Let’s Talk About Last Night In Ohio

If you’re not up on last night in Ohio, what happened was this: Ohioans voted to enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution (Issue 1), by a margin that qualifies as “not even close,” and also voted to allow the use of marijuana in the state (Issue 2), by a slightly larger margin. This despite overwhelming and absolutely dishonest messaging by the GOP and its allies on both issues, but most notably on Issue 1.

Wanna talk about it? Let’s!

1. The first thing I notice is that the margins to pass Issues 1 and 2 very closely match the margin with which Ohio voters turned down (a very different than November’s) Issue 1 back in August. That Issue 1 — and yes, Ohio’s numbering system for voter issues needs a little more clarity and variety — was the GOP-dominated Ohio legislature’s attempt to make voter initiatives almost impossible to put on the statewide ballot and then almost impossible to pass. The lege then scheduled that Issue 1 for an August vote date despite the fact that they had very recently passed a law to stop having August elections because no one voted in those. They were counting on the issue to slip past most voters so only their favorite selected voters would show up. This backfired on them in a real and significant way, as roughly four times as many voters showed up for that election as did for the previous August election, and (that) Issue 1 went down in flames.

It was widely understood that August’s Issue 1 was a “Hail Mary” attempt to keep November’s Issue 1 off the ballot, since abortion rights are broadly popular in Ohio, and the wholly gerrymandered Ohio legislature knew it was out of step with the general population on the matter. That said, when I wrote an August election post-mortem, I said I imagined the vote on abortion rights would be decided on a closer margin than the one that prevailed in crushing initiative restrictions. Well, it was — by half a percentage point. Otherwise, it looks like the people who showed up to slap around the Ohio lege in August came back to do it again in November. Excellent choice, Ohio voters.

2. I strongly suspect that having both abortion rights and marijuana legalization on the ballot at the same time had a synergistic effect on the success of both issues. It seems to me that very broadly, the sort of person who doesn’t want a politician in their uterus, or the uteruses of their friends and loved ones, is the sort of person who doesn’t want people to risk going to jail for toking up, and vice versa. For those folks, being able to take care of both things at the same time would be a reason to make the effort to vote, while the people who were highly partisan about one but meh on the other could still vote for both because, hey, they were there voting anyway.

Of course, the flipside was probably true as well: The correlation between wanting to control other people’s uteruses and control their ability to toke whenever they wanted is, I imagine, pretty high. And lord knows the GOP whipped its voters into a frenzy about both. But the fact of the matter is there are fewer Ohioans on that side of both issues.

3. It’s also worth noting that on the abortion rights issue, 3.86 million Ohioans voted, which is around 48% of the total electorate. That’s a pretty good turnout in an off-off election year, which had neither senators nor representatives were on the ballot (as in 2022) or a president (as in 2020). Ohio voters were clearly energized by the idea of clawing back the rights they had had a few years previously, as well they should have been.

4. As with the August election, the GOP and conservatives ran a stunningly dishonest campaign on Issue 1. They said voting “no” would protect children (it wouldn’t, unless forcing a child to carry their rapist’s baby to term is your definition of “protecting”), that voting “yes” would curtail parental rights (which weren’t being threatened), and would allow women to abort viable fetuses up until the very moment of birth (the amendment made provisions for viability issues and medical determination thereof). The “No on 1” folks even threw in some anti-trans bullshit into their messaging because trans people are their current boogeyfolk.

When none of that was working especially well, there was the breaktakingly disingenuous assertion that Issue 1 was unnecessary because abortion is currently legal in Ohio. It is: It’s legal because the law the Ohio lege passed (and the Governor signed) to restrict abortions to six weeks was placed on hold pending court cases, and it was widely expected that the entirely gormless GOP-dominated Supreme Court of Ohio would rule that the ban after six weeks is legal.

(This on top of Secretary of State Frank LaRose and the Ohio Ballot Board’s decision to have the explanatory text of Issue 1 suggest people would be, among other bad things, voting for murdering babies; this got taken to Ohio’s gormless Supreme Court, which issued an opinion that some of what LaRose did was out of bounds, but not the part suggesting one is murdering babies, so, yeah, that was great.)

The fact the GOP expected these absolutely transparent lines of crap to hold water with people not already in the tank for them shows how out of practice they are trying to craft a message to people who aren’t them. In the end, the GOP had to resort to voter flyers saying “If you don’t know what’s in the Issue, just vote no,” which elides that the other option was not to vote on it at all, which, one presumes, was what many who did not care to know about the issue did.

5. On the subject of the gerrymandered, GOP-dominated state government, don’t expect it to accept either the passage of abortion rights or marijuana legalization with a world-weary shrug and the decision to move on to other topics. On the marijuana front, what passed is not a constitutional amendment, so they can (and just may) move to invalidate it or restrict it substantially, because fuck you, that’s why. They have rather less leeway on the matter of abortion rights — the actual text of the amendment was constructed with the understanding that the Ohio GOP would do everything in its power to make its protections as constrained as possible — but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to try.

