White men sitting

As Thanksgiving rolls around again this year, it’s time to once more get in your Republican family members’ faces about the harsh realities that their political party is creating –– whether they fully understand those realities or not. After all, it’s only been two years since one of the most controversial elections in American history –– and two years away from another that will have massive implications on democracy in our state and country as well. However, this past midterm election was equally important –– and while the majority of Americans succeeded in showing up and realizing that importance, it’s fair to say that Ohio voters failed to fully grasp the gravity of our own state’s situation. Ohio’s democracy is slowly teetering on the edge of fascism –– and Republicans are to blame.

Yes, while the red wave was barely a trickle nationwide, it was pretty much a tsunami in Ohio. The state’s Republican candidates swept every statewide office they ran for, while their Statehouse candidates only increased the GOP’s super majorities even more. Don’t get me wrong, Ohio Democrats have pretty much failed statewide for over a decade and share a good deal of the blame for their inabilities. But we must also remember that Ohio Republicans have rigged, cheated and destroyed any semblance of competition in our political sphere, from butchering our attempted constitutional redistricting reforms to cheating minor political parties out of ballot access through rigorous regulations. Now the GOP plans to make it harder for citizens to vote or even amend our state’s constitution going forward.

Perhaps we should have seen the writing on the wall –– after all, Ohio Republicans have been better than other states at engaging with semblances of fascism, while still appearing to be “moderate” so they can court Independents and even a few Democrats. This perverted perversion of “good government” has now become the norm for politicians like Ohio’s Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who’s about as two-faced as they come. Meanwhile, one of LaRose’s Republican counterparts in the Statehouse –– GOP Majority Whip Bill Seitz –– has put forward even more amendments to a bill that would already make it harder for people to vote, which unfortunately is the point. After all, Seitz has flirted more with fascism over the years than he has with the cocktail waitresses at the country club.

Case in point –– not only has Seitz been the face of (and brain behind) the Statehouse’s most recent push to restrict voting rights, but while Seitz was doing time in the Ohio Senate, he was also the face of (and brain behind) restricting ballot access for minor political parties. As with most of the legislative items that Seitz moves forward, his bill SB 193 in 2013 was an order that came from the top of Ohio’s Republican food chain to ensure that the Libertarian Party of Ohio –– which then-Governor John Kasich and his cronies saw as a potential threat to his win numbers in 2014 –– could no longer maintain ballot access. SB 193 flew through its committee at record speed and with “emergency provisions,” meaning it essentially became law as soon as it passed and Kasich signed it later that day.

Seitz has since been rewarded handsomely for the various roles he’s played in both of the Statehouse’s chambers on behalf of Ohio’s Republican establishment. Like another whiskey drink at Lindey’s in German Village, Seitz has been given yet another term in the Ohio House as the GOP’s Majority Whip before the bartender known as “term limits” finally cuts him off. Does this mean ol’ Bill will jump back to his old stomping grounds in the Ohio Senate? Only time will tell, but he’s done that dance before and continues to pass the most egregious pieces of legislation, all carried along by the GOP’s unconstitutional supermajority and his trademarked “colorful” floor speeches, where he likes to brag about “owning the Libs.” And if anyone gets in Bill’s way, they either get shouted at or shoved outside of Lindey’s.

So now Frank LaRose wants in on the fun. Despite the Republican Secretary of State and his party’s entire slate of statewide candidates dominating the midterm elections by overwhelming numbers, now they want to preemptively cripple Ohio’s citizen-initiated constitutional amendment process before that too could potentially curb their power. This means that these monsters first went after minor political parties’ ballot access and no one said anything. Then they went after Democrats’ remaining power with redistricting and there wasn’t anything anyone could do about it. Now the GOP wants to hamper everyday citizens’ ability to hold them accountable on the ballot and there may be no check or balance left to stop them. Ohio Republicans have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but the rest of us? Not so much.