With the midterms over, let’s look at the local, state, and national implications.
ONE PARTY RULE: Ohio isn’t a red state, it’s deep maroon as Republicans cruised up and down the ballot. We should all be concerned that, coupled with a now decidedly Republican Supreme Court, state lawmakers can and likely will act with impunity to pass laws that aren’t in the best interest of all Ohioans.
Courts should be nonpartisan, but here, justices run under party affiliation. That gives loyalists a clear signal of whom they should vote for even though they likely know nothing about the candidates. Sometimes, the judges act more like politicians than impartial arbiters of the law. We already have one (Pat DeWine) who refuses to recuse himself from cases involving his father, the governor. And we have a court that would have allowed lawmakers to implement an unconstitutional redistricting map save for Maureen O’Connor, who cared more about law than party.
That’s over now. It will be interesting to see what lawmakers and their court cronies decide to do about two issues at the top of mind for voters — abortion and redistricting
Pro-life advocates have undergone a series of high-profile defeats, including in Kansas and Kentucky, two red states that rejected abortion bans. Michigan just codified the right to an abortion in its constitution.
Pro-choice groups in Ohio are already preparing a constitutional amendment of their own. Roughly six in 10 Ohioans favor the right to choose, and if lawmakers want to do the right thing, they’ll let the voters decide. Chances are they won’t.
Also, expect a constitutional amendment to put redistricting in the hands of an independent commission and away from lawmakers. That needs to happen since 71% of Ohioans want a fair process, and lawmakers have outright refused to comply.
ISSUE 1: If you gave voters a truth serum, they’d probably tell you they know little about Issue 1, which passed overwhelmingly with a scary provision. The legislature now has the power to set conditions for bail requirements, Do you really want people untrained in criminal law making that decision?
VANCE vs. RYAN: Tim Ryan lost, and that’s the bottom line. He outperformed Joe Biden when accounting for a percent of the vote (Biden received 45.3% in 2020 and Ryan 46.7). But the race shows how hard it is for a good, solid candidate with everyman credentials to beat a letter (R) when that’s all that matters to voters.
ESRATI? WHAT? Mike Turner wins OH-10 with 62.2% of the vote. No surprise. I’m just as surprised that David Esrati received, in unofficial tallies, 98,383 votes. That’s a lot of scratch for a candidate who ran as a Democrat without the party’s endorsement, didn’t get much exposure, had little money, and, to be kind, has a controversial local history. This race seems like fodder for a political science research paper. How does someone with all of those headwinds get almost 100,000 votes? What does his candidacy, and how he ran it, say about grassroots candidates? What lessons can others learn? Voters often focus on the numbers and top-line outcomes and not what the results mean.
FLETCHER: Don’t tell the people of Fletcher, a tiny Miami County village, that election participation isn’t important. The village fire level passed by just four voters out of 150 cast.
HEADLINES: This election was about liars, abortion, and DeSantis… Voters overwhelmingly rejected election deniers and conspiracy theorists, which renewed my faith (a little) in the electorate…. The economy and crime, two big Republican messages, didn’t resonate as much as the right to choose, which impacted several Congressional races in favor of Democrats. (Women listed abortion as their number one concern, and voters overall had it number number, behind the economy)…. This cycle’s postmortem will note the GOP had the most disappointing midterm in history when it couldn’t wrest firm Congressional control from a party overseeing high gas, grocery prices, and inflation, led by a president whose own voters don’t want him to run again... DeSantis has set himself up as the Trump alternative should he decide to run in 2024.
Ray Marcano’s column appears on these pages each Sunday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.