If President Donald Trump is still president then because Republicans refuse to impeach him despite having multiple good reasons to remove him from office, he will use the power of the White House to further fuel his infamous bluster, deceptions, and over-the-top rhetoric.
He’ll attempt to win the Electoral College again, a feat he’s boasted he ought not to have won last year since he said it’s rigged against Republicans.
Or will Democrats who got pounded bigly in 2016 when the party’s base fractured support between Hillary Clinton, whose candidacy was flawed in many ways, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose uphill campaign spawned a revolution of sorts with millennials, flag a ride from voters at the crossroads next year?
The disastrous results of needless fracture and failure to unite around a candidate (even if that candidate wasn’t made in Democratic heaven) is all to clear to see. Millennials and other traditional Democratic constituencies, including African-Americans, women and minorities, soured on Clinton enough that Trump won Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania by fewer than 78,000 votes total. That delivered the Electoral College to Trump even though Clinton won the national popular vote by three million votes.
At The Crossroads
In Ohio, the perennial presidential battleground state dating back a century that Trump won last year over Clinton by nearly nine points, the next big election year isn’t in 2020, but next year.
That’s when Buckeye voters will elect a new legislature and fill the five open statewide offices, a Pinball Wizard’s combination that has enabled Republicans to run the state in the same single-minded way Trump runs Trump Tower in New York City.
With current GOP majorities in the Ohio House and Senate sporting veto-proof majorities, can Democrats fan the flames of anti-Trump sentiment enough to retake two of the three seats – governor, auditor, secretary of state –needed to control the apportionment board that will redraw GOP-skewed congressional districts?
Democrats have lost two election cycles in stunning fashion when GOP candidates cleaned house in 2010 and 2014, enabling them to gerrymander legislative districts so badly in 2011 that Democrats face a long and winding road if the party is to regain power in Columbus again.
If Democrats fail to win control of the apportionment board next year, the party could be toast at the state level for a decade and maybe more, since the party victorious next year will drive the state in 2020, another U.S. Census year that marks the start of another decade that the winning party will control the gears of government.
New Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez visited Ohio, Cleveland and Youngstown, specifically, to talk about what Democrats need to do to recoup political clout lost in 2010 and 2014 at the state level that impacted control of Congress and the White House in 2016.
Perez reportedly said he thinks U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is on course to winning a third term in Washington. Brown can be as populist as the next candidate, and even though he will speak to Trump voters in ways they will understand, the wild card is whether Ohio’s Trump-class voter will turn out again in numbers equal to their turnout last year to down Brown.
If Brown loses, which is possible but at this time unlikely, the best place to learn about Ohio Democrats will be at display case next to faded Civil War flags at the Ohio Historical Connection museum in Columbus.
“We allowed Donald Trump to hijack our message, and we need to learn from that. We need to show voters what we stand for, and show them the betrayal that is Donald Trump,” Perez said, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
Perez said Democrats “need to better understand people’s hopes and fears….then we need to be moving forward to fight for them,” adding, “That’s why we’re fighting for access to healthcare, and that’s why we’re fighting to make sure we have an infrastructure plan in place that actually helps middle-class workers get access to good jobs.”
Issues like prevailing wages, worker protections and environmental protections will be “diluted” if Republicans and Trump again win the day, he said.
These issues Perez talked about may sound good on a Sunday political talk show, but more important issues are specific to Ohio.
These include pension retirement systems that are not “rock solid as Gov. John Kasich claimed they are,” income tax giveaways that have driven revenue down so far that even Gov. Kasich warns Ohio is on the verge of another recession, and a corrupt system of funding for-profit charter schools that siphon off billions from public school budgets.
These are the issues that could ignite to finally burn down the GOP house that’s stood strong for a majority of the last 20-plus years in Ohio.
Ohio’s Big Year: 2018
Except for the brief period between 2006 and 2010, Republicans have ruled Ohio from top to bottom, from statewide offices to the legislature, since 1994, the year Newt Gingrich and allies like then-U.S. Rep. John Kasich took over power in Washington’s House of Representatives.
Except for an even smaller period of time from 2008 to 2010, when Democrats took charge of the Ohio House, Republicans have ruled both chambers of the legislature, without fear of complications from Democrats the rest of the time.
Declared Democratic candidates for governor have taken aim at a couple big issues that, if played well, could convince independents and moderate voters to give them a chance to undo how poorly their tax dollars have been spent.
This includes Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley’s lawsuit against 22 drug manufacturers to fight back against the epidemic of opioid deaths, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton’s campaign to stop online, for-profit charter schools like the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) from receiving tens of millions in public dollars in return for abysmal classroom performance, and the silent but deadly issue of Ohio’s pension retirement systems spending millions on hedge fund manager fees when those same funds are drowning from poor investment returns.
Democrats have real economic issues to pound on that could show Republicans to be not out for the “forgotten” man, as Trump called his base voter, but for the interests of big benefactors who squeeze the forgotten man to better fill their own wallets.
So how Democratic will Ohio voters be next year, when their healthcare and retirement wallets are again on the line? Will Buckeyes continue to support Republican leaders for governor, like Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine or Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, or even possible newcomer, best-selling author J.D. Vance ,who each appear all too ready to continue with long-held GOP policies that have proved to perform poorly if Kasich’s record of tax cutting is fairly analyzed?
Or will they vote for the kind of change that remembers the forgotten man that will change their lives in personal and practical ways that diverge from GOP rhetoric over the years that promised much but delivered little?
Fair wages, dependable workers rights and healthcare benefits join retirement pension system strength and good government as strong talking points every Democratic candidate running for office must build their platforms on.
If resistance to Trump and his administration, now that voters can see clearly what it is, is added, Republicans will be cornered between their failed economic and social beliefs and a free-range president who will turn on them like a rabid dog on its master.