As noted before, the Ohio legislature is gerrymandered as fuck, and a previous attempt to de-gerrymander the state (via voter initiative, although not as a constitutional amendment), was roundly and illegally ignored by the state government, which rather than obeying a court order to change its unconstitutional districts decided to run out the clock until such time as it could get an Ohio Supreme Court more congenial to their bullshit. Bluntly, the Ohio legislature picks its voters, not the other way around, and doesn’t actually care what Ohio voters in general think about anything.

In 2024 there is very likely to be another voter initiative to remove the Ohio government from the district drawing process entirely, and if it’s on the ballot, it’ll very likely pass. Until and unless, the Ohio government is going to keep trying to make a mess of things. This is not going to make Ohioans happy. In the short run, there’s not too much to be done. In the long run, there are things to be done, and I suspect it’s going to bite the Ohio GOP on the ass. Which it should.

6. Ohio’s abortion and marijuana victories are part of a larger 2023 election night which saw some substantial Democratic gains and Republican embarrassments, including but not limited to Andy Beshear handily winning a second term as governor in Kentucky, the Democrats holding the Virginia senate and taking the Virginia house, stalemating Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin and putting paid to his nascent presidential hopes, and on a smaller but no less vital level, punting a bunch of censoring reactionaries from various school boards across the land.

In a week where the press and some Democrats were wringing their hands about the fact that Trump is leading Biden in some entirely meaningless polls a year out from the 2024 presidential election, the actual reality of how people are voting offers, shall we say, some interesting and possibly corrective perspectivse. One, restoring peoples’ ability to control their own bodies is a winner, and we’ve seen that over and over and over again in the time since the Dobbs decision. Two, you won’t go wrong letting people have their weed. Three, people in general are not nearly as intolerant as their gerrymandered representatives, or professional propogandists, or the people hoping to monetize their shittiness on the former Twitter.

None of this is actually difficult to understand, and I do wonder why some people, particularly nominally on the left, seem to have a problem understanding it. Hopefully they will start understanding it better soon. Today’s presidential polls don’t mean much but November 2024 will be here sooner than people think.

— JS

70 Comments on “Let’s Talk About Last Night In Ohio”

  1. Republican politicians want unresolved issues, whether they are real or not. “Solving” them removes campaign issues.

    MAGA Republican politicians in MAGA districts play to their crowds, at the expense of Republican politicians in swing districts.

  2. Was cautiously hopeful to see the results of last night’s elections, even if the Hail Mary pass of Mississippi Governorship didn’t connect.

    We here in Georgia are stuck with a reasonable seeming Gov in Kemp, who still passes tax cuts and prevents Medicare expansion, at a time where the budget surplus is bigger than it’s ever been. And a Dem hasn’t won a statewide race in pushing 2 decades. (edited to add WAIT OTHER THAN WARNOCK AND OSSOFF) Just can’t win on the state level. (again, gerrymandered)

  3. Despite the gerrymandering and incessant voter purging from the registries, we won. We’re Ohio residents for over 40 years now and it’s been too blindingly obvious what is starting to take shape here.

    Ohioans are worried about losing the most powerful of all rights they have. And we saw that last night as the metropolitan vote once again cancelled out the rural communities. There were nearly 27,000 votes purged (the majority of which were democrat) in our state. 27,000

    And perhaps it wasn’t enough to make an impact in this particular election, but what’s to stop them from purging even more before next November?

    In my opinion, we didn’t just vote for Issue 1. We voted for the 27,000 people who couldn’t. It’s frightening to believe that the GOP would actually engineer and orchestrate a mass purging of votes nationwide, but this is where we are now. I fear that the GOP is no longer caring about how many voters it can whip up into a frenzy. They care only about how many voting rights they can take away.

    Don’t they realize if they became more moderate and understanding of the American people, that we MIGHT just like to see them take a political seat?

    If the GOP doesn’t change its current stance and step away from the MAGA morons, they are doomed.

    They thought this November was a bad break?

    God, wait until next year.

  4. So pleased to see my ancestral homeland behave in a relatively sane manner.

    Never going back, I have issues with the place. But those are more about me than the place, and everyone deserves agency.

    My only question for the Ohio wingnuts: Do you know who everyone hates more than a winner who cheated?

    An incompetent loser who cheated.

  5. Yeah, on the polling…even the usually even-handed Guardian is pulling the “but…” lever, with a headline on the order of “Wins for Democrats but Biden losing to Trump in swing states.”


  6. I’m happy things are going well there. What I observe over and over again here in Oklahoma is people who disagree with the Republicans on almost everything voting for them because they “just don’t trust the Democrats,” or some such shit and I don’t understand it.

  7. First up: well done, Ohioans.

    I still can’t get over the fact that Rick “Don’t Google Me” Santorum rolled a 1 when he referred to the act of putting both abortion and cannabis in the same ballot as a “secret sauce.” Dude. Self awareness called.

