J.D. Vance: Don’t Blame Trump (Alone)

 

J.D. Vance owes his election to the US Senate from the Buckeye State to Donald Trump. Yes, of course, it was a majority of voters in Ohio who elected him. But the former president’s late endorsement in a crowded and competitive primary field that included 2018 GOP Senate nominee and former State Treasurer Josh Mandel was The Factor.

Vance, meanwhile, underperformed the rest of the statewide GOP ticket in Ohio. As previously reported, incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine won by 25 points over his Democratic challenger. The weakest of the three Republicans running for State Supreme Court won by 11 points. Vance won over US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) by seven points.

That’s still impressive in a state that just 10 and 14 years ago was handily won by Barack Obama and US Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in 2018. Brown’s seat is up in 2024.

It would be easy to blame Trump for that. I’ve pinned much of the blame on him for his undue influence in some primaries (see: Pennsylvania) and for helping prevent the recruitment of stronger US Senate candidates in states like Arizona and New Hampshire. But it would be unfair to pin the losses entirely on him, even though survey data indicated that many voters were much less likely to support candidates seen as supporting Trump.

It is also true that Republicans won nearly 5 million more votes than Democrats for the US House (so far) in 2022. Just four years ago, Democrats outpolled Republicans by 8.6%. At least one exit poll shows that Republicans made gains across many demographics from four years ago, especially with Hispanics and women.

In many respects, as data continues to roll in, this was a classic midterm election. While all politics is local, the former President played an outsized role in many of them, often negatively.

Republicans won convincingly in states like Ohio and Florida while getting trounced in Pennsylvania, where Republican voter turnout lagged. The GOP did well in Georgia, netted four new US House seats in New York, and appears to be headed to a 221-225 seat US House majority, which curbs the Biden legislative agenda for the next two years. California Republicans appear to have figured out the “ballot harvesting” conundrum that Democrats enjoyed in previous elections and won’t lose a single incumbent in 2022. They may even pick up a seat or two in California while losing every statewide office (including, very sadly, Lanhee Chen’s campaign for State Comptroller).

But Senator-elect Vance has thoughts, and they are worth your time. This was initially published in The American Conservative. (Emphasis added)

Something odd happened on Election Day. In the morning, we were confident of my victory in Ohio and cautiously optimistic about the rest of the country. By the time the polls closed, that optimism had turned to jubilance—and lobbying.

Every consultant and personality I encountered during my campaign claimed credit for their own faction. The victory was a testament to Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), one person told me. Another argued instead that SLF had actually bungled the race, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC)—chaired by Rick Scott—deserved the credit. (Full disclosure: both the NRSC and SLF helped my race in Ohio, for which I’m grateful.)

But then the results rolled in, and it was clear the outcome was far more disappointing than hoped. And every person claiming victory on Tuesday morning knew exactly who to blame on Tuesday night: Donald J. Trump.

 Senator-elect JD Vance and former President Donald Trump. Photo courtesy of Cleveland.com

Of course, no man is above criticism. But the quick turn from gobbling up credit to vomiting blame suggests there is very little analysis at work. So let’s try some of that.

Let’s start with an obvious caveat: there is a lot we don’t know. Precinct level data is still outstanding in most states, and exit polls are notoriously finicky. Votes are still being counted out west. We’re still ignorant about a lot. But any effort to blame Trump—or McConnell for that matter—ignores a major structural advantage for Democrats: money. Money is how candidates fund the all-important advertising that reaches swing voters, and it’s how candidates fund turnout operations. And in every marquee national race, Republicans got crushed financially.

The reason is ActBlue. ActBlue is the Democrats’ national fundraising platform, where 21 million individual donors shovel small donations into every marquee national race. ActBlue is why my opponent ran nonstop ads about how much he “agreed with Trump” during the summer. It is why John Fetterman was able to raise $75 million for his election.

Republican small dollar fundraising efforts are paltry by comparison, and Republican fundraising efforts suffer from high consultant and “list building” fees—where Republicans pay a lot to acquire small-dollar donors. This is why incumbents have such massive advantages: much of the small-dollar fundraising my own campaign did went to fundraising and list-building expenses. If and when I run for reelection, almost all of it will go directly to my campaign. Democrats don’t have this problem. They raise more money from more donors, with lower overhead.

Outside groups, like SLF, try to close this gap. But it is a losing proposition. Under federal elections law, campaigns pay way less for advertising than outside “Super PACs.” In some states, $10 million from an outside group is less efficient than $2 million spent by a campaign. So long as Republicans lose so badly in the small dollar fundraising game, Democrats will have a massive structural advantage.

Importantly, because ActBlue diverts resources to competitive races, this structural advantage can be magnified. Let’s look at how this played out specifically. At first blush, Ron DeSantis and Brian Kemp are similar figures: they both won close elections in 2018, and both cruised to reelection in 2022. They are both popular, effective governors from the South. But one won by over 20, and one by 8 (still an impressive margin). What explains this? Money. Look at the fundraising totals: Ron DeSantis outraised Charlie Crist about 7:1. Kemp was actually outraised, albeit barely, by Stacey Abrams. Money, of course, is not dispositive—Kemp won convincingly—but it has a major effect.

