Seems like everything’s back to normal. No more being bombarded by commercials urging us to hate/love this or that candidate for office, now back to being reminded of our inability to perform on demand.
But wait, kidz. Not so fast. Before we stick a fork in Election 2012, let’s see what that chilly day in November can tell us for the future of politics in T-Town, and what it might bode for the upcoming muni elections in 2013. Hildo’s election eulogy, 2012 style.
1. Voter drop off is alive and well. We don’t mean voters somnambulating through the massive marketing effort that constitutes the modern election cycle. Nor do we refer to the fact that a third of voters listed on the Lucas County rolls didn’t show at the polls. Instead, voter drop off means that a large part of the electorate who actually cast votes for President seem largely ignorant that there is anything else on the ballot.
Consider. Over two hundred thousand folks from the County of the Swamp voted in the Presidential race, but the very next item on the ballot, the race for US Senator, garnered a total of five thousand less total votes. That means five thousand of your fellow voters took the time to fill out a ballot, but stopped after the first question. Talk about voter fatigue.
Down the ballot it gets worse and worse. Around twenty thousand folks who voted didn’t bother to enter a preference for County Commissioner, Clerk of Courts, Treasurer or Recorder. Fortunately all those races were so lopsided a few thousand votes would not have swung the outcome. About sixty thousand folks who voted didn’t make a choice for Ohio Supreme Court, leading to the unlikely result that a county which elected President Obama by a thirty point margin and elected a complete Democratic Party slate to countywide offices inexplicably chose three Republican Party justices for the high court.
Then there are the levies. Eight thousand people who voted for President didn’t register any vote on Issue 20, the Toledo Public Schools millage, which lost by only two thousand votes. Thirteen thousand didn’t vote one way or the other on Issue 24, the mental health levy, which won by less than four thousand votes, or Issue 26, the Imagination Station renewal, which lost by less than one thousand. Clearly the preference of those thousands of folks who actually voted but didn’t take the time to make it all the way down the ballot or didn't exert the energy to think through the issues could have changed the outcome of all three.
We understand that the Presidential election spends all the money infiltrating every moment of our lives and gets all the headlines. But it is these local races that have very concrete, direct impact on our daily lives long after the Super PACs have packed up and left the LC battleground. Can we step it up next year, or will the Mayoral race suck all the wind out of the down ballot races again?
2. The race for Toledo Mayor is on. Rumors about likely candidates to try to unseat Hizzoner Mikey P.
have been swirling all year. The last month of the 2012
elections would indicate the rumors are true.
Auditor Anita Lopez looked like a candidate in the heat of a campaign, hitting every possible political function and taking the time to press flesh all around, though she isn’t up for re-election for two more years. Councilman Joe McNamara spent his time racking up political points while trying to look like the presumptive D choice. Rep. Matt Szollosi had campaign signs all over town, in areas far from his actual district.
Meantime, ol’ Bell Bottoms squandered his considerable likeability ratings by fighting tooth and nail over how to give his top executives more dough. Smart move? Game on.
3. The GOP needs an extreme makeover. The 2012 election was a sweep for local Dems. Even the best positioned GOP candidate, Georgie Sarantou, lost by double digits. In larger news, 2012 was the year of victories for women’s rights, LGBT rights, and minorities across the country. Even cannabis is on a surging crest of new highs. Sorry, we couldn’t resist that last one. Anyway, the GOP is on the wrong side of the trend on all of the above.
Note we didn’t mention a GOP candidate for Mayor next year. That’s because there isn’t a single credible such candidate who has surfaced. Nationally the Republicans took a pounding. Locally they were barely in the ring.
Will 2013 be the year they drop out altogether?