Redistricting commission

As election season arrives again, all Ohio voters need to do is look around and ask themselves –– have the last few decades of Ohio Republican Party rule been worth it? Has it been worth being an international embarrassment in headlines around the world? Has it been worth seeing “Ohio” trending on social media every time some bonkers bullshit is spouted at our Statehouse? Has it been worth being named #1 in public corruption –– according to experts –– since Larry Householder’s legislature took power? Has it been worth the pain and suffering that average and lower income Ohioans are experiencing, finding themselves on the end of our state’s senseless laws and policies? Well, I know how I feel! Traveling as much as I do, I’ve seen how Ohio has become a running joke across the nation and world.

In every category where there are national rankings, Ohio has placed in the middle or bottom half of all fifty states. Our infant mortality rates and child health rankings are some of the worst in the country, all while the Ohio Republican Party has implemented what is a near (and soon to be total) abortion ban. Our education systems have tanked on the back of what was then the historic ECOT scandal, while our energy and environmental policies have since tanked due to the now historic HB 6 scandal. Even our state’s economy –– which incumbent Governor Mike DeWine touts at every chance he gets –– is still ranked “average” in terms of growth and opportunity. With job levels that haven't risen since before the pandemic, Ohio’s economic “recovery” is a fantasy at best and a cruel joke at worst.

That’s not to say the Ohio Democratic Party is perfect. Hell, I haven’t seen a party lose so many elections since the Libertarian Party of Ohio had ballot access! Hiyo! But seriously folks, the Libertarians –– as well as the Ohio Green Party –– got screwed just as hard by Ohio’s Republicans with their coordinated efforts against minor political parties, similar to how their lawless gerrymandering screwed Ohio’s Democrats and millions of voters. If you add to these numbers the over 400,000 Republicans who voted against DeWine in May’s primary (for their own reasons) then the majority of Ohio voters have a real ax to grind with our Republican rulers. After all, the only thing worse than a two-party political system is a one-party political system –– and Ohio’s had that for most of the decades I’ve been alive.

So with that in mind, every problem in our state — both from a policy standpoint as well as an “in the news” standpoint –– can only be blamed on the people who are (and have been!) in charge. The Ohio Republican Party runs the Statehouse with super majorities in both houses of the legislature. They run all five statewide executive offices and have done so since they swept Ohio’s elections in 2010 on the back of the global recession. They’ve also held a majority of the seats on Ohio’s Supreme Court for decades, although sometimes Republican Supreme Court justices have –– ya know –– sided with the rule of law. However, recently the Ohio Constitution has taken a back seat to the Republicans’ power as well, including the idea of whether citizens can effectively change the document or not.

Yes, perhaps the most egregious example of the GOP’s abuse of power was when their executive and Statehouse leaders effectively rigged what was supposed to be a bipartisan effort to reform our state’s redistricting process in the last year. Instead of following the spirit of the law –– although they’ve since argued they followed “the letter” of the law –– Republican leaders chose to give themselves the same hyper-partisan advantage in our Statehouse as they did with our Congressional districts. It’s wild to think about how many Republicans stormed The Capitol on January 6th, 2021, all spewing false claims of a “stolen election.” Meanwhile, elected Republican officials are literally stealing the power of people’s votes and rigging the outcomes of elections in Ohio and other states with unprecedented gerrymandering.

Back when I was in college, I thought the Republicans who were in charge of the country –– who at the time were President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney –– couldn’t get any worse. But after 9/11, a strange neo-facsism grew in the U.S. that was cloaked in a flag and carrying a cross.  Since then, Republicans have given us John Kasich and Mike DeWine in Ohio and Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. They’ve been in charge of every branch of government in Ohio for the majority of my life and have done irreparable damage to the federal government. If things aren’t good, then it’s because they have been in charge for too long –– after all, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.