10/08/2005

Daily Kos: Ohio - The Not-So-Swing State

Kossack Pounder tells us why Ohio is conservative despite appearances to the contrary and "why I [Pounder] think Paul Hackett who redefines Democrats in Ohio is not only the best chance we have, but the only chance." -- law

Ohio - The Not-So-Swing State
by Pounder

I want to talk about Ohio.
From those diaries and comments one thing struck me like a bolt of lightening. The people not from or living in Ohio have a very wrong opinion of the state and the state of its politics.

Let's go below the break and discuss what Ohio really is all about.

* Pounder's diary :: ::
*

In 2000 and 2004 the Presidential vote was close - too close. We look like a 50/50 state, a genuine swing state - and for the Presidentials we are. But that is where swing state status sadly begins and ends.

The other 2004 races statewide in Ohio saw Democrat Eric Fingerhut lose badly to Voinovich 36%-64%.

We also saw our Democratic Supreme Court candidates lose big too. 2004 wasn't a good year in Ohio - and it wasn't any different than any other for a decade.

In 2002 we saw Tim Hagen lose to an unpopular Bob Taft 40%-60%. We lost attorney General and Auditor by even wider margins, and yes we also lost SoS and Treasurer by double digits too.

In 2000 Ted Celeste was walloped by DeWine 35-60
So you get the picture. You have to go back a long long way to see a Democrat of any persuasion win a statewide race in Ohio.

I'll let you see if you can find the winner.

So why is this ? You would think even by luck we could have won perhaps an Auditor or SoS race right ?

Well there is a misconception, or a disconnect here on dkos. Liberalism doesnt exist in Ohio. The Democratic strength for what it is doesnt draw from this wing of the Democratic Party. The strength of the Democratic party in Ohio is drawn from the urban minorities and Labor, the blue collar union workers.

Ever since the "Reagan revolution" assault on labor we have seen a decline in the power of labor, and a decline in the power of the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP). Each factory that we have lost to NAFTA or WTO has seen our vote base shrink.

At the same time we have seen the rise of conservatism in the state. It permeates through the mega churches sprouting up all over and the blanket coverage of right wing AM radio - they are all here.

The media is dominated by right wing outlets, from the PD to the ridiculous Cinci Enquirer. The bulk of the local papers are owned by the right wing gannet news outfit. Local TV by Sinclair Broadcasting.

You cannot escape the daily dose of conservative messages subliminally piped through your church pulpit, your car radio and your local news broadcast and sunday papers.

To add to this mix, Ohio isn't just a rust belt State, its Rural, very Rural. That means hunting - that means guns. Lots of Guns.

When Deer Hunting season opens, the factories and offices empty - with thousands heading to the country to bag that elusive 10 pointer they saw the year before.

As the urbanites spread into the country, many feel their way of life threatened as big city taxes and condos move in - it really is the Thomas Frank backlash syndrome.

and yes, in the south, the redneck racists exist.

The only way we can change this is by winning elections. Gerrymandered districts and corporate money make that all but impossible.

Case in Point was the OH-2 special election. We had the prefect storm.

A special election with lower turnout. We had the perfect candidate running against their worst. We had all the money we needed, more than them. We had the media for once loving our guy, and we had every resource from the state and from outside pouring in for GOTV. We had rampant GOP corruption a failing state and national government - and we lost - just.

Now most of the rest of the state is more forgiving that OH-2 - but not a lot. And we dont have the perfect storm in every race.

This is the reason Reform Ohio Now is so important, without it we cannot change things. We can only convince voters to change by winning elections and governing well on our principles.

But coingate changed everything right ? WRONG.
in a recent WSJ poll, Extremist Blackwell leads Strickland, hardly a progressive within the margin of error.

In a DSCC poll from the end of June Brown is losing to DeWine
Mike DeWine (R) 42
Sherrod Brown (D) 36

So I say this to those out of state diarists and commenters who talk about running a progressive candidate statewide, thinking that coingate and the corruption will produce a utopian landslide - you are wrong - very wrong.

IF Blackwell wins the nomination, as he looks likely too, the evangelical base will turnout in force, and if our candidates cannot carry the rural counties, or significantly overperform in the suburbs we will lose 60-40 as we always have.

A contested Dem Primary is going to take the focus of the GOP Gov Primary and reduce our ability to defeat or mortally wound Blackwell - and with that failure goes the notion of a Democratic sweep in the state. Keeping the evangelicals home on election day is the key - it is of paramount importance

Final piece of food for thought. Blackwell is going to have his TABOR amendment on the ballot in 2006. A gutting of state spending written in the constitution if it passes.

the GOP will run the same play book they do every cycle. TAXES TAXES TAXES - with guns, god and gays thrown in for good measure. Our candidates will be the big tax and spend liberals who want to have gay folks running around converting your kids. (the gay amendment passed here 61-38 in 2004). Lets just hope they dont get traction on immigration.

So that is the state of the state I love. It isnt a volvo driving latte drinking birkenstock wearing gay loving utopia where the most progressive candidate wins - i wish it were - its why i work at it every day.


Daily Kos: Ohio - The Not-So-Swing State

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