In both cases, incumbency provided a major advantage, in part because it’s easier to raise money when you’ve already won. But incumbency is also powerful in and of itself. Just look to Iowa, where incumbent governor Kim Reynolds cruised to reelection by a 20 point-margin, while newcomer Republican A.G. candidate Brenna Bird won by less than one point against twenty-eight-year incumbent Democrat Tom Miller.

This brings us to the Senate. In competitive states, every non-incumbent candidate was swamped with cash by national Democrats. This is true for Trump-aligned candidates (like me), anti-Trump candidates (like Joe O’Dea in Colorado), and those who straddled both camps. The house tells a similar story. Every person blaming Donald Trump, or bad candidates endorsed by Trump, ought to show a single national marquee race where a non-incumbent beat a well-funded opponent. The few exceptions—New York among them—don’t tell an easy anti-Trump story.

In Ohio, for example, Republican candidates ran against extremely well-funded Democrat opposition. Some of them were MAGA. Some establishment. Almost all of them lost. The only exception was Max Miller in Northeast Ohio, one of Trump’s early endorsements.

There is a related structural problem, which is that higher propensity voters (suburban whites, especially) are just more and more Democratic. Meanwhile, a lot of the Trump base just doesn’t turn out in midterm elections. Again, this is not unique to Trump: these voters have always had substandard turnout numbers. But 20 years ago, when most of them voted for Democrats, that meant Republicans had a structural advantage in midterms. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. This problem is exacerbated by Democrats’ strong advantages in states that have expanded vote by mail.

In the short term, as illustrated last week, those advantages serve as a reminder of the need for voting reform in this country, modeled on success in states like Ohio at running clean, fair elections: establishing fair but appropriately narrow windows to return ballots; implementing signature verification; conducting all pre-election work necessary to facilitate rapid tabulation of early votes when polls close; and implementing national photo ID requirements to ensure elections are secure.

In the long term, the way to solve this is to build a turnout machine, not gripe at the former president. But building a turnout machine without organized labor and amid declining church attendance is no small thing. Our party has one major asset, contra conventional wisdom, to rally these voters: President Donald Trump. Now, more than ever, our party needs President Trump’s leadership to turn these voters out and suffers for his absence from the stage.

The point is not that Trump is perfect. I personally would have preferred an endorsement of Lou Barletta over Mastriano in the Pennsylvania governor’s race, for example. But any effort to pin blame on Trump, and not on money and turnout, isn’t just wrong. It distracts from the actual issues we need to solve as a party over the long term. Indeed, one of the biggest changes I would like to see from Trump’s political organization—whether he runs for president or not—is to use their incredible small dollar fundraising machine for Trump-aligned candidates, which it appears he has begun doing to assist Herschel Walker in his Senate runoff.

Blaming Trump isn’t just wrong on the facts, it is counterproductive. Any autopsy of Republican underperformance ought to focus on how to close the national money gap, and how to turn out less engaged Republicans during midterm elections. These are the problems we have, and rather than blaming everyone else, it’s time for party leaders to admit we have these problems and work to solve them.

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  1. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/fair-use-rule-copyright-material-30100.html

    Please check point number 4.

    Not trying to be difficult, it just may place Ricochet in a difficult position if challenged.

    • #1
  2. EJHill+ Podcaster
    EJHill+
    @EJHill

    No statistical analysis can adequately explain the State of Ohio in general and the state of the two political parties in particular.

    At one time the GOP had a “murderer’s row” of candidates that rotated at the top of the GOP ticket. It consisted of George Voinovich, Mike DeWine, Bob Taft, Betty Montgomery and Kenneth Blackwell. They slipped in and out of the offices of Governor, Treasurer, Secretary of State, Attorney General and the US Senate almost seamlessly. And then in 2006 it all went to hell in a hand basket with the gubernatorial administration of Robert Alphonso Taft III.

    Taft was the great-grandson of the “big” Taft, and son of Senator Bob “Mr. Republican” Taft, Jr. His administration allowed various state agencies to invest in some unconventional GOP donor-run funds, including rare coins. It brought the GOP machine to its knees. He was lucky that he wasn’t impeached or sent to jail.

    It did open a door for the Democrats and they won statewide in 2007. Since then, outside of Sherrod Brown, not so much. Ted Strickland, the last Democrat governor, lost re-election to the son of a mailman and then got thumped by 20 points in a race for the Senate by Rob Portman. None of the Democrats who served statewide with Strickland has won again.

    So, while Republicans bitch and moan about “candidate quality” the last three Democrats to run for Governor has been Nan Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton who most Ohioans could not pick out of a police lineup, Richard Cordray who was Elizabeth Warren’s darling at the Consumer Protection Bureau, and Ed FitzGerald, a Cuyahoga County official caught at 4am in a downtown Cleveland parking lot with a woman who was not his wife. Cordray’s 47% was the best of the lot.

    At least Ryan, who lasted from April to October in the 2020 Dem Presidential primary, had a name people recognized. Still, of Ohio’s 88 counties, the statewide Democrats came out on top in just three of them: Athens (Ohio University), Cuyahoga (Cleveland) and Franklin (Columbus).

