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Ohio GOP gives new meaning to the concept of ‘spoils of war’

Published: Sun, December 18, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

There’s good and bad news in the Ohio General Assembly’s approval last week of a new congressional district map. The good news is that there will only be one primary — in March — saving the state the $15 million that would have been spent on two primaries had they become necessary. The bad has to do with Republicans in the House and Senate believing that their sweeping victory in the 2010 general election gave them political carte blanche.

The map showing the boundaries of the 16 congressional districts in Ohio is only the latest example of the majority pursuing a partisan agenda and, in the process, riding roughshod over the minority Democrats. Even though the redistricting legislation received some Democratic votes, the bottom line is that the opposition was between a rock and a hard place.

Democrats could not convince Republicans that political fairness should be the underlying principle of congressional redistricting, and neither could they risk political upheaval next year by pursuing a referendum in November on the GOP-drawn map. Their continued opposition would have necessitated two primary elections with a price tag of $15 million.

It is of little solace to Ohioans who believe in a two-party system of government that the new law delineating the congressional district boundaries — the legislation was signed Thursday by Republican Gov. John Kasich — also contains a provision to create a bipartisan redistricting task force to come up with an equitable way of creating the districts.

It is revealing that 25 nonpartisan grass-roots organizations all judged the GOP scheme to be so lopsided as to give Republicans the advantage in 12 of the new districts and Democrats the upper hand in four. This in a state that is at best politically purple — neither bright red nor blue.

It is also noteworthy that a map was produced in a national contest sponsored by Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting that met all the federal and state legal requirements and gave Republicans and Democrats an equal chance of winning in a majority of the 16 districts. The map was endorsed by the 25 organizations, but the Republicans in the General Assembly didn’t give it much thought.


The Associated Press reported last week that not only had GOP operatives drawing the map done so in secret — they holed up in a hotel room in Columbus paid for with tax dollars — but the office of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Cincinnati, was an active participant. The bottom line: Republicans were determined to shut out Democrats and others who were insisting on fairness so they could produce a map that would give them a majority of the congressional seats in Ohio for the next 10 years.

It is the height of hypocrisy for GOP leaders to contend that this was the best that could be expected under the circumstances, given that they created the circumstances that produced such a lopsided map.

The public’s trust in government is already at an all-time low and when the congressional election results are announced in November 2012, Ohioans will have an even dimmer view of those elected to represent us.


1ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Oh boo hoo! Remember when the Democrats were in total power in Congress and they wouldn't include Republicans in committee meetings, and Obama told Republicans to "get in the back". Democrat conveniently forget that they employ the same tactics when they are in power. Who actually thinks that if the roles were reversed that the Democrats, in the name of fairness, would redraw the map giving Republicans half of the districts? Hahahahahahahahaha!!!

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2NoBS(2845 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

This sort of thing - swinging from one extreme to the other at every election - has happened before, and will happen again. If history is followed this time, we're in for a decade or so of this nonsense.

A wise "representative of the people" would realize that the reason they were elected is that they were NOT of the party that was just swept out en masse. Sadly, we're still firmly entrenched in partisan politics, with both sides putting their political party ahead of their job - what's best for We, The People.

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3borylie(953 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

The Vindy editorial staff is is so blinded by it's love of the democrat party,that they won't recognize that both parties do what's best for them,not us. Why don't you Vindy democrats rail against the system,demand change by both parties. This crap every other day of attacking republicans just shows your ignorance as you accuse the republicans of being unfair as you do the same thing. Hypocrites.

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4300(573 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

You might have had a valid point, borylie, if the Democrats had actually done anything like this before in Ohio. But, they haven't.

The GOP wants to take a 50/50 state and turn it 75/25. That's unamerican, but that's what's to be expected of Conservatives these days.

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5borylie(953 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Both parties have drawn up maps that worked for their party.

If it's a 50/50 state,why are the republicans in the majority in both the state senate and house by a pretty good margin?

Why did quite a few democrats,especially in the Cleveland area vote along with the republicans in the redrawing? They're un-American too?

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6300(573 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Really?? You can't understand why the GOP has had disproportionate control of state politics in Ohio? It's the direct result of gerrymandering!! They did it last time around as well (they just didn't go to such extremes like this time). This is what happens over the span of 3 decades or so of FOP gerrymandering.

You can't possibly argue that Ohio isn't a 50/50 state. We've got enough Presidential election results to go by that prove this.

As for the 2nd part. It's self-preservation that many Black Democrats supported the GOP-led efforts. It ensured them of a safe seat. Kucinich as well, he didn't care if the voters were losing their democracy by competitive districts, all he cared about was being ensured of his seat in Congress. And yes, they're all un-American as well, regardless of political party. They supported, with the GOP, rigged elections.

