Post-mortem: Coming Soon to City Politics

. November 7, 2018.

Deadlines being what they are, we write this column before the November election. But there are no excuses in politics, nor in opinion columns, so we bravely make post-election predictions before the elections are tallied. Writing in past tense while predicting the future is only one of the pitfalls of such bold prognostication, but we’re up to the task, so here goes.

By time you read this, the following will almost certainly have happened.

Bold Prediction Number One.

Speculation has begun swirling around a possible run for Toledo Mayor by Sandy Spang in twenty twenty-one. This is predicated in part on our fearless prediction that Spang has not been elected to the County Commission, and that Gary Byers has beaten her for that seat.

We think Byers will have won for two big reasons. First, he must have raised a kaboodle more campaign funds than Spang, given the fact he ran television ads for his race.

Television buys are extremely expensive, and the last thing a candidate spends money on. Byers on TV meant he spent lavish cabbage.

The other reason we predict Byers has won is early vote numbers. The early vote in Lucas County has been explosive so far, and given the political leanings of the County, most of those voters likely voted for the Democrat Byers. Early votes often predict a larger than usual overall voter turnout, which also bodes well for Byers.

If, against these odds, Spang has won and will soon be sworn in as a Commissioner, she still might run for Mayor. She’s the obvious candidate from the Republican side, having been elected citywide as an At-Large Councilperson twice. And she’d be running from cover, as they say, meaning she wouldn’t have to relinquish her Commissioner seat to run.

If Byers won, Spang is certainly eyeing her next political move. Heck, in only five years in elected office, she has already run for Mayor and Commissioner. Sorta makes it obvious she has little interest in being a member of City Council. The only factor leaning against a mayoral run is she wouldn’t be running from cover, since her council election would also be in twenty twenty-one.

Still, you read it here first. Spang for Toledo is ramping up a run for the twenty-second floor.

Bold Prediction Number Two.

Huge voter turnout and higher than usual participation by Democrats has swept Lindsay Webb and Joe McNamara into office. No matter whether the purported Blue Wave materialized anywhere else. Here in the Swamp, Democrats will have surely voted in record numbers for a mid-term election.

The main beneficiaries of that wave will have been Byers, Webb, and McNamara, all Democrats. Webb was elected with relative ease, we predict. Last-ditch efforts by the local GOP to taint her with alleged political and personal missteps have failed, in part because of lack of cash to pound them into voters’ heads and make them stick.

Big Prediction Number Three.

Even though voting numbers have surged, there is still a huge generational discrepancy. Older people voted, younger people generally did not.

Various theories explaining this phenomenon will surface in the coming weeks. Here’s ours.

It’s a vicious cycle. Young people don’t vote. Candidates know that, do the simple electoral calculus, and rarely speak to issues that motivate younger people. Younger people are thus not motivated to vote, thinking none of the candidates care about their issues. So young people don’t vote. Lather, rinse, repeat.

We have little emotional investment in Big Predictions One or Two. Three matters to us, though. It matters a lot. We need the next generation to participate and engage in electoral politics so public policy can move bravely and swiftly toward the future.

For once in our run here at City Politics, we hope and pray we were wrong, and young people turned the tide, forcing candidates and elected officials to begin speaking to them.
The future of our beloved Frogtown depends on it.