  8. A day or two before the election, I did finally work out what they were really saying when they said “protect parents’ rights”: the right of parents to deny their under-age dependent an abortion, even if the dependent wanted or needed one. So, parents’ rights to control their childrens’ bodies. The GOP gets really worked up about having the right to control childrens’ bodies, I’ve noticed.

  9. Biden’s poor polling remains a cause for concern. Despite the fact that the electorate seems to widely prefer Democratic positions on many issues, they don’t like him very much. Inflation may be part of Biden’s problem, but I think the biggest part of it is that he’s just too old. So is Trump, so that might not be as effective an issue as the Republicans hope.

    I think the Democrats would fare better in 2024 if they could convince Biden to step aside and find a good alternative. But that “good alternative” is the flaw in the argument, as there is no agreement in the party about who that might be. The most obvious choice, vice president Kamala Harris, is even less popular than Biden. There is no great upswelling of support for Pete Buttigieg, who has to be considered the runner-up. The one current candidate for the nomination, Marianne Williamson, will never fly. The progressive wing of the party would push hard for one of their people if Biden doesn’t run, adding a further obstacle to consensus. (I’d love to see AOC be elected president in 2024 but I know it’s not going to happen.)

  10. I guess every day is a new day in journalism. There is lots of writing about Biden’s approval rating but no one mentions that he is at roughly the same value as both Obama and Bush were at this point in their administrations. Both were handily reelected the following year.

    Same with gas prices. No one seems to notice that they ALWAYS go up in the early spring and fall and go back down again in the late spring and fall. That’s entirely because refineries are switching between their winter and summer blends and while transitioning, supplies go down so prices go up.

  11. @WritersWithCats – The GOP was fine with the democratic process when it could generate them wins. But the goal is to stay in power, not actually represent the will of the people.

  12. I think quite a few people have trouble understanding the polls because they don’t want to and/or are paid not to.

    “Biden is OLD” plays great with the media. The media does better under Trump in general (more outrages to cover), but they also want a close race and to get those rage clicks from dems, so they want to push problems with Biden and Dems, and ignore accomplishments as much as they can while playing up minor problems into huge issues. We’ve seen this with each of the last 5 elections, though it’s most obvious since 2016.

    And in the meantime, influencers and twitter personalities get a ton of followers and likes for bashing dems and dem chances.

    Lastly, Dems also like to panic, which feeds all of the above. But really, there’s an incentive for people to not understand polls, voting, and to blow up Dem chances.

  13. I tip my hat to all the hard-working people knocking on doors, pounding the pavement, talking to their neighbors and anyone else who will listen, and putting their all into the daily hard work that laid the ground for yesterday’s wins. We’ve got quite a mess, and the more of us who can grab a mop and help clean it up, the better.

  14. Very Happy with Governor Beshear winning reelection and with the results in neighboring Ohio though I wish they would get rid of the highly gerrymandered district that favors Gym Jordan.

  15. “In a week where the press and some Democrats were wringing their hands about the fact that Trump is leading Biden in some entirely meaningless polls a year out from the 2024 presidential election, the actual reality of how people are voting offers, shall we say, some interesting and possibly corrective perspectivse.”

    This, to me, is the most important aspect of what happened. The mainstream media cover politics as if it were always about personalities, and the level of coverage is not very far above pure gossiping. Who’s up, who’s down, who said crap about whom.

    Actual coverage of issues ranges from sparse to nonexistent. But it turns out that, on some issues at least, the public is fully engaged.

    That lesson will be lost on producers and assignment editors. They are wedded to the practice of journalism as entertainment. But it offers some hope that some Americans are still citizens of a society, not just consumers in an economy.

  16. My first thought on the “poll results” was “Was that a real poll, or one of the polls where they carefully cherrypick their respondents, or one of the ones where they simply invent the numbers?”

  17. I wonder if you have any impression on the overlap between the supporters for the initiatives?

    I can’t link to it here, but I saw a breakdown of the stats on Tumblr that suggested marijuana legalization was more popular in certain rural areas and outer suburbs, while the abortion rights amendment had more support in urban areas and inner suburbs.

  18. Interesting. The numbers for OH I’d seen last night looked like abortion had more than 60%, but marijuana had only 55% or so, but it looks like the final numbers for both were under 60%.

  19. I was cautiously optimistic on Questions 1 and 2 and I am delighted with the results. I am extra happy that my Republican family members in Ohio, several of whom most assuredly voted No on 1 and 2, are having a bad day today.

  20. “Thank goodness that most of the states in this country don’t allow you to put everything on the ballot because pure democracies are not the way to run a country.” – Rick Santorum on Newsmax last night commenting on the election results in Ohio.
    JFC, why do people vote for or listen to people like this???

  21. This election marks the first time I’ve put my name on my opinion online. I’ve always been vocal on anonymous social media, but this time I spent weeks on Nextdoor just countering all of the GOP BS on Issues 1 and 2.

    The time of “my opinion is worth as much as your facts” needs to end. We need to get corporate money out of politics, and we need to hold our elected officials accountable for the lies they put in media.

