Ohio Stands Tall

On a night when the Trump wave continued to roll across America, inundating yet another of the Republican candidates and washing Marco Rubio out of the race, one state stood out.  Ohio was a breakwater against the Trump tsunami, with Governor John Kasich knitting together a coalition of Kasich supporters, Rubio supporters, and Trump opponents to beat Trump convincingly.

635918131274016669-ap-gop-2016-debateThe pundits will talk about what Trump’s victories in Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, and (apparently) Missouri mean, and his chances of reaching the magic number that will allow him to be the Republican nominee.  I don’t think there’s much need for analysis on the former question, really.  Marco Rubio put his finger on it in his graceful concession speech last night:  there are a huge number of frustrated, angry, disaffected people out there who feel left behind, and Trump’s anti-establishment status and promises of a future where America gets “better deals” and “wins” again appeals to them.  I think the strong perception that he is a candidate who will bring about change — whatever that change might be, precisely — has attracted people who see his candidacy as a reason to participate in the political process and vote for the first time in years.  In primary after primary, these Trump voters are making their voices heard.

There are still a number of states where voting has yet to occur, and with the Republican race down to Trump, Kasich, and Ted Cruz, voters in those states will have their chance to determine whether Donald Trump does well enough to compile a majority of Republican delegates.  As Rubio noted, we are a republic, and the elections in those other states will be the final decision points.  Last night, Ohio had its say in the process, and the Republican primary voters in the Buckeye State have resoundingly voted against the Trump approach.

Whatever the ultimate result might be, I’m proud of my state.

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Our First Bernie Volunteer

It was about 12:30 this afternoon.  I had just walked back from work, and Kish and I were getting ready to go out for some lunch and a trip to the Short North when we heard a knock at the door.

Kasey ran to the door and started barking like crazy.  I scooped her up and opened the door, and a pleasant college-type kid who looked like he was about 20 was on our doorstep, wearing a “Bernie for President” t-shirt and carrying a clipboard.

IMG_0735“Hi, I’m here for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, encouraging you to get out and vote on Tuesday,” he said.  He consulted his clipboard and asked for Kish by name, revealing that the campaign had given him information from the voter rolls and he knew she was a registered D.  When she came to the door, he asked her who she was voting for, and she said she was feeling the Bern.

He smiled and had a look of real relief on his face, like he was afraid we were going to yell at him or slam the door in his face.  “So, can I put you down as a strong likely vote for Bernie?” he asked.  “I know that sounds silly, but this is the first time I’ve done this, and I’m kind of nervous.  This is the first house I’ve stopped at,” he added.  Kish said sure, and as he made a check mark on his sheet she asked him for one of those “Bernie for President” pieces you can hang on the doorknobs of people who aren’t home.  He gladly gave us one, said goodbye and left, consulting his clipboard for the next registered D on the list.

That’s the first door knock and canvassing effort we’ve had at our German Village place.  If people are wondering whether the Sanders campaign has a “ground game” in Ohio, we’d just seen our first tangible evidence that the answer is “yes.”  It made me glad, too, that we’d been the first house the nervous kid had visited, and he came away with a “yes” vote for his candidate.

Democracy is pretty cool.

Santorum And Satan

I’ve been hearing Rick Santorum ads over the past few days.  It’s clear that his focus — and the means by which he attempts to distinguish himself from his Republican rivals — is “social issues.” Even his economic plans are couched as a way of “helping families,” by which he clearly means traditional, married, husband-and-wife led families.

I don’t subscribe to Santorum’s ultra-traditional views of how life should be lived or families should be structured.  I’m also concerned by the overt nature of his religious beliefs.  I heard clips of a speech he gave some time ago in which he talked about “Satan” targeting and attacking the United States and its institutions, and it made me very uncomfortable.  When was the last time we had a presidential candidate talking openly about “Satan”?  If a random guy at the airport was talking about “Satan” in the way Santorum did in that speech, wouldn’t most of us give that guy a very wide berth?

Santorum is of course entitled to his views, but his emphasis on religion and issues like gay marriage and contraception are a problem for me.  I’m not quite a libertarian, because I do think there is a limited, appropriate role for government under certain circumstances, but I don’t think the government should be lecturing us or or directing us or judging us so long as we live lawfully.  I suspect that any government led by Santorum would be as intrusive and overreaching into our daily lives as the Obama Administration has been — just in a different way and with a different focus.

In my view, we don’t need a President who fancies himself a spiritual leader.  We need a President who will roll up his sleeves and deal effectively with our enormous, structural deficit and debt problems.  Achieving that goal requires someone who can bring people together, not someone whose forays into “social” issues — and ruminations about the latest nefarious activities of Old Scratch — push people apart and prevent us from achieving the consensus necessary to do the job.

The Leading Republican Blandidate

Reeling now from three losses in the Minnesota, Missouri and the Colorado primaries it will be interesting to see how and if Mitt Romney can re-invent himself before he faces the president in November as the nominee.

Last night’s results showed that Romney is getting less of the vote in 2012 than he did in 2008 when he ran against John McCain and as high as 40% of those voting would like to see another candidate enter the race.

It’s not hard to understand why, bank accounts in Switzerland, the Caymen Islands and Bermuda, paying a tax rate of 14%, a $10,000 bet, a Massachusetts job creation ranking of forty seventh, a suspect job creation record at Bain Capital (does anyone really believe that Bain was trying to create jobs ?), expunged records while governor not to mention misconstrued verbal gaffes about firing people and the poor that make him seem heartless, insensitive and out of touch.

With the Republican primary only a month away the last poll Real Clear Politics showed for Ohio had Gringrich at 26%, Romney at 25%, Santorum at 22% and Paul at 11%. Santorum will most likely get more notice after his wins last night. An even more alarming statistic for his campaign is his favorable rating in Ohio stands at 28% and his unfavorable rating is 60%. I’m sure that his prior comments about the auto industry haven’t helped him much in that regard.

The next four weeks will be very interesting indeed, not to mention the next nine months. He’s still not told me what he’s for and he’s got some explaining to do if he’s going to get my vote !