Ohio Voters Reject Republican Attack on Democracy and Abortion Rights

i>Some 57% of Ohio voters refused to change the rules of the game on the eve of a referendum on abortion rights.

In American politics, it is not just the Donald Trump circus that matters. Since the Supreme Court opened the door to the criminalization of abortion in 2021, the issue is at the heart of partisan battles at the national level and in the states.

The opposition of a strong majority of Americans to restrictive policies pushed by Republicans is an essential factor that Democrats used to their advantage in 2022, and it is one they should count on again in the 2024 presidential election.

One example of this response occurred Tuesday during a special summer election in the key state of Ohio.

Abortion a Key Issue

In Ohio, a state that flipped to the Republican column during the 2016 presidential election, Republicans completely control the legislature. Partisan redistricting in 2022 effectively gave Republicans a solid majority of 67 seats out of 99 with 58% of the popular vote.

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the Republican majority in Ohio, like other Republican states, passed stringent laws on abortion and promised an eventual near-total ban.

In response, abortion rights groups proposed a constitutional amendment to the state constitution by referendum. The amendment, which will face a popular vote in November, would codify rights that have been in place since 1973. Polls show that support for this measure oscillates between 55% and 60% and includes a considerable number of Republican voters.

A Stealth Referendum

In an effort to derail the amendment, Republican officials were counting on the advantage that typically comes with low voter turnout in special summer elections to push through a change in the rules of the democratic game on the sly. This change aimed to set the threshold to pass a constitutional amendment by referendum at 60%, which would make it extremely difficult to pass such an amendment recognizing abortion rights.

The campaign has turned out to be a foretaste of the one in the fall, with strong financial support from national groups on both sides of the issue. Contrary to Republican expectations, the participation rate was surprisingly high for this type of election and the no vote won.

A Win for Democracy

Primarily, the takeaway from this election is that it is a win for democracy against those working to manipulate the institutions and the rules of the democratic game to their advantage.

This victory is particularly important because it fits within the framework of a reaction to the right’s desire to erase the protection, long taken for granted, that women have in making their own decisions on reproductive health.

This episode signals, as well, to President Joe Biden and the Democrats that from now until November 2024, it is in their interest to highlight issues that really matter to their voters, independents and moderate Republicans rather than get carried away with the circus surrounding Trump.

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About Reg Moss 120 Articles
Reg is a writer, teacher, and translator with an interest in social issues especially as pertains to education and matters of race, class, gender, immigration, etc.

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