  22. I’ve been forced to change my mind about Initiative and Referendums for making changes to government. After California’s Proposition 13 radically lowered property taxes back in 1978, I thought that I&R was a shortcut to hitting people’s passions to decide things rather than the deliberative process of legislatures. So I didn’t think it was a good idea.

    But seeing what it has done in Ohio and other states, my stance has changed to “it depends”. Sometimes you have to let the voters make the decisions directly.

    Bear in mind, this can well bite us in the butt with other issues.

  23. Jamie above (“Never going back, I have issues with the place.”) typifies what’s going on in the gerrymandered purple-red states. People get tired of how undemocratic their state and local governments are and decide to live in a more reasonable state. Then the states they leave become more red and undemocratic, while the blue states become bluer.

    It takes a very serious Republican blunder, like the Supreme Court overruling Roe vs Wade, to overcome the feelings of hopelessness in undemocratic states.

    Thank you, Ohio.

    (I’ve heard that MTG thinks Roe v Wade is a debate on how best to cross the Potomac.)

  24. Best as I can recall, this time last year, Ron DeSantis was a sure thing. Not just a lock for the GOP nomination, people were talking about going ahead and grinding his key for the Oval Office.

    Best thing to do here is quote Aerosmith: Who knows, baby, where I’ll be in a year.

  25. Biden’s poor poll numbers are I think sticky to him to a certain degree. Lord knows why people don’t want to give him credit for doing a better job under more difficult circumstances than his ex-boss, but people just don’t like him, for whatever reason. And there’s nothing to be done about that.

    The other thing about the numbers though is that a majority of people for some reason think the economy is still lousy . . . and it’s not. Hasn’t been for a while now. And most to the point, likely won’t be a year from now. People have clung to this untenable idea thus far, but will they really be able to a year from now? I don’t know, but I’d guess not . . . and therein lies the Dems’ best shot at the Executive Branch for the next term.

  26. I was glad to see both Issues 1 passing in August and November. But I couldn’t help thinking to myself, Where the heck were all these Democrats when JD Vance was on the ballot against Tim Ryan for Ohio Senate? Really could’ve used that push last year.

  27. Well done Ohio voters!

    As a non-USAian observer I find American politics fascinating & horrifying, especially in contrast to New Zealand politics. We have our issues but a 48% turnout really struck me. We just had our General Election in October & turnout was 79.2%. (Historical highs were just after WWII & in the early 1980s when turnout was over 90%)

    In New Zealand it is compulsory to enrol to vote, but not compulsory to actually vote. This year, 94.7 of people who were eligible to enrol, did enrol.

    Some other big differences include:
    – we have a neutral body (Electoral Commission) that administers elections & does redistricting (so I was ignorant of the concept of gerrymandering until I started following American politics).

    making it as easy as possible to vote which means that our General Election is traditionally held on a Saturday, employers are required to allow time off to vote if needed. But you can cast your vote in advance, before election day easily enough.

    And if you haven’t got round to enrolling, you can rock up to a voting venue on election day & enrol & cast your vote right there & then. The downside of making it so easy to vote is that the final result takes longer to be declared (more checking needs to be done after voting day, instead of before). This year, our election day was October 14 but the final result was not declared until November 3. While some people got impatient for the result, pretty much everyone agrees that this approach is much better for our democracy.

  28. Most excellent results almost everywhere.

    Regarding the polls, I want to note that a year ahead of the 2012 presidential election, pundits everywhere saw an Obama loss.

    Personally, I’m concerned about known unknowns for 2024: Biden’s health; Trump’s legal status; Trump’s health; unpredictable world events.

  29. Headline in National Review: “Ohio Voters Approve Radical Amendment Removing Limits on Abortion, Gender-Transition Procedures”

    Well, if supporting the freedom of choice about one’s body means to be a Radical, then I am a Radical!

  30. I’m in agreement wholly with Scalzi here and won’t waste time with repeated thoughts, but I had to thank Bob Collins for the joke on crossing the Potomac – I burst out laughing. Well done Bob and I’m gonna steal that.

  31. Well I don’t like killing unborn or almost born children. But I do think there should be a reasonable middle ground on this. The passed amendment goes much too far and the legalized open wording assures that if a female wants an abortion, all she has to do is describe how she can not emotionally or financially support a child to a willing abortion provider and she can be assured of the procedure. I think also the wording that each person is entitled to reproductive rights … will soon be determined that any trans-wanna-bes will not be able to be denied all sorts of trans related drugs and procedures. All this likely independent of age or parent consent. All of this and the voting margin shows that the prior societal norms have rapidly given way to the younger few generations desires. In a fair election .. and I think Ohio’s voting is reasonably fair .. the will of the people have spoken. But heaven help us!

  32. I’m still amazed that people ascribe any importance to polls. They’ve been horribly wrong over the last decade and it’s only getting worse. For a good explanation of why:
    WHY Polling is Dead, Dead, Dead.

