Friday, December 31, 2021

The Best and Worst in Cincinnati Politics for 2021

It is time once again to look back over the past year and pick out the highs and lows of Cincinnati politics. 2021 gave a reason to directly deal with Cincinnati Politics that has been missing with the advent of 4 year council terms, something that has thankfully ended.

With that jolly thought in mind, I need to remind the few readers that this listing is a HIGHLY scientific process based on a combination of high level mathematics, caffeine, and the desire to illustrate the good, bleak, and pointlessness of the many varied political undertakings of the past year.

The Best
  1. Democrats Elect Eight to City Council: A new beginning with a good team. 
  2. Aftab Wins Mayor's Race by Large Margin: Positive leadership for the City and the region.
  3. Smart Move: Democrats refusing to allow cross party endorsements of candidates. They were attacked for doing this, but it was a wise choice and most importantly, it worked.
  4. Liz Keating Sneaking on Council: Her appointment to City Council in late 2020 was dubious at best, but her tenure on council was as a very moderate candidate, at least in appearances.  Getting the Charter endorsement was the kicker that got her enough votes to get the last spot on Council.
  5. Defeating Both Issue 3 Ballot initiatives:
    • In May during the Primary Election far left wing activists tried a massive power grab for a group of unelected social service leaders and their advocates.
    • In November everyone saw through Tom Brinkman fronting for an ill conceived Republican Donor backed effort to cripple the city.
The Worst
  1. The Republican Party: Anyone with any amount of experience following politics would be able to identify the set of positive circumstances for Republicans heading into the 2021 election: a) A corruption scandal, expanded by the GOP fishing expedition enabled by a Republican Judge, b) an increase in shootings (though not an overall increase in crime), and c) Three sitting Republicans on council as incumbents.  Throw in tons of suburban Republican money and they were poised to win some power on council. They still couldn't field enough candidates for a five person majority, let alone anything close to a full slate of candidates.  They ended up with one member elected in the last position.  That candidate ran publically as a very moderate candidate that likely connected well with moderate women..  The more conservative candidates lost far more significantly.  A complete failure.  Any other political party would fire people over this. 
  2. Tom Brinkman: The guy is a right wing extremist who is against the the existence of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He thought somehow he could find a way to waste a ton of money on a fruitless campaign. He didn't even bother creating a website for his council campaign.  He knew he was going to lose. He also essentially lost twice.  He got his ass kicked in the council race and his Ballot Issue lost big time as well.  He wasted a ton of Republican money and that would be a redeeming quality if he did it on purpose, which he did not. He may try to run for something county wide. He may find he won't fair much better, no matter how much GOP money the fat cats are willing to waste on him.
  3. Issue 3 for a $50 Million power grab: This was a terrible ballot issue that appears to have been crafted to either intentionally fail or to force the City to gut the funding of the Police Department. I list those too extremes because it was a horribly written issue that put all of the big issues onto City Council to figure out and then clean up with no direction. I don't know how any honest group could put if forward as it did they thought it was good policy. It also gave unelected left wing activists power with no checks or balances or the ability of the public to have oversight certain portions of unelected board given this power. I person did not vote for anyone who publicly supported the Ballot Issue.  What is sad and likely shows the cynical intent of its originators is that a large group of people felt they had to support this because they support creating more affordable house.  This Ballot issue was a really bad way to do that.
  4. Supporters of Issue 3: Beyond the badly written ballot issue, there were so many puritanical supporters of this issue who viewed getting it passed as a litmus test.  Those who did not have absolute support for the issue were vilified and often ostracized by its most vocal supporters.  Hell of a way to run a railroad or social movement....
  5. Independent Progressives: Adding to the Issue 3 fiasco, they lost BIGTIME in the City Council Election.  If you are going to run against the Democratic Party, then you better learn to be a unified party with viable candidates that might build up a credible following.  Instead, they support 'Socialists' with no viable ways to govern a city. Leftist activists are not good political leaders, they are just attention seekers.  Organize a team with common viable goals, not a bunch of crackpots who have a bunch of bad political views that not only are bad policies, they are policies that can't win outside of leftist clubs on college campuses. 
  6. Michelle Dillingham's Campaign: A simple rule to follow when you want the endorsement of a political party, don't work against and criticize that same political party. The Democratic Party in Cincinnati had a clear goal for its candidates, unity.  Dillingham did not want to be unified with anyone.  Her campaign was about being aggressive and working against certain groups. She did not demonstrate that she wanted to work with other who frankly are not far off on policies. Her crusade against SORTA and the bus service was incomprehensible. Sure, it riled up some parents that may have turned into voters, but attacking public transit is not a winning position for any left of center political candidate.
  7. Brian Garry Campaign: From passing out intentionally misleading and dishonest campaign literature at the polls to alienating a campaign manager, Brian Garry demonstrated why he would not be a good member of council or any elected office.  I hope this is end of him running again.  He needs to move on from politics.
  8. The Charter Committee: They had several solid candidates, but they did not have a wide reaching organization to get support. The de facto political party lacks the infrastructure of the two major parties and it shows.  They need to reassess what they are doing and how they approach Cincinnati Elections if they are going to ever have an impact, again.
  9. Anyone Who Believed That City Council Poll: A political 'poll' made the rounds amongst political circles and many people believed it, especially the Enquirer's Jason Williams and perennial Republican candidate Charlie Winburn. I don't know who conducted or paid for the polls, but the one I saw only included four endorsed Democrats in the top nine. Williams looked like a fool when he had a column that included most of this poll's top nine as his prediction. He is not good political analyst and is a hack columnist.  The poll was at best a favorability or name recognition survey, not a true poll, something very difficult to do with an at-large nine-seat race. Here's hoping that people who follow politics take more time to understand the evolving electorate, instead of thinking the election of 15 or 20 years ago is the same as today.
Moving on from the Best/Worst, here are couple more tidbits that I either learned this year:
  1. If you think Democrats are going to do this well in Council Elections every year, you are mistaken. They will have an advantage for the next couple elections, but the electorate will change again. I don't see it getting any more Republican, but moderate candidates have a very doable path to get on council next time around.
  2. Price Hill and Westwood are no longer Republican Strongholds in City politics. There are a few pockets, but conservative white flight has continued.
That's all I got. Happy New Year!

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