Larry Sabato, one of the foremost prognosticators in American politics, has a post-mortem out today highlighting four diverse “purple” states. The analysis isn’t kind to Ohio Democrats.
The Buckeye State may have been the Democrats’ biggest black eye state. Not only did the party lose a golden opportunity to win a Senate seat vacated by the embattled, retiring Republican George Voinovich, but the Democrats’ golden boy Governor Ted Strickland lost his reelection bid as did a remarkable five House incumbents.
Not long ago, Colorado, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia were akin to the Fab Four Democratic states. The 2010 results changed all that. Overall, Democratic losses were most severe in Ohio and least deflating in Colorado, with New Hampshire and Virginia somewhere in between. These four states alone accounted for just shy of one-fifth of the Republicans’ House gains, and two of the party’s nine net gubernatorial pickups during the past 13 months.
Despite their regional and demographic diversity, these four states are microcosmic bellwethers of two-party competitiveness nationally. And thus the 2010 results prove that, just two years after Obama’s precedent-setting victory, America remains entrenched in a period of partisan dealignment and gridlock, and divided government nationally.
Usually, when a state Party is the “black eye” among many states who fell victim to a “shallacking”, it means it’s time for a leadership change.
But no, not Ohio Democrats. Hysterically, there has been no call for Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern to step down, despite being at the epicenter of total and complete demolition.
But it goes beyond the results.
While the ODP gets raves for its organization, the reality reflected a complete and failure. Of course, what do you expect from them when they rely on paid volunteers for GOTV efforts rather building a true volunteer network of enthusiastic activists?
And it doesn’t end there. We can also look at a major decision that caused a ripple effect across the state – that being the support of Lee Fisher over Jennifer Brunner. Now I can understand the initial effort to force one of the candidates out, though in their position I would have pushed for Brunner over Lee. But once a primary between Brunner and Fisher was assured, Redfern should have backed off. Instead, he froze Brunner out and the Democrats lost their best candidate for Senate. Instead, in a year where voters were anti-establishment and in desperate need for a job, Redfern pushed for the failed “Jobs Czar”. Fisher’s failure caused a wave effect that damaged each and every other candidate in a multitude of ways – money, organization, message.
It didn’t have to happen.
If Redfern continues to serve as Democratic Chairman, I will join many fellow Republicans in celebrating. His failure is our victory.