Republican Governor John Kasich has refused to schedule a debate with Democratic challenger Ed Fitzgerald. For the first time in nearly three decades, Ohioans will not see a debate between gubernatorial candidates.
Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, and Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel are also refusing to appear at debates with their Democratic challengers, events which were to be scheduled at the City Club of Cleveland.
Here in Wayne County last week, the League of Women Voters abruptly cancelled their traditional Candidates Night, an event that has long been considered crucial to the region’s voters. Apparently not enough candidates – Republicans? Democrats? or both? — considered it worth their while to show up. Since the LWV’s guidelines prohibit staging “empty chair” debates with only one candidate present, the event has simply been called off.
So it looks like the Republicans are right – they can simply “call” this election a month early. They’ve been crowing victory for weeks now. The districts have been efficiently and lovingly gerrymandered in favor of incumbents. The big money donations have been collected and put to good use, saturating the media with attack ads on their opponents and fluff pieces on themselves. The voters seem depressed or bored. The Democrats appear to be demoralized and exhausted.
If that’s the case, one wonders if it’s even worthwhile to go to the hassle and expense of opening the polls. Forget the election! Proceed to the coronation!
What’s wrong with this picture??
According to the Republicans, it’s all over but the shoutin’, folks. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to give them the rude awakening they so richly deserve? That can still happen, if millions of Democratic voters in the state get mad, get up, and get themselves to the polls. Let’s make it one helluva party, a celebration of democracy, and a resounding wake-up call to the smug establishment who think they “own” this State.