Ohio Republican Party Chair Matt Borges had more than socks to give this year for Christmas Eve. In an interview with the Dayton Daily News printed Dec. 24, Borges said he wants to rile up the right with a ballot issue limiting state benefits extended to immigrants.
And why does he want to do this? Because he thinks it’s good policy? Hell no.
“That might really juice turnout,” he said.
It doesn’t have to be an anti-immigrant proposal, Borges said, anything that will exploit the fear and the hate in his party and get voters off their couches and at the voting booth will apparently do. Because, folks, that’s what Matt Borges is all about: Good government and good proposals on their merits, not playing petty politics to fear-monger and wedge the electorate.
Of course we all remember in 2004 when the Republicans put gay marriage bans on the ballot across the country to wedge voters into re-electing George W. Bush. That ban in Ohio was righteously struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States this past June, much to the chagrin and embarrassment of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, and to the delight of anybody who believes in equal rights.
Borges made his promise to exploit the bigoted, racist and xenophobic instincts of his party base after speculating about whether a marijuana legalization proposal, a proposal to wage the minimum wage or a green energy proposal might make it to the ballot, thus motivating the Democratic base.
“I appreciate him speculating on what we might be doing,” responded Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper, adding that outside groups that are genuinely concerned about minimum wage workers and pay stagnation are discussing whether to pursue a ballot issue in 2016.
“There are discussions but it’s a lot of folks. Those reflect a sincere concern about workers and the fact that this legislature isn’t doing anything about it,” Pepper said.
In October, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine certified a proposed constitutional amendment to raise the state minimum wage to $12 an hour, up from $8.10 per hour. In 2006, Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment, backed by unions, that ties the state minimum wage to inflation.
Pepper said the state party isn’t orchestrating putting issues on the statewide ballot as a get-out-the-vote strategy.
Even if though the Ohio Democratic Party isn’t orchestrating these efforts, as Borges has now said outright he intends to do on his side, look at the contrast between the left and the right here.
Democratic voters are motivated to vote by the idea of increasing wages, putting money into the hands of consumers and lifting the standard of living for everybody. Democratic voters are motivated by the idea of rolling back an antiquated, foolish law that unjustly criminalizes over 20,000 people across the state every year. Democrats are motivated to work toward a sustainable energy future where the promise of our great civilization can live on in perpetuity instead of crashing and burning under the crush of unsustainable resource consumption.
These goals are being sought at the grassroots level by people who have organized and built coalitions in an attempt to participate in self-governance under a Republican-controlled state legislature and administration they correctly recognize does not share any of their priorities.
And what do we have on the other side? We have a cynical, corrupt party chairman looking to finagle ways to appeal to the most hateful, divisive, greedy, recalcitrant instincts of his party to screw over immigrants, homosexuals and anybody else of whom they do not approve.
“We want to take a look at a variety of hot-button issues that might help us,” Borges said. “I’m trying to convene a group right now. I want all the stakeholders around the table.”
By “all stakeholders,” no doubt, he means other hateful morons. What a slimy little toad this man is—a pathetic, slithering insult to human dignity and compassion.
D.C. DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure. He has also written for Government Executive online, the National Journal’s Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He is the Associate Editor of The Athens NEWS in Athens, Ohio. DeWitt can be found on Facebook and Twitter @DC_DeWitt.