    Bottom line: Pollsters cannot reach a representative sample of the electorate. They generalize and weight results based on the tiny sliver of people they do reach. Even the ones that are NOT deliberately shaded for propaganda purposes are simply not accurate.

  33. I said years before Dobbs (and of course I was by no means the only person to say this, but still) that if the GOP ever overturned Roe they’d essentially be the dog that finally caught the car–now that they’ve won they have no idea what to do, because the evangelical base that pushed for the overturning of Roe will never vote for them if they soften on that at all, but their position is (as demonstrated in Kansas, Ohio and elsewhere) out of step even with red-leaning (or even deep red!) constituencies as a whole.

    Between their unwillingness to distance themselves from the MAGA cultists and their inability to address abortion in a thoughtful way Post-Roe, they are a party in decline, and gerrymandering and voter suppression won’t save them forever.

  34. I am still tickled by the TV ads that were essentially “Legalize marijuana in Ohio so MICHIGAN doesn’t get the tax revenue!”

  35. I’m glad it turned the way it did, and to have voted because I promised. I also thought the Issue 1 No people were somewhat disingenuous – they wanted to protect women from abortions by forcing them to give birth (which I thought had a significantly higher rate of death than any abortion).

    My concern for President is not to get Trump (because I fear that electing Trump would be an end to democracy in the US, and the end of the US or at the least its first republic). I liked Klobuchar but she did significantly worse in party than Biden, and I don’t know how Shapiro or Whitmer would do. I think people worry (or at least I do) that a significant primary challenge for Biden would be a lot more likely to get them Trump as President than a better Democratic President – that it would weaken Biden but not strengthen the eventual candidate. The donations of GOP people to No Labels, Forward, and Phillips suggests that GOP donors is less worried about hitting on a better candidate than Biden than about Biden himself (though their logic hasn’t been great, and it’s possible they have enough money to try anything that helps them get Trump).

  36. We have our issues but a 48% turnout really struck me. We just had our General Election in October & turnout was 79.2%.

    You’re comparing apples to oranges. The equivalent US election would be for the Presidency and the turnout there was 66%, which is lower but in the same range.

    Meanwhile, in the last NZ local elections (to which 2023 is much more comparable) the turnout was 30%. So, yes, higher turnout is better for democracy and it looks like NZ has some off-year work to do.

  37. Light one up, Ohio!

    With Ohio becoming the latest state to legalize cannabis, everyone’s a winner — even non-consumers.

    Cannabis is going to become a cottage industry for the state. Because of the peculiarity of federal criminalization but state-level legalization, the U.S. potentially has 50 different cannabis markets.

    Ohio cannot import marijuana, and none of the legal states can export it. So, it will have to grow its own.

    Ohio neighbors Kentucky, which historically was one of America’s leading growers of hemp — also cannabis, but with no discernible THC to make it psychoactive. Any part of Ohio with a similar microclimate to Kentucky is well-suited to cultivate cannabis.

    Weed can also be grown indoors in a climate controlled environment, so it can even be grown in urban Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Canton.

    Granted that it’s legal, it’ll still be a highly (ahem) controlled and tightly regulated market. That means the conservative government can just strangle the market through high taxes and restrictive licenses. Even in cannabis-friendly states, a license for cultivators and dispensaries are even harder to obtain than liquor licenses.

    You could have the worst of both worlds and get the tomfoolery of California. Taxes are very high — so much to the point that during pandemic lockdowns, marijuana dispensaries were declared “essential businesses” and when the state was anticipating a multibillion-dollar deficit it instead recorded a surplus due to all the people toking at home. Yet, as California does, it punts the actual regulation to cities and counties. There’s a stat that says 2/3 of California cities permit no cannabis businesses, but the remaining 1/3 are the biggest cities where most of the sales take place. (California has a lot of tiny incorporated cities). Furthermore, in the cities where businesses are permitted, licenses are as hard to get as a taxi franchise in the pre-Uber days — so the barriers to entry are often insurmountable.

    Still, if Ohio can treat cannabis like alcohol and not like drug-drugs, it will mean tens of thousands of new jobs in cultivation, merchandising and compliance, and millions of dollars in tax revenues.

  38. I’m not fully knowledgeable about all aspects of economics and I don’t think Biden is doing a poor job but if you’re buying a home, or a reliable vehicle, or putting groceries in the kitchen the economy is not great.

  39. Still, if Ohio can treat cannabis like alcohol and not like drug-drugs,

    You seem to be unaware that Ohio employs the “state store” model for liquor sales, so your suggestion amounts to no private sales, unless you meant “sold like beer”.

    I also wonder if you’ve seen any parts of California north of Bakersfield… your critique of the CA marijuana seems to mostly be about LA.

  40. To all commenters who are puzzled why Joe Biden has paradoxically languid poll numbers despite an impressive track record of policy successes in his first term, I recommend you read James Fallows’ Substack.