    And while we all talk about how much money every candidate and each side spent I tend to take that with a grain of salt.  Nielsen tells us 50% of Americans have a DVR and 75% have a VOD service such as Netflix. That’s a whole lotta I-ain’t-watching-those-political-ads thing going on.

     

     

    • #2
  3. Freeven Member
    Freeven
    @Freeven

    Kelly D Johnston:

    JD Vance owes his election to the US Senate from the Buckeye State to Donald Trump. Yes, of course, it was a majority of voters in Ohio who elected him. But the former president’s late endorsement in a crowded and competitive primary field that included 2018 GOP Senate nominee and former State Treasurer Josh Mandel was The Factor.

    Vance, meanwhile, underperformed the rest of the statewide GOP ticket in Ohio. As previously reported, incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine won by 25 points over his Democratic challenger. The weakest of the three Republicans running for State Supreme Court won by 11 points. Vance won over US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) by seven points.

    Isn’t your second paragraph at odds with your first? The polls I saw had Vance up by 10 points or more. Trump endorses him and he underperforms, not only with respect to the polls, but with respect to the rest of the Ohio candidates. I’m not seeing how Vance owes his election to Trump. What am I missing?

     

    • #3
  4. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    I am not a fan of Trump and McConnell shooting inside the tent before the end of the midterms.   I am  also not a fan of Trump starting his run for President and McConnell moving for a leadership election while we are still campaigning in the field.  It seems to me these kind of intra party fights should wait until we have closed out the campaign.   

    SLF did a good job trying to get money into these races eventually, but was a bit slow off the blocks especially in AZ.  Also we spent a lot of money in AK effectively in the Republican primary lobbying for Murkowski.   Still DJT’s PAC was almost a non-player in the midterms as I understand it.  I know they did a lot of fundraising but are sitting on the money.  That too is not helpful.   In seems in this case as if money donated to WinRed was effectively out of the game for the 2022 midterms unless it went directly to the candidate.  That isn’t a productive use of that platform.  

    I agree that we need to get better at poll watching, ballot harvesting, and mail in campaigns.   If it is legal we are going to have to develop a capability for it.  It looks like not having that capability probably narrowly cost us races in AZ and NV.  

    Additionally I heard a rumor that if we had the pre redistricting maps the Republicans would have netted 30 seats and that if we only picked up Trump districts we would have only captured 208 seats.  If this is the case given how many state legislatures that gained population were in Republican hands.  We blew redistricting badly.  That is almost political malfeasance since we are stuck with this imbalance for 5 cycles.

     

    • #4
  5. Kelly D Johnston Coolidge
    Kelly D Johnston
    @SoupGuy

    Zafar (View Comment):

    https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/fair-use-rule-copyright-material-30100.html

    Please check point number 4.

    Not trying to be difficult, it just may place Ricochet in a difficult position if challenged.

    I appreciate that I am careful to follow the “fair use” doctrine, which I am familiar with. I always link to and credit the source and never represent it as my own. I have never been challenged in previous instances where I have done this. If Ricochet is concerned, they are welcome to take it down. I see no need to. If you want my piece taken down, reach out to them.

    • #5
  6. Kelly D Johnston Coolidge
    Kelly D Johnston
    @SoupGuy

    Freeven (View Comment):

    Kelly D Johnston:

    JD Vance owes his election to the US Senate from the Buckeye State to Donald Trump. Yes, of course, it was a majority of voters in Ohio who elected him. But the former president’s late endorsement in a crowded and competitive primary field that included 2018 GOP Senate nominee and former State Treasurer Josh Mandel was The Factor.

    Vance, meanwhile, underperformed the rest of the statewide GOP ticket in Ohio. As previously reported, incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine won by 25 points over his Democratic challenger. The weakest of the three Republicans running for State Supreme Court won by 11 points. Vance won over US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) by seven points.

    Isn’t your second paragraph at odds with your first? The polls I saw had Vance up by 10 points or more. Trump endorses him and he underperforms, not only with respect to the polls, but with respect to the rest of the Ohio candidates. I’m not seeing how Vance owes his election to Trump. What am I missing?

     

    There is no contradiction; they support each other. The polls during the primary were all over the map, so I discredit any claim that Vance was ever ahead by 10 points.

     

    • #6
  7. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Kelly D Johnston (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/fair-use-rule-copyright-material-30100.html

    Please check point number 4.

    Not trying to be difficult, it just may place Ricochet in a difficult position if challenged.

    I appreciate that I am careful to follow the “fair use” doctrine, which I am familiar with. I always link to and credit the source and never represent it as my own. I have never been challenged in previous instances where I have done this. If Ricochet is concerned, they are welcome to take it down. I see no need to. If you want my piece taken down, reach out to them.

    I don’t want your piece taken down Kelly.  And I am not a lawyer.  I just pointed out something that I thought (perhaps rightly, perhaps wrongly) might be an issue – that you quoted a full article (properly credited) from another website.  To a lay person the issue would be that The American Conservative paid for the article, why are Ricochet members getting to read it for free without giving TAC (and their revenue generating ads) any eyeballs.  If I’m wrong, that’s fine. Peace.

    • #7
  8. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    I continue to look for a credible account of Trump 2022 endorsements, win v. lose.  I’ve seen some but am seeking to confirm.

