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Friday, August 4, 2023

No on One

I have been following the Ohio State issue 1 vote very closely. The Republicans have turned themselves inside and out the last two years trying to thwart the will of their populace on abortion, banning certain votes and then overruling their own ban when things got dicey. 

Good article at the NYT today on the story, The critical election Republicans hope you won't notice.

Ohio has been trending right for years, but gerrymandering ensures that the State Legislature is far more extreme than the population. As The Statehouse News Bureau, a news organization devoted to Ohio politics, has reported, “Ohio’s voter preference over the past 10 years splits about 54 percent Republican and 46 percent Democratic.” Yet under Ohio’s highly gerrymandered maps, Republicans control 67 of 99 State House seats and 26 of 33 State Senate seats. The Ohio Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled these maps unconstitutional, but before the last election, federal judges appointed by Donald Trump ordered the state to use them.

“This August election is sort of a final vote that gives the people any chance to say, at some point we still exert power here,” said David Pepper, former head of the Ohio Democratic Party and author of “Laboratories of Autocracy,” a book about undemocratic right-wing statehouses. 

If the right prevails on Issue 1 — and probably even if it doesn’t — you can expect to see the blueprint repeated in other places. Already, Republicans in states including Florida, Missouri and North Dakota, recognizing the danger that direct democracy poses to their own abortion bans, are trying to make the ballot initiative process much more onerous...

In May, Dean Plocher, the Republican speaker of the Missouri House, angry that a bill creating new obstacles to citizen-led ballot initiatives had stalled in the State Senate, warned that, in the law’s absence, there would be a referendum to “allow choice,” which would “absolutely” pass. If that were to happen, he said, the Senate “should be held accountable for allowing abortion to return to Missouri.” It’s not clear whom exactly he thought the Senate should be accountable to. He certainly didn’t mean the voters.

This is the mess that we are in. Extreme partisan gerrymandering has caused this sick situation where our electors don't even pretend to represent the will of their people. That is why the conservatives and libertarians like to tell you that our Republic was never intended to be a majoritarian democracy. Because it is about getting their way, all the time, regardless of the will of their people.

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