Ohio voters had their say on Tuesday, and more of them voted against the Republican union busting law than voted for Governor John Kasich. According to the latest returns (with 99 percent of precincts reporting), 61 percent of voters opposed the union-busting legislation, which stripped collective bargaining rights from 350 thousand public employees, with 39 percent supporting it.
A visibly shaken Governor Kasich hemmed and hawed on camera about how he was going to take some time for “reflecting” on the vote. Apparently it hadn’t occurred to him that Ohio voters respected their teachers, fire fighters, police and other public servants more than fat-cat ideologues who want to crush trade unions in the Buckeye state.
You won’t be shocked to learn that union-busters tried the usual dirty tricks, including the old “Election day is tomorrow” (not today) robo-calls. GOP media errand boy Mike Huckabee even ‘jokingly’ suggested creating confusion about election day at a pancake breakfast/rally in Mason, Ohio on Friday, according to Molly Reilly’s HuffPo report:
“Make a list,” said Huckabee, referring to supporters’ family and friends. “Call them and ask them, ‘Are you going to vote on Issue 2 and are you going to vote for it?’ If they say no, well, you just make sure that they don’t go vote. Let the air out of their tires on election day. Tell them the election has been moved to a different date. That’s up to you how you creatively get the job done…The crowd laughed at Huckabee’s remarks. In 2009, he made a similar joke in Virginia, saying, “Let the air our of their tires … keep ’em home. Do the Lord’s work.”
What ‘Lord’ would that be? This one doesn’t quite pass the ‘WWJD’ sniff test.
Indeed, his remarks raise a serious question: If someone repeatedly advocates illegal voter suppression in a ‘joking’ manner, should he/she be held accountable? Maybe it’s time for the authorities to answer that question.
So, how did the ‘We Are Ohio’ coalition defeat the lavishly-funded union-busters? Mike Hall explains it well in his AFL-CIO Blog post “Ohio Voters to Kasich: “No, No, No“:
After the Ohio legislature rammed the law through in late March–ignoring an outpouring of public opposition including demonstrations that brought thousands to the state capitol in Columbus–Ohio working families began a massive mobilization to repeal the law.
In just a matter of weeks, volunteers from the We Are Ohio coalition collected more than 1.3 million signatures to put S.B. 5 repeal on the ballot. With polls showing growing support for repeal and a rapidly shrinking approval rating, in August Kasich even offered a so-called compromise. But working families rejected the deal and continued the fight for full repeal.
As the election drew near, unions and community groups knocked on doors, made phone calls and distributed literature around the state. In the past weekend alone, volunteers knocked on more than 450,000 doors.
When well-organized people power goes up against big right-wing money, don’t bet against the people.