    • #8
  9. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Zafar (View Comment):
    If I’m wrong, that’s fine.

    You are not wrong.

    • #9
  10. Manny Coolidge
    Manny
    @Manny

    Ohio used to be a middle of the road state. What has caused it to go so red?  All I know is, I want to move there!

    • #10
  11. David C. Broussard Coolidge
    David C. Broussard
    @Dbroussa

    EJHill+ (View Comment):
    And while we all talk about how much money every candidate and each side spent I tend to take that with a grain of salt.  Nielsen tells us 50% of Americans have a DVR and 75% have a VOD service such as Netflix. That’s a whole lotta I-ain’t-watching-those-political-ads thing going on.

    In the old days spend on terrestrial radio and TV was critical, but now it is about highly targeted ads on social media, and GOTV organization like block walking, targeted harvesting, and rise share organization.  Having more money means better ground organization where you can hire people to do things that the other side is relying on volunteers for.

    • #11
  12. David C. Broussard Coolidge
    David C. Broussard
    @Dbroussa

    Raxxalan (View Comment):
    Also we spent a lot of money in AK effectively in the Republican primary lobbying for Murkowski.

    That should be disqualifying for anyone with a scintilla of integrity, but she is McConnell’s Senator, bought and paid for.

     

    • #12
  13. David C. Broussard Coolidge
    David C. Broussard
    @Dbroussa

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I continue to look for a credible account of Trump 2022 endorsements, win v. lose. I’ve seen some but am seeking to confirm.

    The problem with such a list is that it’s impossible to know where his endorsement mattered or didn’t.  Many races where he endorsed might have been the same result, and many where the GOP lost his endorsement also might never have made a difference.  It is sort of like a DA running for re-election who claims a 99% conviction rate without revealing that 99.9% of those convictions are plea deals.

    • #13
  14. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I continue to look for a credible account of Trump 2022 endorsements, win v. lose. I’ve seen some but am seeking to confirm.

    The problem with such a list is that it’s impossible to know where his endorsement mattered or didn’t. Many races where he endorsed might have been the same result, and many where the GOP lost his endorsement also might never have made a difference. It is sort of like a DA running for re-election who claims a 99% conviction rate without revealing that 99.9% of those convictions are plea deals.

    We can look at major state wide races and see that his record isn’t great.  I think I said it was 2 somewhere else It was actually 3 with one outstanding in GA.  He endorsed Ron Johnson in WI, JD Vance in OH, and Joe Lombardo in NV.  As far as I know those are the only statewide races where his endorsed candidates won.  To be fair to Trump it was not a good senate map for Republicans.   Also some of his losses were pretty narrow.  It isn’t certain that someone else could have won those races, or done better.  I have more of a problem with him shooting inside the tent and not contributing to helping his endorsed candidates.  A little extra money in NV, AZ, and PA may have made a difference.  considering how badly those folks were outspent by Dems.

    • #14
  15. David C. Broussard Coolidge
    David C. Broussard
    @Dbroussa

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I continue to look for a credible account of Trump 2022 endorsements, win v. lose. I’ve seen some but am seeking to confirm.

    The problem with such a list is that it’s impossible to know where his endorsement mattered or didn’t. Many races where he endorsed might have been the same result, and many where the GOP lost his endorsement also might never have made a difference. It is sort of like a DA running for re-election who claims a 99% conviction rate without revealing that 99.9% of those convictions are plea deals.

    We can look at major state wide races and see that his record isn’t great. I think I said it was 2 somewhere else It was actually 3 with one outstanding in GA. He endorsed Ron Johnson in WI, JD Vance in OH, and Joe Lombardo in NV. As far as I know those are the only statewide races where his endorsed candidates won. To be fair to Trump it was not a good senate map for Republicans. Also some of his losses were pretty narrow. It isn’t certain that someone else could have won those races, or done better. I have more of a problem with him shooting inside the tent and not contributing to helping his endorsed candidates. A little extra money in NV, AZ, and PA may have made a difference. considering how badly those folks were outspent by Dems.

    Even looking at “major statewide races” isn’t great as each state was different.  I like to point out that Joe O’Dea was vocally anti-Trump and he got thumped in CO.  Was that because Michael Bennet (who?) was his opponent, or was it that CO is really a deeper blue state than we think?  Biden won CO by 13 points, about what O’Dea lost by, so was his anti-Trump stance good or bad?  Was it that CO votes by mail now and who knows what the people actually vote for?  

    Masters campaign was funded almost entirely by big dollar donations (from what I heard yesterday), and he got very few small dollar contributions.  Getting outspent is par for the course for the GOP at least since 2008, and frankly I’ve stopped donating to candidates.  They don’t win, or if they do, they don’t do what they said they were going to do.  Not to mention, those donations could come back and get me fired from my job at some point in the future.  Nope, better to just watch the GOP self-destruct and wonder what the replacement will be. 

    • #15
  16. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I continue to look for a credible account of Trump 2022 endorsements, win v. lose. I’ve seen some but am seeking to confirm.

