The effort to get a citizen veto of John Kasich’s union-busting attack on the middle class is still a very big deal in Ohio, even as the Occupy movement picks up steam here (and everywhere!) If it has gone somewhat off your radar here’s an update. First, the latest polling shows overwhelming support for overturning the law. Opponents appear to have the public firmly on their side, and that offers a lot of encouragement as we go into the stretch run.
Some vignettes add color to those numbers, though. For example, Kasich has been stumping for it throughout the state. One of his first stops was Logan county - which, as Plunderbund pointed out, he carried with 64% of the vote less than a year ago. Logan is a Republican stronghold, it should be completely off any GOP governor’s to-do list. Yet there he was, shoring up support.
In another surprising development, the No On 2 campaign has actually outspent the other side by a big margin. I fully expected the out of state post-Citizens United fire hose of money to be turned on, but while there has been a certain amount of that so far it has been much quieter than expected. I doubt anyone is keeping their powder dry at this point; we are in the heat of election season and right now is the time to saturate the airwaves.
The relative lack of right wing messaging is something like the dog that didn’t bark. Is it possible they have already given up on this turkey and view any money thrown at it a waste? From a nonscientific “take it for what it’s worth” perspective, I seem to be seeing a lot more TV ads for No On 2. I’ve also seen No On 2 billboards and yard signs, but neither in support of it.
The yard signs may be telling. It gives a way to measure grassroots support - and that could the real story here. The people who are opposed to Issue 2 are fired up about it. Stories like this are popping up in local papers across the state. Regular workers who suddenly found themselves in the GOP’s cross hairs are standing up and fighting back. It isn’t just public sector unions, either. Over the weekend I went door to door on the issue, and when I showed up at the local headquarters to get my walk list there was a big, enthusiastic group of college students getting ready to go out as well. As with Madison earlier and Occupy now, the No On 2 campaign has brought together a large, diverse coalition.
Best (or at least funniest) of all, the Yes effort has played out as a ham-handed farce. Supporters have staged a comical series of pratfalls, self-inflicted wounds and belly flops that has discredited them more than the most sinister vilification campaign could have. First it was revealed that Kasich and company are gluttons at the public trough even as they belch out demands of austerity for everyone else. Then they recruited a series of fictional public employees to give a big ol’ thumbs up to going after public employees.
But the absolute highlight has been Grannygate. A great grandmother in Cincinnati gave an impassioned testimonial against Issue 2 for a commercial, and the astroturf, worker-hostile Building a Better Ohio responded by…splicing her comments to appear to support it. Listen, even in Ohio we have some standards about how low you can go - and this was a bit much even for us. So TV stations began pulling the ad en masse (it’s exceedingly rare for that to happen on even one), Kasich tried to distance himself from it, and GOP-friendly outlets unloaded on it. And just in case that wasn’t enough, the woman in question - Marlene Quinn - was very public with her displeasure. When you have a nice little old lady blasting you for being a ratfucker, your campaign is probably not going too well.
Really, though, deception and voter suppression are all they’ve got. They can see the yard signs and the canvassers as well as anyone. They know they absolutely cannot win this one in a fair fight, so they’re pulling all the tricks out of their bag. But it’s mighty hard to pull off a smoke and mirrors campaign against a large, active and united group of people who are out there talking to their friends and neighbors about the facts. The folks on the ground are driving the narrative on this one. They aren’t taking anything for granted, but they sure seem to be on their way to a big victory.