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Should Turning Ohio BLUE Be Our Objective?

I’m going to a meeting this evening of a group called Blue Ohio. Its website says that the mission of the group is to: “Motivate a strong majority of Ohioans to vote for Democratic candidates in local, state, and national elections.” The group is working on a plan that includes mailing out flyers, hosting candidate forums and organizing events for candidates.

I respect the efforts of Blue Ohio members to make a positive impact in politics and I want to be supportive of their efforts. But, to achieve progressive goals, I’m coming to the conclusion that a nonpartisan approach has a greater chance for success than a partisan one. People are sick to death of partisanship — when polled, 43% of voters identify as nonpartisan. A candidate forum sponsored by a group dedicated to electing Democrats would be a turn-off for a lot of voters. Progressives need a venue to positively interact with Independents.

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Turning Ohio Blue sounds good, but if Democrats command 51% of the vote in Ohio, is Ohio Blue? If Democrats win 60%, is Ohio Blue? The fact is, turning Ohio Blue will never be possible. It will always have lots of red. We need to move away from a “winner-take-all” politics based on division and wedge issues and move towards a politics focused on unity and consensus.

Rather than focusing on achieving partisan victories, I’m concluding that progressives should focus on making our system of representative democracy work as it should. We need to have confidence that a government of the people would be a progressive government. Moving towards empowering a nonpartisan government of the people would be revolutionary. It would be fiercely resisted by the two party monopoly that is enriched and empowered in the current system. It would be resisted by every person and every organization that benefits from the partisan division of the political status quo.

Rather than pumping up a system built on partisanship and division, progressives should find a way to advance a system built on nonpartisanship and community. That sounds hopelessly idealistic, I know — words, words, words. But suppose a group took such idealistic goals seriously and worked together to move from words to deeds. I’m wondering what an organization called “Nonpartisan Ohio” might look like, how it would define its mission, its goals.

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2 comments to Should Turning Ohio BLUE Be Our Objective?

  • Chet Bauch

    Hi MIKE: Great idea based upon statistical info. What did you learn from the BLUE meeting? How would the nonpartisan Ohio be financed against the rich neocons? The list of conflicting issues seems to grow and those, the common folks, who have the most to lose, seem to be oblivious of the means that would help them and provide realistic solutions.
    Regards, CHET

  • Mike Bock

    Hi Chet. Thanks for keeping track of DaytonOS. The BLUE meeting focused on analyzing voting statistics in Montgomery County. Ken McCall, who used to crunch data for the Dayton Daily News prepared a number of informative graphs and if he gives permission I will post on DaytonOS. The meeting was online using ZOOM. The leader of the group, Wenbi Lai Hirakawa, is now living in Japan and will return to this area in a year. Interesting that the seven participants could be so easily connected across so many miles. You ask a good question about financing a nonpartisan movement. It’s all about tapping into a growing grassroots dissatisfaction with the political status quo, it’s all about generating a grassroots nonpartisan movement. Such a movement would connect a large group via the internet. It’s a reasonable goal, I think, to eventually engage 2% of registered voters in such an online movement. 2% of OH-10 voters would amount to a group of about 10,000. Such a group, if it was active and focused, could transform politics in our congressional district. The tools here in 2017 to create meaningful online communities are amazing. We have the power and the potential available at little cost — think of all the citizens who already own and use smart phones — it’s a matter of harnessing that potential. I’ve settled on a strategy, I’m trying to find the gumption to initiate it. Thanks so much for your encouragement. If you’d like, I’d enjoy having coffee with you sometime.

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