    The problem with such a list is that it’s impossible to know where his endorsement mattered or didn’t. Many races where he endorsed might have been the same result, and many where the GOP lost his endorsement also might never have made a difference. It is sort of like a DA running for re-election who claims a 99% conviction rate without revealing that 99.9% of those convictions are plea deals.

    We can look at major state wide races and see that his record isn’t great. I think I said it was 2 somewhere else It was actually 3 with one outstanding in GA. He endorsed Ron Johnson in WI, JD Vance in OH, and Joe Lombardo in NV. As far as I know those are the only statewide races where his endorsed candidates won. To be fair to Trump it was not a good senate map for Republicans. Also some of his losses were pretty narrow. It isn’t certain that someone else could have won those races, or done better. I have more of a problem with him shooting inside the tent and not contributing to helping his endorsed candidates. A little extra money in NV, AZ, and PA may have made a difference. considering how badly those folks were outspent by Dems.

    Even looking at “major statewide races” isn’t great as each state was different. I like to point out that Joe O’Dea was vocally anti-Trump and he got thumped in CO. Was that because Michael Bennet (who?) was his opponent, or was it that CO is really a deeper blue state than we think? Biden won CO by 13 points, about what O’Dea lost by, so was his anti-Trump stance good or bad? Was it that CO votes by mail now and who knows what the people actually vote for?

    Trump shooting inside the tent didn’t help O’Dea at all.  That is one of the things that frustrated me about Trump’s midterm behavior.  I don’t care his personal problems with O’Dea we need some unity.  

    Masters campaign was funded almost entirely by big dollar donations (from what I heard yesterday), and he got very few small dollar contributions. Getting outspent is par for the course for the GOP at least since 2008, and frankly I’ve stopped donating to candidates. They don’t win, or if they do, they don’t do what they said they were going to do. Not to mention, those donations could come back and get me fired from my job at some point in the future. Nope, better to just watch the GOP self-destruct and wonder what the replacement will be.

    Money is the lifeblood of politics if the GOP can’t find a way to close the gap they will continue to lose.  The problem this cycle is that Trump’s pact spent almost no money.  I think a little of that spending may have made a difference in NV, AZ, or even PA.  They raised a ton of money and didn’t spend any of it, so effectively Trump crowded out funding for GOP candidates this cycle.  Not helpful.

    • #16
  17. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    EJHill+ (View Comment):

    No statistical analysis can adequately explain the State of Ohio in general and the state of the two political parties in particular.

    At one time the GOP had a “murderer’s row” of candidates that rotated at the top of the GOP ticket. It consisted of George Voinovich, Mike DeWine, Bob Taft, Betty Montgomery and Kenneth Blackwell. They slipped in and out of the offices of Governor, Treasurer, Secretary of State, Attorney General and the US Senate almost seamlessly. And then in 2006 it all went to hell in a hand basket with the gubernatorial administration of Robert Alphonso Taft III.

    Taft was the great-grandson of the “big” Taft, and son of Senator Bob “Mr. Republican” Taft, Jr. His administration allowed various state agencies to invest in some unconventional GOP donor-run funds, including rare coins. It brought the GOP machine to its knees. He was lucky that he wasn’t impeached or sent to jail.

    It did open a door for the Democrats and they won statewide in 2007. Since then, outside of Sherrod Brown, not so much. Ted Strickland, the last Democrat governor, lost re-election to the son of a mailman and then got thumped by 20 points in a race for the Senate by Rob Portman. None of the Democrats who served statewide with Strickland has won again.

    So, while Republicans bitch and moan about “candidate quality” the last three Democrats to run for Governor has been Nan Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton who most Ohioans could not pick out of a police lineup, Richard Cordray who was Elizabeth Warren’s darling at the Consumer Protection Bureau, and Ed FitzGerald, a Cuyahoga County official caught at 4am in a downtown Cleveland parking lot with a woman who was not his wife. Cordray’s 47% was the best of the lot.

    At least Ryan, who lasted from April to October in the 2020 Dem Presidential primary, had a name people recognized. Still, of Ohio’s 88 counties, the statewide Democrats came out on top in just three of them: Athens (Ohio University), Cuyahoga (Cleveland) and Franklin (Columbus).

    And while we all talk about how much money every candidate and each side spent I tend to take that with a grain of salt. Nielsen tells us 50% of Americans have a DVR and 75% have a VOD service such as Netflix. That’s a whole lotta I-ain’t-watching-those-political-ads thing going on.

     

     

    Of note: Tim Ryan ran his campaign on a ‘Republican’ message (even agreeing with Trump on China and trade) and criticized both Pelosi and Biden.

    • #17
  18. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    McConnell’s $32M cash infusion had a lot to do with Vance’s win-

    “The Senate Leadership Fund, a Super Pac aligned with Mr. McConnell, invested more than $32 million in the Ohio Senate race. That was 77% of all the GOP’s campaign media spending in the Ohio race after Aug. 14.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trumps-89-million-debt-to-mitch-mcconnell-senate-leadership-fund-j-d-vance-mehmet-oz-11667947704

    Vance only raised $12M as of Oct 19th.

    Trump only gave $2.3 M

    • #18
  19. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    EJHill+ (View Comment):
    And while we all talk about how much money every candidate and each side spent I tend to take that with a grain of salt. Nielsen tells us 50% of Americans have a DVR and 75% have a VOD service such as Netflix. That’s a whole lotta I-ain’t-watching-those-political-ads thing going on.