    Fallows is very well worth reading. He has been a journalist, author and former speechwriter in the Carter administration. He is intimately familiar with the political press, and his explainers and analyses of speeches are must-reads.

    He is also very concerned about Biden’s press coverage, and what’s just as top-notch as his speech analyses are his explainers of how news framing works and how this invisible-in-plain-sight phenomenon shapes your perceptions of events.

    He’s been very dogged about the water the Washington press is pouring on Biden.

  41. Gary Sargent –

    In essence, you’re repeating the talking points of both Ohio Gov. DeWine and the Republican talking heads on Ohio Issue 1. Dewine said that while he was in favor of broader abortion rights, the proposal “went too far”, when in fact all it did was return the standard to that adopted by the US Supreme Court 50 years ago. And there’s been no commentary from reputable law professors or legal experts except those who are already anti-abortion saying that this somehow allows for gender transition by minors. Issue 1 does NOTHING to change parental rights, and says NOTHING about kids who may be trans.

    Interestingly enough, per Talking Points Memo: “Per pollster John Della Volpe, majorities of a) men 18-44 b) women 18-44 and c) women 45 and older voted in favor of issue 1 in Ohio. Only men 45 and older mostly voted against it.” And this only confirms what I noticed over the last 7 months as I was collecting signatures for Issue 1, canvassing in opposition to the bogus August Issue 1, and then canvassing both in my town and a nearby state university in favor of this Issue 1.

    In all that time talking to people, I only had 2 women tell me that what I was doing was wrong or sinful. By comparison, I had literally 35 to 40 old white guys hassle me, tell me I was a baby-killer, tell me I was racist (!), tell me that Issue 1 would allow kids to transition without parental consent, or tell me that God hated me and the sponsors of the proposal. My only regret was that I wasn’t quick enough to ask the last guy “which God?”

    When they called the race last night, I got a phone call from my daughter away at college, who burst into tears with relief when discussing the results. I swear, there are times when I’m embarrassed to be a man in this society.

  42. I am thinking many states need get legislatures out of gerrymandering, and the country needs to rethink the electoral college. It’s all reinforcing the 2 party system, and I’d figured out years ago, in high school, that the electoral college could be gamed to “win” with 25% of the popular vote or less.
    How? Ignore the high population states, put all your money into the low population ones with their minimum 3 electoral votes and count up until you get just enough votes.
    It’s “in theory” and you couldn’t really get it to work precisely this way, but, going by population instead of voters, taking the smallest pop states up to Virginia to get the 270 needed, that’s 144m population out of 333m. You only need 51% of the vote in each of those states, so only need 73 million out of 333 million, or 22%.

  43. I don’t have any strong opinion on the marijuana or abortion votes. I figure people are going to smoke weed anyway and women know better than I do about pregnancy. Maybe there should be a time limit here, that’s a common agreement amongst most who support abortion.

    Your point number 6 though…everyone better pay attention to those polls, especially the ones that are now saying three quarters of Americans think their financial situation is worse or much worse than under Trump. One year is not enough time to correct this even running on the abortion rights issue. Although the Biden admin isn’t completely at fault here, people will still blame them and him in particular. Expect a lot of voters who are in that three quarters to make their voice heard and the GOP will be pounding hard on this point and putting Biden family members on virtual trial in the House. It looks really bad regardless of anyone’s opinion on the matter.

    I also expect more wag the dog moments around the world to try and scare Americans as well. This is not a good situation at all.

    November 8, 2023, 3:32 pm

    “The passed amendment goes much too far and the legalized open wording assures that if a female wants an abortion, all she has to do…”

    One of the clearest markers for an incel is using FEEEMALE. It’s a popular meme (Quark from DS9). Anyway, Gary, I (a uterus-possessor) don’t think you (a non-uterus-possessor) should have any input on the “feeeemales” of your species and what they do with their bodies. I certainly wouldn’t want to have input on your body and decisions, nor would I want to force you to jump through hoops because you needed medical services related to your male reproductive system. But I’m not a fascist; I believe in a person’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, free from others’ desires to impose theocratic views.

    “will soon be determined that any trans-wanna-bes will not be able to be denied all sorts of trans related drugs and procedures.”
    Gods, Gary, you don’t know when to quit, do you? Are you trans? No? Then great! No one is going to force you to transition.
    But for people who are trans, being able to transition is often necessary and even life-saving (gender dysphoria drives many people to suicide). Again, why do you think you have any right to insert yourself between a transperson and their medical provider? The right-wing obsession with one of the absolute smallest demographics and one of the most vulnerable is repulsive to me.

  45. May I joke? I don’t know why people associate abortion with babies. I mean, call me religious, but the Bible says we live to be 70, (three score and ten) so the average age is 35. So if you think using a condom or doing abortion is killing, then it kills 35 year olds.

  46. “if a female wants an abortion, all she has to do is describe how she can not emotionally or financially support a child to a willing abortion provider and she can be assured of the procedure.”

