All of the Ohio House and one third of the Senate are up for reelection this year. With the gerrymander from hell in full effect, there will likely be little movement in its composition. Another two years of absurdest, Republican radicalism will bring Ohio one step closer to being another Kansas and a lab and test market for draconian actions to create a Conservative utopia.
The gerrymandered districts will also restrict any real change in Ohio’s US House delegation. It will stay overwhelmingly Right Wing Republican. The days of Ohio as a moderate force in American politics is in the past, for now.
So the best chance to regain a semblance of sanity and moderation here in the Buckeye State is to flip the statewide offices now in the clutches of the GOP.
So as we hurtle towards election day, Democrats are closer to unseating the incumbents than one would expect in a midterm cycle without a Presidential or Senate race to drive turnout. And turnout is the key.
The last midterm far too many Dems across Ohio and the nation sat out in a fit of pique over the inability of President Obama and Dem majorities in Congress to pass everything the unicorn wing of the party wanted. It was a case of idealism ignoring political reality. And as a party the Democrats have a bad habit of turning on themselves over perceived betrayal. That mindset cost a Senate seat in Arkansas that had been held by a Democrat for over a century.
The result in Ohio of Democratic angst was the razor thin victory by John Kasich to unseat Ted Strickland. Low turnout also handed the legislature and all state offices to the GOP.
So, for the last four years Ohio has, at times, been a national punch line (Remember a fetus testifying before the Ohio House?). Ohio moved to the forefront in passing the most restrictive abortion regulations in the nation by tucking them into a budget bill. The reddest states in the Old Confederacy used Ohio’s regs as a template for their own restrictions. We are, after all, major test market.
After the GOP/Tea Party had their ass handed to them on the union busting SB5, they made it harder to get a ballot initiative going. They cut taxes on the rich as they expanded the sales tax.
Ohio refused to set up an exchange under the ACA. The legislature also forbade abortion coverage in policies sold in the exchange set up by the Feds. One of Ohio AG DeWine’s first acts was to join a lawsuit challenging the ACA.
Since the last four years has been a litany of rolling back women’s rights, voting rights and shredding the safety net, what’s left if the GOP holds all the power for the next four years?
Expect another assault on unions.
Right after the defeat of SB5, we saw talk of pushing a move to make Ohio a so-called right to work state. Yep, the Right is that tone deaf. The Kasich Administration arm twisted the talk out of existence. For now. The idea was put on hold till after this election cycle. Obviously Kasich did not want another fight with labor exploding now. Expect a resurrection in ’15. The GOP knows breaking Unions will cripple the State Democratic Party’s fundraising abilities. Thus cementing Ohio as a one party state firmly in the grasp of the extremists that control the GOP.
If reelected Secretary of State, Jon Husted will team up with the Ohio Legislature to continue dismantling every progressive move on election reform passed in the last decade. We’ll see stringent ID requirements, voting roll purges and any other move they can co-opt from the new Confederacy the Ohio GOP longs to join.
AG DeWine will continue to appeal anti equality losses through the Federal Courts. He will continue to continue to claim it is his duty to defend Ohio laws in court. He seems blind to Attorney Generals in starts like Wyoming seeing the writing on the wall and declining to defend a losing position. He’ll also defend any suits involving abortion laws, using the same rationalization as Ohio move towards a direct challenge of Roe v. Wade.
Kasich, as he eyes a run for the White House, won’t veto any abortion regulation as he plays to the national base. He will need to cement his conservative credentials by making Ohio a Tea party paradise. Expect more tax cuts for the wealthy as Kasich and accomplices try to find a way to repeal the income tax instead of properly funding education or restoring cuts to local government.
Expect more freedom to loot education funding by charters that give a lot of money to the GOP. Ohio will be sold off piece by piece in the name of privatization. Talk of charter colleges will resurface. That could turn a respected institution like The Ohio State University into a DeVry.
Josh Mandel will continue his questionable policies and decisions as he ponders his next run for a different office.
Ohio, once a leader in innovation, technology and education will devolve into a modern Mississippi or Arkansas when it comes to eradicating poverty, restricting women’s rights, gaining non minimum wage jobs, providing an excellent education, fighting equality as a priority and general vile Republican shenanigans.
So the burning question this election cycle is what kind of Ohio are we going to live in?
Democrats outnumber Republicans in voter registration. In off-year elections the GOP voter turns out in droves, usually. The Dems, not so much.
It is too simple. We vote. We win. Period. You can’t sit back and wait on a perfect candidate to sweep in and change the world. Not going to happen. Flawed candidates are a fact of political life. You need to vote for the one who reflects your world view the best. You don’t change the world overnight. You do it incrementally. Local elections. State elections. Steady forward movement is derailed by impatience.
To change Ohio for the better just vote. Take someone with you. Turnout is the key to a saner future in Ohio. And it would be nice to throw a wrench in Kasich’s run for POTUS in ’16.
Vote! It’s the weapon we wield in our defense of our values.