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7300(573 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Borylie, I also find it amusing that the most recent examples of blatant gerrymandering by Democrats was nearly 110 years ago.

Not that they were even the same political party as they were back then, but even if they were, that was 4-5 generations ago.

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8borylie(953 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

In post #6 you stated that the democrats "haven't" done this before. I simply pointed out that they have. Maybe you should of said that they haven't done it a long time.
Your Presidential election results are the result of a few counties ie. Mahoning Co. that pile up big numbers in the Presidential elections for the democrat they are told to vote for. In general the rest and most of the state is republican.
It's too bad that anybody that disagrees with you is un-American. I believe you and your ilk are just terribly mis-informed and so ideologicaly bent that you can't possibly see anything but what you want to see.
Since you threw in rigged elections,what party in Cuyahoga Co. was caught rigging elections? What party wants 30 days for absentee ballots? So that they can get their hands on them and have time to get them into the ballot boxes? No national ID to present at the voting booth?
You'd better sit down and have a talk with yourself.

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9300(573 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

A few points here.

1. The fact that you think you actually unearthed relevant evidence of Democratic gerrymandering in Ohio indicates that you're not entirely there mentally. No point in even spending anymore time on that.

2. It doesn't matter if 70% of Ohio counties vote GOP, it's about how many people do. Geographic space is no indicator of popular support. It just points out that sparsely inhabited areas tend to be conservative. Clinton twice, Bush twice, Obama once, and all of these were relatively close elections. That equals a more or less 50/50 state.

3. I disagree with any political party that seeks undue advantage through gerrymandering. I'm liberal, so is Kucinich, but it's absolutely un-american for him to have publicly supported the GOP redistricting bill.

I'm completely objective in my approach to politics. I think that the first Bush was actually one of the best presidents we've had since WWII, and it was a shame that a pensive individual, such as he was, was passed over by both sides of the political spectrum. Of course, the Democratic party in Cuyahoga was/is corrupt. So too is the GOP at a state-wide scale. Anyone who seeks to disenfranchise voters is un-american.

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10borylie(953 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

You make the assertion and I'm not mentally there?
The GOP state-wide is corrupt? Any proof?
You're going to take the presidential election every 4 years,as opposed to every election held in Ohio to elect our reps. and senators as the basis for your math? Obviously more people are voting for republicans in the "whole" state of Ohio.

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11300(573 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Absolutely, I'm asserting that you're not mentally there. When asked for proof of your argument that both sides do this in Ohio, the best you could come up with was from over 100 years ago.

The fact that you don't understand how state legislature seats have been affected by gerrymandering also shows that you don't have a sound understanding of the political process.

Lastly, presidential elections are the best indicator of popular support for a political party because it's not skewed by gerrymandered districts. I worry that you're one of those people who look at the red/blue map and think that this country must be 80% Conservative because most of the country's geographic space is red. Are you not aware that just Cuyahoga county has more people than Nebraska and Wyoming combined? If not, then yes, you're not mentally there.

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12Laker(21 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

No Democrats in Cuyahoga rigged any elections.
Quit lying, bory lie.

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13300(573 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

As for proof of state-wide GOP corruption, there are a few notable examples (there are always bad apples here and there, but I'm talking about systematic corruption).

1. The recent redistricting campaign that was led by Boehner's office, and overseen by a former staff member. This last attempt is the most blatantly partisan redistricting that we've ever seen in modern Ohio history. If we were Southern, we'd be in front of the Supreme Court. The last time around, it was pretty partisan by the GOP, but this time it's absurdly partisan.

2. During the SB5 process, the GOP had any inside opposition removed from their committees. In addition, several SB5 supporters have now been rewarded by Kasich with appointed positions (they helped him in his crusade, so he made sure they wouldn't have to worry about being reelected later).

3. When Kasich started the JobsOhio office. There's no transparency, and public money is being diverted into private accounts. If it's to be privatized, then it should be funded with private money, not the public's.

4. The involvement of Whitehat Management, and its campaign donations that are obviously quid pro quo for their charter school business.

I don't know how anyone could not be aware of this if they follow politics. The GOP at a state-wide level is at Cuyahoga Democratic party and Traficant-era levels of corruption.

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14borylie(953 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Go back to your sandbox if that's the best you can do. Trying to make yourself relevant?

You said the democrats NEVER gerrymandered. I proved you wrong. End of discussion.

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15300(573 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

No, you just made yourself look silly for thinking that you had found anything relevant. The only thing you "proved" was that you're woefully uninformed about current events and the political process.

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