Yesterday I began this articlewith anecdotal observations that the state of Ohio—a crucial “swing state” in which voters are typically engaged politically—seems to have checked out of politics this year.
So why have Ohioans have become so disengaged with politics?
I believe the answer is that Ohioans are fed up with the Democratic and Republican parties and their utterly worthless (or worse) candidates. Let’s do a quick rundown.
For president we have a failed extreme leftist president squaring off against a former failed Governor with no principles, plan, or message, other than to increase the deficit, treat gays as second-class citizens, and invade Iran. The third candidate, Governor Gary Johnson, has been stifled by the media and most polling outlets, and I can tell you from experience that too few have heard of him in our supposedly “free” Democracy—even though Ohioans have been receptive to his freedom message when they hear it (which is a stark contrast to the anti-freedom platform of the other candidates).
So, based on casual conversations, most Ohioans are deciding who they are going to vote against for president. That’s disheartening.
And based on what I’m hearing, Obama should carry Ohio.
Why do I place the odds on Obama carrying Ohio? When Republicans took control of the Governor’s mansion and both Houses in 2010, they immediately took aim at labor unions, and Ohio has a fairly large contingency of union Republicans. Like in Wisconsin, the GOP rammed through a massive, Nancy Pelosi-like anti-collective bargaining bill that no one read and for which there was no meaningful debate—and the whole disgusting process flipped many union Republicans to the Democratic Party. (I know what happened; I was in my State Senator’s office about an hour before the Senate vote was taken, and his aides were laughing about huge new sections being inserted at the last moment.)
So, through unethical politicking, the Ohio GOP has teed off union Republicans and probably kicked Ohio into the Obama column, even if most Ohioans are justifiably disheartened by Obama’s presidency. They will go out and vote, have no doubt—Ohioans understand and live up to their civic duties. But this year’s presidential race may be decided in Ohio by the rash actions of Ohio Republicans over a year ago.
But what about the U.S. Senate race? Why is there so much apathy in Ohio regarding this battle? Call it the tale of two clowns and an independent.
First, incumbent Sherrod Brown has been rated the most liberal U.S. member of Congress, and Ohioans generally aren’t drawn to radicals. I wasn’t here when he first got elected, and I’m guessing the slick-tongued lawyer pulled the wool over a lot of Ohioans’ eyes (disappointingly easy to do), and he’s spent the last six years pushing the radical statist agenda his law professors programmed into his brain.
From the Republicans we have State Treasurer Josh Mandel. The Ohio GOP, like Republicans across the nation, are always chasing the Democrats’ shadow when it comes to political success, and you can think of Mandel as the Ohio GOP’s lame attempt to duplicate Barack Obama’s success by nominating a tall, handsome, cutthroat, young politician with ethnicity (Mandel is Jewish).
The key word of the above description, though, is cutthroat. Consider that just two years ago the Cleveland Plain Dealer (one of America’s largest newspapers) endorsed Libertarian candidate Matt Cantrell for the very position Mandel now holds:
Republican Josh Mandel’s campaign against [Democrat Kevin L.] Boyce has given wide exposure to two flaws for the 33-year-old Republican state representative from Lyndhurst: an ambition that vastly exceeds his record in office and an instinct for pandering that has been a point of real ugliness in this race. Although Mandel said on Friday he was withdrawing a scurrilous television ad that mixed in race and religion to suggest the African-American Boyce, a Christian, was a Muslim who did his hiring in a mosque, the damage was done. The ad raises serious questions about Mandel’s maturity and decision-making ability.
Thus, it is no surprise that Mandel—and Brown (he’s a Democrat, after all)—are both running filthy campaigns that have generally polite Midwesterners saying “la-la-la-not listening!” For example, the Cleveland Plain Dealer analyzed twenty of Mandel’s campaign claims, and gave five (25%) a “Pants-on-Fire” Rating for being not only false, but intentionally incendiary. Josh Mandel reminds me of Barack Obama (and Sherrod Brown, for that matter) in that his voice has become like nails on the chalkboard, and every time I hear him speak it gives me acid reflux. Many of my fellow Ohioans feel the same way.
Meanwhile, there is an Independent Senate candidate, Scott Rupert. I have spoken with him, and he is a Constitutional conservative. We have our differences—particularly in the area of social issues—but we agree that social issues are state issues, and thus, are largely irrelevant for a nationwide office. He is a smart man, but the media has mocked him for being a truck driver when they bother to cover him at all. Thus some of the momentum he had early in his campaign has been lost due to an overtly hostile Ohio media. (All the more reason to vote for him, I say…)
Who will win the U.S. Senate race from Ohio? Probably Sherrod Brown, but again, this is generally a campaign in which most Ohioans are deciding who to vote against. Mandel has given too many reasons for people not to vote against him, and most people see he will be little more than Mitch McConnell’s boy toy.
Getting back to the original story, it is easy to see why Ohioans are so disinterested in politics this year. The presidential campaign is a joke, pitting two unqualified candidates against a successful Governor whose campaign is being thwarted in our (nominally) free electoral system. The Senate campaign pits a couple of filthy and dishonest mudslingers against a would-be citizen politician. And for House of Representatives? Who knows? Who cares?
It’s no wonder there’s nary a speck of interest in politics in Ohio this year. Yards that would normally be dotted with political signs are almost entirely free of signage. Bumpers stickers are also conspicuously absent. The young lass with the sticker that says “Ride a Draft Horse, It Will Make Your Butt Look Smaller” should have a political sticker next to it; that’s the usual Ohio way. But that’s not happening this year.
We’re at a critical juncture in our nation’s history, and this is a bad time for the “Big Two” to give so many folks in Ohio good reasons to roll their eyes and say “I don’t care.”
But that’s what seems to be happening in the Buckeye state.
For my part I am thrilled with Governor Gary Johnson and Scott Rupert’s candidacies. I get to vote for someone, instead of just against someone.
This article is also published at Political Realities and Alexandria.