicting where in the country Trump and Clinton will have the most impact on election day drew this comment from Albert PerezLugo: “The next and last debate I believe will be on Tuesday, October 19. Maybe Hillary's people ought to invite Donald Trump's accusers to sit front row in the audience and see how he feels about it, The Hypocrite.”
Adds Doug Arrasin: “Orange County going blue would be amazing. Hasn't happened since the New Deal, will be exciting to see if it happens.”
Perhaps most telling about the two parties' official views of their nominees is found on an OC Dems post about an intern at a phone bank for Assembly candidate Sharon Quirk Silva. In the background of the photo of the young woman identified as Grace is a wall with placards from several Democratic candidates in November, including that of the Clinton-Kaine ticket.
No such Trump-Pence placards are seen in similar photos featuring Orange County Republican campaign posters on that Facebook page.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.