Yesterday’s election results are in. In the biggest news, the voters of Ohio rejected the state’s new law strictly regulating the role of public sector unions.
With 97 percent of the unofficial count reported, 61 percent said “no” to Issue 2, the referendum on Senate Bill 5, compared to 39 percent who wanted to save a law that has proved to be one of the most controversial in recent memory.
This is a big kick in the ass for Gov. John Kasich (R), who basically admitted as much in a press conference.
Mr. Kasich, who ultimately became the primary face of the failed campaign to save the law, said it was time to “take a breath” before determining the next step.
Voters “might have said that it was too much too soon,” he said. “Maybe that was it. I don’t really know, except I know this: When you try to do big things, you must do a good job preparing the ground for people to understand what the issue is. … I’m not sure that we were offering them a solution to a problem that they didn’t think existed.”
In other words, he and the Ohio GOP didn’t do a good enough job of demonizing teachers, police, firefighters, and other public sector employees.
There was more good news: in Mississippi, the personhood amendment went down to defeat, and in Maine, voters rejected an attempt by their Tea Party governor to limit election-day voter registration. In Kentucky, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear was re-elected by a wide margin, and in Arizona, State Senator Russell Pearce, the man behind the odious anti-immigration law, was recalled. In Michigan, voters recalled State Rep. Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc) in retribution for his voting for cuts in education. And raise a glass to Costco in Washington state, where voters approved the sale of liquor in grocery stores. Cheers: it looks like a bit of sanity is being restored to the country.
It’s dangerous to predict from one year to another; a year ago, it looked like the Democrats and the progressives were buzzard meat at the hands of the Tea Party. But now that the country and the states have seen what fresh hell can be done at the behest of radical cranks, they are pretty much rejecting them. It wasn’t a clean sweep — Mississippi passed a photo ID law to vote, which is a backdoor way to make it harder for the poor, the elderly, and the disabled to vote — but it looks like a lot of the movement toward rich white Jesusland has been stemmed.
That should provide a bit of comfort to the Obama campaign, and a cold glaring lesson to the GOP: as Rachel Maddow noted, more people in Ohio voted to reject the anti-union law than voted for John Kasich for governor last year.