    The idea that a pregnant person needs a justification (specifically one that some male rando with religious beliefs she may or may not hold finds acceptable) for removing an unwanted substance from their body is as high-handed as it is destructive.
    It’s always interesting when conservatives remove all doubt (Twain)that the lazy and careworn “for the children” arguments against reproductive freedom don’t work logically unless they A, are doing the very thing they accuse democrats and progressives of doing and B, are lying through their teeth about being “pro baby” and wanting to protect children. If left-leaning folks are guilty of codifying things into law based on what they wish the world would be rather than on what it is, then “pro-life, “pro baby” conservatives are doing the same when they work to restrict abortion rights for the purposes of A, forcing women to preserve their vaginas for the authoritative male providers they should marry, B, disincentivizing gender transgressive and “tempting” behavior that “warrants” sexual violence at the penises of random creeps/professors/brothers/step-fathers/uncles/religious leaders, C, ensuring that all women everywhere follow some folks’ God’s edict to be fruitful, and D, clawing back biological and sociocultural control of half the species because statis anxiety. They wish all womenfolk everywhere were the terrified but sheltered dependents their mothers and grandmothers were and so craft anti-abortion policies based on a reality that hasn’t been a reality for decades and which may not have been much of one even in their good ole days. In the reality we actually occupy, rapists gonna rape, marriage doesn’t mean security for mother and child, patriarchy isn’t a panacea for poverty or emotional strife, two parents in the home don’t mean children thrive emotionally and financially, and sex isn’t something you do in the dark with your lawfully wedded spouse under the watchful eyes of a scowling white Jesus.
    Forced birth will only result in living, breathing but miserable children, children who die with their mothers in childbirth, children who languish in then age out of harmful foster care systems, and children who languish in the homes of the resentful mothers who meant it when they said they didn’t want babies.
    Why? The same folks decrying the very social programs designed to help mothers deal with the emotional and economic barriers to the successful parenting of thriving children are just as passionate about forcing il-prepared mothers (no matter how they got pregnant) and unwanted children to twist in the harsh winds of social Darwinist hellscapes with social safety nets ranging from embarrassing to imaginary. Add to all of that the medical confusion and terrorized doctors and you’ve got endangered pregnant people by the throats. So, when the poster who let fly with the quoted passage above handwaves actual and substantive barriers to successful parenting and babies’ wellbeing, they “remove all doubt (Twain) that they’re part of an ever shrinking but all-too vocal band of terrified and delusional menfolk who care less about protecting babies than they do about feeding theocracy and controlling women.

  47. @Jamie, I did not know about Ohio’s state store policies for liquor. I know some U.S. states have state-run liquor stores, but do Ohioans have to buy directly from the state or is it distributed to stores and bars?

    Generally speaking, I’d mean that the process of selling cannabis to consumers would roughly be along the same lines as how alcohol goes to consumers. In Ohio, that would probably mean either a state-run dispensary or private dispensaries that would have to go through the wringer like a bar or nightclub would.

    And California is where I am based, and one of my past immediate jobs was editing news for a cannabis business. I’ve seen it firsthand. The L.A. experience is up and down California; the retail dispensary setup is the most challenging on the West Coast. Though keep in mind it’s not easy anywhere.

    No city, big or small, wants to have dispensaries like they want an auto mall or a hotel or a convention center. It does involve public hearings in front of city councils, so they do have to hear from the police chief, the houses of worship, PTAs, homeowner associations.

    The least enthusiastic communities are the general law cities, which in California is generally an incorporated city with five councilmembers, an honorary mayor who presides over the council, and a city manager. They tend to have the most mobilized anti-cannabis constituents, or city managers who are loath to recommend approval of a dispensary or a grow.

  48. I think I need to move to Ohio. I am trapped under the DeSatin regime down here in sunny FL, with little control over the gerrymandering GOP and a doodling voter base that will do as their told.
    I don’t want to sound defeatist, but I’m banging my head again a wall here.
    Know of any nice properties up near you, John?

  49. “With Ohio becoming the latest state to legalize cannabis, everyone’s a winner — even non-consumers.”

    Well, no, not exactly. I don’t have any particular objection to cannabis being legalized, but it will increase the general immiseration of those of us who are allergic or otherwise have breathing problems caused by smoke (tobacco, cloves, pot, incense, etc.) The miasma of pot smoke in some areas of cities I frequent has basically made them off-limits to me if I don’t want to become ill. I wish people would stick to edibles.

  50. Regarding legalizing cannabis, I guess there are several states to role model off of. Colorado would have the longest experience.

    My only advice is don’t repeat Canada’s mistake: They said legalization was to save the children by driving out the previous black market that would sell substances to minors: By making bad guys go broke from the cheaper new legal stores.

    The problem? Thanks to red tape and dithering on the rules, the new stores came on-line slower than molasses in an Ohio winter. The criminals had more than enough time to adjust. Word-of-mouth is that none of them went out of business.

  51. @ Gary D. Sargent:

    “Well I don’t like killing unborn or almost born children.”

