Context and Ohio Democrats

Ohio. Something of a disappointing outlier in an election where Democrats did well in neighbors Michigan and Pennsylvania, in addition to the nation as a whole. So for about a week we have been gradually starting a conversation about what this means, and what if anything is to be done.

Here’s the entire conversation for Democrats IMO: This is political party strength in Ohio since 1978, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Democrats in blue

As best I can judge, Ohio Democrats have not had a useful statewide organization since the mid-1980s, at which time presumably the party was coasting toward its early 1990s capsizing.

Since then?

I think there’s a good case, in this context, for saying that presidential campaigns delivered wins to Ohio rather than vice versa. In 2006, Ohio Dems managed to ride a national wave, which is only a credit in comparison with the failure to do so this year. Sherrod Brown alone is not an effective party. If his guidance could assist with building one, it hasn’t happened yet; I’m happy to test theories for how it could yet do so.

As things stand now, though, this seems to be a situation way beyond improving through cautious, don’t-get-carried-away tinkering. Thus my minimal interest in brainstorming along those lines, if it goes no further.

I can spot all kinds of excuses for this year’s results. It isn’t hard. The problem is that IMO they must be considered in in a larger decades-long context. Does that context suggest that Ohio is just a tough challenge? Probably. Probably it’s so tough, it won’t be overcome by tinkering at the margins, or by scrappy grassroots effort.

I admire Sherrod greatly, and he may well have a lot of valuable input, but at this point I don’t think the advice to “be scrappy” is enough by itself.

We were really scrappy this campaign. Personally I feel like “be even scrappier,” with a same or similar system and strategy, amounts to pushing on a rope. Thanks but no.

This post collects a twitter thread; the original with some further discussion can be found here.

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