    In the old days spend on terrestrial radio and TV was critical, but now it is about highly targeted ads on social media, and GOTV organization like block walking, targeted harvesting, and rise share organization. Having more money means better ground organization where you can hire people to do things that the other side is relying on volunteers for.

    The Democrats who were fighting to keep their grip on our county (home of Mayor Pete) had a tsunami of advertising; mail, social media, and broadcast. When the financial reports are collected I think we’ll see that that they outspent the GOP.  

    • #19
  20. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Columbo (View Comment):

    EJHill+ (View Comment):

    No statistical analysis can adequately explain the State of Ohio in general and the state of the two political parties in particular.

    At one time the GOP had a “murderer’s row” of candidates that rotated at the top of the GOP ticket. It consisted of George Voinovich, Mike DeWine, Bob Taft, Betty Montgomery and Kenneth Blackwell. They slipped in and out of the offices of Governor, Treasurer, Secretary of State, Attorney General and the US Senate almost seamlessly. And then in 2006 it all went to hell in a hand basket with the gubernatorial administration of Robert Alphonso Taft III.

    Taft was the great-grandson of the “big” Taft, and son of Senator Bob “Mr. Republican” Taft, Jr. His administration allowed various state agencies to invest in some unconventional GOP donor-run funds, including rare coins. It brought the GOP machine to its knees. He was lucky that he wasn’t impeached or sent to jail.

    It did open a door for the Democrats and they won statewide in 2007. Since then, outside of Sherrod Brown, not so much. Ted Strickland, the last Democrat governor, lost re-election to the son of a mailman and then got thumped by 20 points in a race for the Senate by Rob Portman. None of the Democrats who served statewide with Strickland has won again.

    So, while Republicans bitch and moan about “candidate quality” the last three Democrats to run for Governor has been Nan Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton who most Ohioans could not pick out of a police lineup, Richard Cordray who was Elizabeth Warren’s darling at the Consumer Protection Bureau, and Ed FitzGerald, a Cuyahoga County official caught at 4am in a downtown Cleveland parking lot with a woman who was not his wife. Cordray’s 47% was the best of the lot.

    At least Ryan, who lasted from April to October in the 2020 Dem Presidential primary, had a name people recognized. Still, of Ohio’s 88 counties, the statewide Democrats came out on top in just three of them: Athens (Ohio University), Cuyahoga (Cleveland) and Franklin (Columbus).

    And while we all talk about how much money every candidate and each side spent I tend to take that with a grain of salt. Nielsen tells us 50% of Americans have a DVR and 75% have a VOD service such as Netflix. That’s a whole lotta I-ain’t-watching-those-political-ads thing going on.

     

     

    Of note: Tim Ryan ran his campaign on a ‘Republican’ message (even agreeing with Trump on China and trade) and criticized both Pelosi and Biden.

    True but I don’t think that amounted to much.  Ryan voted 100% in line with Biden and Pilosi; a fact that Vance emphasized in many of his commercials.  

     

    • #20
  21. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Manny (View Comment):

    Ohio used to be a middle of the road state. What has caused it to go so red? All I know is, I want to move there!

    I think that Ohio is still middle of the road.  However the Democrats are so far Left, it only appears that Ohio is to the Right…

    • #21
  22. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    EJHill+ (View Comment):

    No statistical analysis can adequately explain the State of Ohio in general and the state of the two political parties in particular.

    At one time the GOP had a “murderer’s row” of candidates that rotated at the top of the GOP ticket. It consisted of George Voinovich, Mike DeWine, Bob Taft, Betty Montgomery and Kenneth Blackwell. They slipped in and out of the offices of Governor, Treasurer, Secretary of State, Attorney General and the US Senate almost seamlessly. And then in 2006 it all went to hell in a hand basket with the gubernatorial administration of Robert Alphonso Taft III.

    Taft was the great-grandson of the “big” Taft, and son of Senator Bob “Mr. Republican” Taft, Jr. His administration allowed various state agencies to invest in some unconventional GOP donor-run funds, including rare coins. It brought the GOP machine to its knees. He was lucky that he wasn’t impeached or sent to jail.

    It did open a door for the Democrats and they won statewide in 2007. Since then, outside of Sherrod Brown, not so much. Ted Strickland, the last Democrat governor, lost re-election to the son of a mailman and then got thumped by 20 points in a race for the Senate by Rob Portman. None of the Democrats who served statewide with Strickland has won again.

    So, while Republicans bitch and moan about “candidate quality” the last three Democrats to run for Governor has been Nan Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton who most Ohioans could not pick out of a police lineup, Richard Cordray who was Elizabeth Warren’s darling at the Consumer Protection Bureau, and Ed FitzGerald, a Cuyahoga County official caught at 4am in a downtown Cleveland parking lot with a woman who was not his wife. Cordray’s 47% was the best of the lot.

    At least Ryan, who lasted from April to October in the 2020 Dem Presidential primary, had a name people recognized. Still, of Ohio’s 88 counties, the statewide Democrats came out on top in just three of them: Athens (Ohio University), Cuyahoga (Cleveland) and Franklin (Columbus).

