Front page of the PD’s Forum section

Even in these shrinking days before the November election there are still a few surprises left in the media world.  I refer to the Plain Dealer’s full-page endorsement of Democrat Nina Turner over her Republican opponent, Secretary of State Jon Husted.   The paper’s statement was more than an act of altruism for a hometown candidate, although her residency in Cuyahoga County couldn’t hurt.

No, Turner is an aggressive, extremely savvy  state senator – the kind of spirited person you would  want to have on your side in any confrontation with the enemy.  In a state buttoned down by a Republican dynasty, she represents a healthy start toward the political equilibrium that the state so desperately needs.

The issue that the PD recognized but eludes the Beacon Journal’s editorial page  is what I’ve called the Husted Hustle for his tactics of talking one game plan while executing another.   For too long he’s been a leader in stirring the GOP witch’s brew with a Boy Scout’s honor to make voting easier and eliminate (non-existent) cheating.  Amazing how many of Husted’s media cheerleaders have bought into that notion at the expense of their own credibility.

But the PD knows something about the demographics of  Cuyahoga County, whose population is nearly one-third African American. It is obviously aware that Husted’s mythical protection of every voter’s rights  is at the expense of the minorities. Two federal courts have ruled his scheme unconstitutional despite the Ivory Towers who were inexplicably offended by their decisions.

As the PD asserted:

“Husted, 47, strongly defends his decision on early, in-person voting as stemming from a ‘bipartisan’ consensus  of the state’s election professionals.  But the state’s chief election officer must protect all Ohioans’  voting rights and not narrow those rights unequally.  Under Husted, those rights have frayed,   including through his directives to restrict hours and days for early in-person voting an to deny local boards the right to set their own hours.”

By now Cleveland has had plenty  of experience with the wreckage of past elections, from the purchase by elections officials of voting machines that didn’t work, to tabulating  errors to the general torture  of citizens trying to vote.   This time it wants  to begin  with a clean slate in Columbus and not an illusionist.  Hometowner Turner’s spirited attention to the system’s inglorious flaws as proposed by Husted was convincing.

Come to think of it, maybe the PD’s choice  wasn’t surprising after all.