Thirty-six days until our national nightmare ends with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States.
I’m sure most of you know that David Pepper has announced that he is stepping down as Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party at the end of the year. The State Executive Committee will elect a new state chair at a special election scheduled for December 29, 2020. The currently announced candidates are Antoinette Wilson, Lou Gentile, and Will Klatts. Our local members of the State committee are Constance Lighthall and Tim Hogan. Please reach out to them if you have thoughts about the new state chair or I’ll be happy to relay your thoughts to them.
The change in state party leadership is a good time to think about where our party is and where it is headed. Where we are in Ohio can be exemplified by Jamie Castle’s race for Congress from Ohio’s Second District. Jamie won the part of OH-2 in Hamilton County. However, she lost Clermont and the rural counties in the District by margins that overcame her win in Hamilton County. Democrats do well in the cities, but much of Ohio is rural. donald trump[i] took advantage of that fact to win Ohio in 2016 and 2020.
We are not alone. The Democratic Party is doing poorly throughout rural America. I recommend that you read a piece by Bill Hogseth, Democratic Chair in Dunn County, Wisconsin. The piece appears at politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/01/democrats-rural-vote-wisconsin-441458. Mr. Hogseth reports that, despite a tremendous progressive effort, trump did better in Dunn County in 2020 than in 2016. Mr. Hogseth spells out reasons why, in his opinion, the Democratic Party has lost the trust of people in rural America. Mr. Hogseth’s call to action is addressed to our national Party leaders. I think the problem must be addressed locally as well.
Much of Clermont County can no longer be characterized as rural. However, there can be little doubt that we Clermont County Democrats also have a credibility issue. I have heard it said that we need to be patient and wait for the demographics of our county to change. I see no evidence of a demographic change large enough to be meaningful in our lifetimes. Rather than waiting for “better” voters, I think we must build credibility and create a positive image for Democrats among the voters we have. Of course, this has long been our goal. The election results, among other things, suggest that we need to up our game.
The perception of Democrats depends a great deal on what is said and done at the national level, which is largely beyond our control. The polarization which trump exacerbated does not make changing perceptions any easier. However, we cannot wait for deliverance by the national party or state party. We need to identify the values and issues where we as Democrats are on common ground with the independents and Republicans in Clermont County. We need to emphasize those and find the language which believably tells Clermont County voters that we Democrats are with them, without any condescension.
I want to thank all of you candidates, volunteers, poll workers, and donors, again for all you did in 2020. I also want to thank everyone who has donated to or written postcards for our candidates in the Georgia runoff elections for the U.S. Senate. I hope that you all have a joyous and safe Holiday Season. We will, inevitably, think about politics during our holidays. When you do, please think about specific things we can do to build our credibility in Clermont County. I look forward to hearing your ideas. Happy Holidays and my best wishes to all of you for the New Year.
 Some have pointed out the absence of capital letters from this name as a proofreading oversight. It is not. I consider the use of initial capital letters in a name to be a sign of respect for the bearer of that name. It is beyond my comprehension how anyone could have the slightest degree of respect for this individual.