September 28, 2010 – Political pollsters agree, Ohio Democrats are trailing Republicans by double digits. Democrats are in for a dramatic fight in the November elections, except they won’t have to wait that long. Early voting begins in Ohio on Tuesday September 28. Democrats are “fired up and ready to go,” and they hope Ohio Early Voting will translate into Democratic votes the way it did during the last Presidential election.
In 2008 Democrats began the push to vote early before the primaries. They rallied early voters with phone calls, posters and door to door canvassing. After one February rally in Cincinnati they provided transportation to the polls. Early Voting was a trend largely overlooked by local Republicans; but heavy Early Voting turnout became a key factor in Ohio’s shift from traditional Republican Red to Democratic Blue.
What a Difference 2 Years Makes
A lot has changed in Ohio during the 2 years since President Obama was elected. The Ohio Tea Party Patriots have grown in influence. Their mission statement says they are a “non-partisan, non-profit social welfare organization,” not a political party; but their public initiatives often align with Ohio Republican’s desire to oust Democratic incumbents. Despite the “Teabonics” of misspelled signs and public displays of anger, Tea Party Patriots may be a major factor in the poll leads Republicans enjoy in Ohio races.
Another change is the January 2010 U S Supreme Court decision to overrule a longstanding ban on corporate spending on political candidates during elections. One affect is the 24/7 stream of political ads on local Ohio television. Deep pocket funding and Early Voting in Ohio has meant early political ad campaigns that began in August and have multiplied since then.
Some ads targeting Democrats cite numbers, dates and political statistics that rely on the viewer to stitch the significance together. One frequent series of ads criticizing Ohio Governor Strickland repeats a catch phrase, “he didn’t get the jobs done” that ‘s certain to stick in a voter’s head.
Apathy, Anger, Amnesia
When President, Bill Clinton, spoke at a recent Rally for Democratic Victory in Cincinnati, he talked about voter “apathy,” ” anger” and “a little bit of amnesia.” Some voters are angry over the economy. Others are apathetic about the election. In discussing voter amnesia, Clinton talked about people forgetting the 8 years of the previous administration that created the mess in the first place. He suggested Democrats “remind them of the the truth.”
Whatever the reasons, if Ohio voters mirror traditional low interim turnout, Lee Fisher may lose his Senate bid against Republican, Rob Portman, a loss that could contribute to a 2 year stalemate on Capital Hill. Fisher’s Senate bid isn’t the only race at stake. Ted Strickland’s Ohio Governor’s seat is being challenged by John Kasich. Ohio Dems also hope to reelect District 1 Congressman, Steve Driehaus, and a number of state and county level candidates.
Early Voting and…
Democrats are enthusiastic, excited and ready to do battle. They have no secret weapon to help them take on their political challenges this fall, but they do have a plan:
-Bill Clinton is on the campaign trail. He’s already made rally stops in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland.
-Democrats are staging local watch parties to view President Obama’s September 28 speech, a broadcast from the Organizing for America rally at the University of Wisconsin.
-Ohio Democratic Chairman, Chris Redfern, turned Tea Party criticism into a donation earning “Tea Party Swear Jar” Campaign.
-The Fight for Ohio Bus is traveling across the state rallying support for Ted Strickland and Democratic candidates and reminding voters to vote early.
Democrats started talking about Early Voting a few weeks ago, reminding Ohioans that voting actually begins on September 28. Despite the legal challenges two years ago, Ohio still has the Golden Week, the brief window of opportunity where new voters may register and vote on the same day. Perhaps Ohio Early Voting will rouse even the angry, apathetic and amnesiac voters to get out to the polls and vote; and that might just save the Democrats this fall.
Ohio 2010 Voter Information Guide
Cincinnati Democratic rally
Organizing for America email