Sunday, June 27, 2021

Will Cincinnati Republicans Endorse for Cincinnati Council?

 It is the end of June and local Republicans still appear to be living in a Trumpist haze.  The HamCoGOP Twitter account is a step away from spouting Qanon dogma or MyPillow religious proclamations.  Alex Triantafilou, Chairperson of the Hamilton County Republican Party, has long wanted to mount a take over of the City.  The rest of his party leadership prefers to take actions that hurt the City of Cincinnati and see its demise. None of them seem to be doing much to support enough candidates to actually to do much on council.

For the the last few years their efforts have, not surprisingly, been to undemocratically seize control of City Council through the courts. This effort to use the courts by Republican hack lawyers to sue their way back onto council came to halt recently when a commission appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court refused to Suspend Wendell Young. They were able to swing one additional council for a Republican, but couldn't get another one.

That failure appears to have taken the wind out of the sails of the Republicans. They were running a campaign against "corruption" which Republicans have done far more in the state than any Democrat could ever do (see Larry Householder.) None-the-less their presumptive candidates and allies have pushed charter amendments and are pushing more to tie the hands of any elected council member who is not rich or a practicing lawyer from being able to serve.  Call it yet another anti-democracy effort by Republicans to limit the rights of the masses and empower the Republicans.

All of this still leaves a Cincinnati City Council election ahead and time is running out.  At this point there are only three candidates the GOP likely will endorse, Sundermann, Keating, and Goodin.  None of them have been elected before, but are serving as council members.  That means they are vulnerable.  We've not had a city election since 2017 and Democrats elected six members to Council. The City has become more Democratic since then.  The manufactured scandals are the only thing working in the Republicans favor and unless they get more candidates, they are not going to have a governing majority to make it worth anything.

The Charter Committee stands to have more influence on City Council than the Republican Party after this election.  Two Charter endorsees, Goodin and Keating, are Republicans and presumed to get cross endorsements.  Their tenure so far has been very much as Charter Republicans, which would be considered a Moderate Republican.  Moderates in the GOP are an endangered species.  On the other hand, Sundermann has acted like a typical Conservative and even though she's not pushed the envelope of right wing nuttiness that has taken over her party.  She tows the GOP line, but has kept the Trump worship under wraps.

I would propose the best thing the Republicans could do for Goodin and Keating would be to refuse to endorse them for Council and only endorse Sundermann.  That would give them attention and make them independent from the GOP and allow them to be Charterites.  At the same time, both would have no problem getting the 4th Street business community to donate to them, which in the City is the ONLY reason a candidate would want the Republican endorsement.

There is still time for other candidates to get in the race and there are other candidates who have taken out petitions and declared themselves as candidates who are Republicans.  Those out there now, like Linda Matthews don't have much of a campaign going and at this point that means they are not raising any money to hire staff.  That means they are not viable and likely not going to get an endorsement, unless the GOP wants to try and save face.

There are a few names that could get in the race at this late point, but they are smart enough to know that the GOP brand in the City is about as damaged as it could be and this year it is not going to get any better. There is not much money up for grabs from the Suburbs to change the city.  The Hamilton County Suburbs are not as fertile ground as they were for the GOP.  The exurbs outside the County are where they have to go and the Exurban GOP donor appears to be stuck in Trumpism. A good Trumpist wants cities to be destroyed, so that leads them into a bit of conundrum.

I would expect something from Republicans in the form of an endorsement slate soon, so the candidates can get some fundraiser mailings out to GOP lists.  The GOP announcement then gives the Cincinnati FOP the ability to endorse, as they don't make endorsements without knowing who the GOP is pushing.  These groups work together on City Politics 98% of the time.  The rest of the GOP leaning groups will following along too, but there may be less this year, as they all are so far down the Trump rabbit hole that if you are not 100% loyal to Trump, you can't be a Republican.  I hope they keep this idea going.  Purity is the downfall of a political effort and the Republican Party needs to go the way of the Dodo.

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