Game On!

The 2022 general election has begun.  Early voting started last Wednesday, October 12.  The voting will conclude at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8. My heading is, of course, misleading.  The election is NOT a game.  The choices made in this election will impact each of us for years to come.

We all know Republicans have controlled our Ohio government for decades. During that time, Ohio has gone from leading or being near the top among states in most positive categories to the bottom quarter or lower.

While espousing local control, Republicans abolished local control over oil and gas operations, most notably fracking, and gave exclusive power over those operations to a state board composed of people in the oil and gas industry. However, Republicans did throw a bone to local government by passing statutes that allow a minority in a community to take actions against renewable energy projects, wind and solar farms, that could easily make such projects not economically viable.

Prompted by the Dayton mass shooting, Republicans have loosened gun regulations even further.  Ohioans may now carry a gun concealed on their person without any training whatsoever.

Republicans who decried the violation of personal liberty created by things designed to stop the spread of Covid, such as mask mandates, have already restricted women’s personal liberty to make decisions about their own bodies.

Republicans have already legislated that our schools may not teach children the truth about our history.

Although Ohioans overwhelmingly voted for amendments to our state constitution intended to end the gerrymandering of our General Assembly and U.S. Congressional districts, Republicans did not care.  They imposed General Assembly and Congressional districts carefully drawn to ensure that they receive more seats in Congress and the General Assembly than they receive votes.

Let’s also not forget the Republicans’ institutionalization of pay for play in state government, exemplified by the First Energy bribery scandal.

What is coming? It is virtually certain that a Republican-dominated state government will ban abortions without any exceptions even for rape or incest. Indeed, a Republican state representative from our county called a pregnancy caused by rape an “opportunity” for the rape victim.

General Assembly districts must be redrawn for 2024. If Republicans control that process, we will have districts that give Republicans a super majority in the General Assembly without needing to get a super majority of Ohioans’ votes. Given the opportunity by the reactionary majority on the U.S. Supreme Court (which appears frighteningly likely), we should not be surprised to see Republicans take the decision of which presidential candidate receives Ohio’s electoral votes from Ohio voters and give it to the General Assembly. In short, nothing good will come from continued Republican control of Ohio state government (except, of course, for the very wealthy who can afford to pay for play).

What can we do to stop our state’s decline into the cesspool? First, and most basically, vote. Vote for Nan Whaley for Governor, Chelsea Clark for Secretary of State, and Taylor Sappington for State Auditor. The holders of those three offices will draw our next set of Congressional and General Assembly districts.  Vote for Jennifer Brunner for Ohio Chief Justice and for Marilyn Zayas and Teri Jamison as Ohio Supreme Court Justices. Elevating Justice Brunner and electing Judges Zayas and Jamison to the Supreme Court will make the Court more able and willing to defend the rights of Ohioans.

We are also electing members of Congress. Ohio has an open U.S. Senate seat. The transformation of the Republican Party into the MAGA Big Lie Party was apparently too much even for Rob Portman. Tim Ryan, an experienced Congressman from the Youngstown area, knows that the most important job at all levels of government is to give working Ohioans the same breaks Republicans have been giving to the very wealthy.

Samantha Meadows, our candidate for U.S. House of Representatives from the Second District, is, of necessity, running a low-budget grassroots campaign. What should not be lost in this race is the fact that the incumbent, Brad Wenstrup, has done nothing for the people of our district and has voted against most of the legislation introduced in Congress that would help our district. I don’t know who Brad intends to represent but it definitely is not the people of Southern Ohio.

Beyond voting, talk to your family, friends, and neighbors. You have credibility. Explain why Ohio can no longer endure Republican control. Explain to them that the Republican attack ads appearing on TV at every commercial break are completely false.

Beyond talking to those in your network, there is a lot more you can do. There are doors to knock, especially in the southern part of the County. There are phone calls to make. There are postcards to write and send.

Will these efforts swing Clermont County blue? Probably not, but every vote counts. Getting even a few more people to vote for Tim Ryan, Nan Whaley, Chelsea Clark, Taylor Sappington, Jennifer Brunner, Marilyn Zayas, and Teri Jamison can make the difference. If you’d like to help, call the Party at 513-732-2378 and leave a message. We WILL get back to you.

Stay safe.