Well, Josh Mandel is back, four years later as Trump ll. Older, but probably not much wiser from his first failed challenge to Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2012.

Mandel, the one-time Boy Wonder who will be all the way aged to 38 in the 2018, mid-terms, patriotically described himself in his official announcement on twitter, as an ex-Marine “America first” guy ” who is the “first to fight” while rising two years before the mast of the mid-term election. It seems like yesterday that Josh, now in his second term as state treasurer, boasted to an Akron Press Club audience that he had responded to the urgent appeals of friends to step into the vacuum to save the nation from all of its bad habits. In that speech, he also told us that he had walked a zillion miles wearing out one pair of shoes after another knocking on doors for a seat on Lyndhurst City Council . With two years to go, might we not start a Shoe Fund for Josh as he campaigns from the halls of Marietta to the shores of Lake Erie? 

I do not exaggerate. In his fervor in 2012 to make America great again (!), he even cast Brown to the right-wing sharks by referring to him as “un-American” for, of all things, the senator’s support of the auto bailout. You can see where this is going. Josh, you shouldn’t have.

This time, his new idol, Donald Trump, has provided all of the punch lines for a two year campaign (Josh even spoke at Trump’s Victory dinner). it seemed, then, only appropriate that he would announce his candidacy on Pearl Harbor Day. It was the full Mandel.

His ego and self-esteem are daunting, even his oft-repeated boasts that wants to enact real reforms in Washington, arriving as an outsider like Trump to drain the swamp. Did I mention a Trump ego? Josh promises that he will be the “first to fight Washington corruption to keep America “safe, free, and prosperous”. The first.

Like Trump, He says he will end political correctness and sanctuary cities, and take a tough stand against Muslim refugees. But as a Clevelander, will he also guarantee a Super Bowl for the Browns?

Mandel has proved himself to be nothing if not an out of control braggart and now can count on Trump as his alter ego for a running start on his second race against Brown, who beat him by 6 points in 2012 despite Mandel’s pockets-full treasury of millions from right-wing donors.

Clearly, the fellow has brazenly rolled the dice without anybody having a clue about what the political landscape will be after two years of Trump. Nor how many Republican candidates will be in the same lanes in the primaries.

With the holiday season upon us, I wish I didn’t have to write this. But it’s never too early to want your country back.