    Neither do I. Good thing that fetuses are not recognized as “unborn children” by the United States legal code, or by the US Constitution – so we’re in the clear.

    Not to mention that recognizing fetuses as children is a strictly religious point of view, therefore any attempt to enshrine it into law would automatically be unconstitutional and violate the First Amendment. No conservative worth their salt would want to blatantly subvert the Constitution, so this is a win for conservatives as well.

    “a female wants an abortion, all she has to do is describe how she can not emotionally or financially support a child to a willing abortion provider and she can be assured of the procedure”

    Correct. And not being a female (I’m making assumptions here – feel free to point out if I’m wrong), you don’t get to have any say in it.

    “will soon be determined that any trans-wanna-bes will not be able to be denied all sorts of trans related drugs and procedures”

    Also likely correct. All good so far.

    “All of this and the voting margin shows that the prior societal norms have rapidly given way to the younger few generations desires.”

    Exactly, and don’t you agree this is a good thing? Reproductive rights should be decided by the “younger few generations”, not by almost-dead geriatrics with no stake in the reproductive game, many of whom oppose said rights for no other reason that sheer bigotry and spite.

    “But heaven help us!”

    Nah. Just keep your nose out of there people’s business, and everything will be A-OK.

  52. @ Tim:

    “if you’re buying a home, or a reliable vehicle, or putting groceries in the kitchen the economy is not great.”

    And yet everyone is still able to do so – otherwise we wouldn’t be having inflation. Unemployment is at historic lows. Luxury (non-necessary) spending, e.g. on travel, is higher than it was pre-COVID (which in itself was a peak). The luxury goods market is through the roof, meaning increased disposable incomes.

    Media, by their very nature, tend to focus on bombastic headlines. The truth is much more boring – but gives more reason for optimism.

  53. @Bobson Dugnutt — “Ohio neighbors Kentucky, which historically was one of America’s leading growers of hemp — also cannabis, but with no discernible THC to make it psychoactive. Any part of Ohio with a similar microclimate to Kentucky is well-suited to cultivate cannabis.”

    Eastern Nebraska also grew a lot of hemp back in the 40s, so it won’t just be the southern part of Ohio that can grow the stuff. I don’t have a map that shows longitude handy, but eyeballing it the two states are pretty close.

    Personally I’d be happier with people sticking to edibles/oils, I discovered in college that secondhand pot smoke gives me a nasty headache. But existing no-smoking laws should cover smoking marijuana as well as smoking tobacco, and keep the smoke away from those of us who aren’t interested.

  54. A caution to the people who recommend cannabis edibles instead of smokable flower or vapes: Edibles should be left to experienced cannabis consumers only.

    Unlike smokable or vapeable weed, which take effect almost immediately upon inhalation, edibles need to be digested before the THC starts kicking in. So it would take at least 1-2 hours before experiencing anything.

    Novices make the mistake of consuming more of the edible hoping for the THC to kick in. This is very dangerous. It can lead to poisoning or a rapid heart rate. One AP news article reported about a retirement-age man in Orange County who tried an edible for the first time and made this mistake. He scarfed down an entire candy bar when he was only supposed to break off a small rectangle. He was hospitalized for tachycardia and he was so frightened by the experience gave up cannabis cold turkey.

  55. When does the Yogurt Administration get sworn in?

    What more can you ask for a leader? They are live, active and cultured.

  56. I think the Democrats would fare better in 2024 if they could convince Biden to step aside and find a good alternative.

    This is not a very good thought.

    This throws away one of the strengths of a candidate: incumbency.

    Second it throws away one of Biden’s strengths: he’s actually good at his job.

    Third, the scramble for a replacement will wound the Democratic Party, no matter how capable the candidates.

    I don’t understand why people have such poorly thought out positions. It’s like they don’t understand how elections work.

  57. new word? typo?


    perspect-vise (n)

    agonizing and impossible balancing act
    sound made by any OG-GOP’s nuts being squeezed between demands by dark money donors for quasi-fascistic legislation versus citizens refusing to surrender their civil rights

  58. I have decided–maybe, in my personal opinion–that the reason so many Democrats are worried abou Biden’s age is: they have nothing else about to him to cause worry. Don’t get me wrong–I think Biden is Too Old. I also think Trump is Too Old (and if anyone thought Biden was Too Old in 2020, well, that’s the age Trump is now, so . . .) However, at this point, I don’t care. Biden gets my vote unless and until he demonstrates that he is completely unable to do the job, and at that point, I’ll take another long look at his Vice President and likely relax.

    That was my opinion in 2020, too, actually. I’ve no problem with the prospect of a President Harris, if worst comes to worst. And for now, Biden is doing just fine.

  59. Democrats aren’t worried about his age because we fear he can’t do a good job. Its only issue is whether voters will vote elsewhere.

    Of course, in every attribute except date of birth and wisdom, he’s much younger than Trump. But a lot of Trump’s voters are looking for some magic change for the country. They’re looking for a Kennedy-like identification for a new America.

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