There has been speculation as to the ramifications of this past election and what it means for the 2012 presidential election. Issues 2 and 3 have garnered national media coverage for months. Political pundits have proclaimed the outcome of this past election will predict whether President Obama will win a second a term. While the news outlets were quick to bury Issue 2 and declare a solid Democratic victory, they were stunned by the passage of Issue 3 by an even larger margin, which gives the Republicans a large peg on which to hang their hat.
United they spent
Organized labor is the big winner coming out of this election. After raiding $17 million in union dues to conduct the largest smear campaign in the history of Ohio politics, the unions showed they are a force to be reckoned with even if most of the money came from outside state. Nevertheless, the monopoly unions have over Ohio’s public employees is here to stay much to the chagrin of Ohio taxpayers. Ironically, the same people who opposed the cost saving measures of Issue 2 are the same people who voted against additional tax levies across the state for local government, schools, and emergency services.
President Obama is the big loser coming out of this election. While the repeal of Senate Bill 5 is an accomplishment for unions and the Democratic Party as a whole, Obama has to know that the Democrats who overwhelmingly voted to repeal Issue 2 are the same ones that voted to allow Ohio to opt out of Obamacare.
It is ironic that while the Democratic support for unions is alive and well in Ohio, the same cannot be said for the policies of this Democratic president. While the Democrats want to portray Issue 2 as a referendum on John Kasich, it actually was a referendum on a fabricated bogeyman created by massive false and misleading advertising. The passage of Issue 3, on the other hand, stands as a pure repudiation of Barack Obama and his policies.
For the Republican Party, it was a draw. We Are Ohio, the anti-S.B. 5 organziation, bested their opponents, Building a Better Ohio, on money, messaging, and manpower. The pro-Issue 2 campaign lacked passion and backbone. Confused voters, absent any legitimate alternative, voted no.
Winners played to win
The unions mounted a precision campaign that played at the heartstrings of all people across Ohio and raised a ton of money, exactly what they were supposed to do. In power politics, you have to play to win. The pro-Issue 2 team barely made it out of the locker room onto the field.
But the win on Issue 3, a repudiation of Obama’s keystone legislation, coupled with the $17 million the unions were forced to spend this year as opposed next year, bodes well for the Republicans in 2012. Democrats and Republicans can both find victory in the last election. But they both can find storm warnings. It will make for an interesting election year.
Alex Mangie is a lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley and has been active in Republican politics for many years. He is a Certified Public Accountant currently working for the Mahoning County Board of Elections. He wrote this for the Mahoning County Republican Party.