    And while we all talk about how much money every candidate and each side spent I tend to take that with a grain of salt. Nielsen tells us 50% of Americans have a DVR and 75% have a VOD service such as Netflix. That’s a whole lotta I-ain’t-watching-those-political-ads thing going on.

    That was an excellent overview of Ohio’s evolution in politics over the last 20 years!

     

    • #22
  23. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Freeven (View Comment):

    Kelly D Johnston:

    JD Vance owes his election to the US Senate from the Buckeye State to Donald Trump. Yes, of course, it was a majority of voters in Ohio who elected him. But the former president’s late endorsement in a crowded and competitive primary field that included 2018 GOP Senate nominee and former State Treasurer Josh Mandel was The Factor.

    Vance, meanwhile, underperformed the rest of the statewide GOP ticket in Ohio. As previously reported, incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine won by 25 points over his Democratic challenger. The weakest of the three Republicans running for State Supreme Court won by 11 points. Vance won over US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) by seven points.

    Isn’t your second paragraph at odds with your first? The polls I saw had Vance up by 10 points or more. Trump endorses him and he underperforms, not only with respect to the polls, but with respect to the rest of the Ohio candidates. I’m not seeing how Vance owes his election to Trump. What am I missing?

    I think you’ve got that right.  Vance underperformed compared to the rest of Ohio’s Republican candidates.  Part of  that however, is because the guy has never held office before.

     

    • #23
  24. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Manny (View Comment):

    Ohio used to be a middle of the road state. What has caused it to go so red? All I know is, I want to move there!

    If you do, come on over for dinner!  My wife is from your neck of the woods, and a damn Yankees fan.

    • #24
  25. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    I think Ohio was going to elect a Republican Senator no matter what. 

    During the primary season, a businessman named Mike Gibbons was leading the pack by a comfortable margin.  He had all the conservative bona fides right up and down the list.  However, he is kind of a bland personality.  He doesn’t have charisma, but probably was the most conservative candidate in the pack.  Vance had been eroding Gibbons’ lead and I think was nearly equal to him in the polls when Trump gave him his endorsement.

    Meanwhile, fellow senate candidate Josh Mandel (whom my wife and I know personally), came out as a fire-breathing MAGA Trump supporter, screaming about the stolen election at every opportunity, and physically confronting and threatening Gibbons onstage at a cringe inducing public  debate.  None of this behavior garnered him any significant support in the polls, even from Trump, as it was thought he was desperately vying for Trump’s endorsement.  Mandel languished mostly in 4th place despite the fact that he had the best name recognition, having been Treasurer of the State of Ohio.

    It does appear that Trump’s endorsement gave Vance just enough of a bump to put him over the edge in the primary, but it did not do much for him in the general election as evidenced by Kelly Johnston’s listing of state-wide races won handily by Republicans.  I think nearly any one of the other Republican candidates could have won this race, with or  without Trump’s endorsement.

    • #25
  26. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Kelly D Johnston

    Quoting J.d. Vance:

     

    There is a related structural problem, which is that higher propensity voters (suburban whites, especially) are just more and more Democratic. Meanwhile, a lot of the Trump base just doesn’t turn out in midterm elections. Again, this is not unique to Trump: these voters have always had substandard turnout numbers. But 20 years ago, when most of them voted for Democrats, that meant Republicans had a structural advantage in midterms. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. This problem is exacerbated by Democrats’ strong advantages in states that have expanded vote by mail.

    I was impressed by the  thoughtful remarks on the election by Vance, something you don’t often see from politicians!   The above paragraph caught my attention the most. 

    The fact is, perhaps as many as 20% of the people who voted for Trump last time, were recent Democrats who crossed over.  They made up for the large number of Republicans who didn’t vote for Trump.  While we welcome these Democrats into the camp, the truth is, I think, many of them don’t care about conservatism or republican values very much, they just like Trump’s bravado and a few blatant issues like building the wall and sticking it to China.

    It never occurred to me before, but a lot of these voters don’t follow much of the lesser races.  As Vance said, they don’t vote in mid-term elections very much.  Could that be a big factor why Republicans turned out in smaller numbers than we expected?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that it is not profitable to worship any politician, and a significant portion of Trump supporters worship “The Man” instead of worshiping conservative principles.   The 2022 mid-term could possibly be a negative result of that.

      

     

    • #26
  27. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    I live in PA and Vance’s take is spot on. The Democrat machine here is more organized and advanced than anywhere else. Pitt and Philly are vote machines that can literally manufacture votes by the tens of thousands. Throughout the rest of the state dozens of Democrat run schools exist less to educate than they do to provide millions of dollars in in-kind contributions to lefist candidates.

    The ads only have an effect if they are as lopsided as the Shapiro/Mastriano race. Otherwise the real impact is felt in turnout efforts.  

    Last week, no conservatives voted for Oz without holding their nose and aside from a large and passionate base, nobody knew Mastriano was even running. Thus, literally hundreds of thousands stayed home. Nobody liked the D candidates but the machine did its job. The populace of PA is deep red. If a candidate exites them, they will turn out. Trump proved that twice. If we can achieve what Vance is talking about, PA will never vote blue again.

    • #27
  28. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Kelly D Johnston

    Quoting J.d. Vance:

     

    There is a related structural problem, which is that higher propensity voters (suburban whites, especially) are just more and more Democratic. Meanwhile, a lot of the Trump base just doesn’t turn out in midterm elections. Again, this is not unique to Trump: these voters have always had substandard turnout numbers. But 20 years ago, when most of them voted for Democrats, that meant Republicans had a structural advantage in midterms. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. This problem is exacerbated by Democrats’ strong advantages in states that have expanded vote by mail.

    I was impressed by the thoughtful remarks on the election by Vance, something you don’t often see from politicians! The above paragraph caught my attention the most.

    The fact is, perhaps as many as 20% of the people who voted for Trump last time, were recent Democrats who crossed over. They made up for the large number of Republicans who didn’t vote for Trump. While we welcome these Democrats into the camp, the truth is, I think, many of them don’t care about conservatism or republican values very much, they just like Trump’s bravado and a few blatant issues like building the wall and sticking it to China.

    It never occurred to me before, but a lot of these voters don’t follow much of the lesser races. As Vance said, they don’t vote in mid-term elections very much. Could that be a big factor why Republicans turned out in smaller numbers than we expected? I don’t know. What I do know is that it is not profitable to worship any politician, and a significant portion of Trump supporters worship “The Man” instead of worshiping conservative principles. The 2022 mid-term could possibly be a negative result of that.

     

     

    We tend to think of down ballot candidates as benefiting from the coat tails of top of the ticket candidates.  We would be mistaken if we ignore how much an effective get out the vote  effort by a a down ballot candidate can give the top of the ticket candidate the margin necessary to win.  The bottom of the ballot candidate doesn’t even have to win, just lose by less than expected margin.  

    • #28
  29. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    I think Ohio was going to elect a Republican Senator no matter what.

    During the primary season, a businessman named Mike Gibbons was leading the pack by a comfortable margin. He had all the conservative bona fides right up and down the list. However, he is kind of a bland personality. He doesn’t have charisma, but probably was the most conservative candidate in the pack. Vance had been eroding Gibbons’ lead and I think was nearly equal to him in the polls when Trump gave him his endorsement.

    Meanwhile, fellow senate candidate Josh Mandel (whom my wife and I know personally), came out as a fire-breathing MAGA Trump supporter, screaming about the stolen election at every opportunity, and physically confronting and threatening Gibbons onstage at a cringe inducing public debate. None of this behavior garnered him any significant support in the polls, even from Trump, as it was thought he was desperately vying for Trump’s endorsement. Mandel languished mostly in 4th place despite the fact that he had the best name recognition, having been Treasurer of the State of Ohio.

    It does appear that Trump’s endorsement gave Vance just enough of a bump to put him over the edge in the primary, but it did not do much for him in the general election as evidenced by Kelly Johnston’s listing of state-wide races won handily by Republicans. I think nearly any one of the other Republican candidates could have won this race, with or without Trump’s endorsement.

    Pretty good synopsis of the race.  (I believe I wrote something about the (upcoming) senate race last year.) 

    I never could understand why Jane Timken and Gibbons started running their commercials so early in the campaign; it seemed like a waste of money.  For Gibbns’ part, his commercials were a bit stupid; always taking place in a locker room or a football field and ending them with Vince Lombardi quotes such as “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”. 

    As for Mandel, I had no use for him after he quit the race against Sherrod Brown in 2018.

    My favorite was always J.D.  I’m glad he came through and believe he’s going to represent Ohio well.

    • #29
  30. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    I never could understand why Jane Timken and Gibbons started running their commercials so early in the campaign; it seemed like a waste of money. For Gibbns’ part, his commercials were a bit stupid; always taking place in a locker room or a football field and ending them with Vince Lombardi quotes such as “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”

    I think I can explain the sports analogies.

    When I was a skinny 17 year-old teenage 132-pound high-school senior, I looked up from underneath my opponent on the wrestling mat.  I saw a slightly balding mustachioed wrestling coach sitting in a chair at the side of the mat, barking out orders to his wrestler to grind me into minced meat.  That was Gene Gibbons, the father of Mike Gibbons.  He was the most successful Cleveland High School Wrestling coach in the 1970’s (his guy that I was wrestling against was 4th in the State and he was far from the toughest wrestlers I faced that year!).   On top of that, Northeast Ohio was one of the strongest wrestling centers in the country at that time.  A team of their best wrestlers picked from different schools managed to win a couple individual matches against the Soviet Union’s Junior Olympic Team, while the Soviets toured the country completely shutting out most of the competition.

    I don’t know if Mike Gibbons wrestled or played in sports at all (he certainly doesn’t look like it, but ya never know!).  But his father was a minor wrestling legend in Cleveland.  Combine that with Congressman Jim Jordan, one of the most conservative voices in Ohio, who won the NCAA National Wrestling Championship by defeating in the final round, the blandly named “John Smith.”   Smith was perhaps the most successful wrestler in U.S. history and always regretted his fluke loss to Jordan.  I’m not surprised that Gibbons had affinity with the locker room atmosphere.

    • #30
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