Hillary Wins 2.9 Million More Votes but Trump Wins the Election; ProgressOhio Responds with “Banana Republic Report” to Help Us Track the Chaos
Hillary Clinton became the first woman nominated by a major party for President and she garnered nearly 55 million votes in the November election – nearly 3 million more than President-elect Donald Trump. He secured the presidency, however, by winning a majority of the Electoral College votes – results that prompted leaders in Ohio and some other states to call for reforms to the Electoral College system.
Despite Trump’s bragging, he has no mandate. A post-election Gallup Poll even showed that 55 percent of those surveyed view him unfavorably.
“Donald Trump’s rating is laughable when compared with the favorability ratings of past president-elects,’’ according to Salon. “After their elections, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama were all deemed more favorable than Trump by margins of 16, 17, and 26 points respectively.’’
Typically, a President’s favorability rating ticks up after inauguration day, but there is little about Trump that is typical.
The Washington Post explains why four of his atypical Cabinet nominees face tough confirmation hearings, even though Republicans control Congress.
To help Ohio better track Trump’s nominees, tweets, tantrums and first 100 days, ProgressOhio launched its Banana Republic Report.
Please check it out to learn more about the Labor Secretary nominee with a disdain for workers; the Education Secretary nominee with a history of undermining public schools; the Attorney General nominee once rejected for a federal judgeship amid concerns he’s a racist (the AG oversees civil rights); the Energy Secretary nominee, a man whose campaign for President included a proposal to abolish the Energy Department; and finally, the two former Goldman Sachs bankers and the sitting president of the Wall Street firm who are poised to take high positions in the administration despite the egregious role that Goldman Sachs played in the 2008 financial crisis that cost millions of Americans their homes and their jobs.
Policy Matters Ohio Shows We’re Creating Mostly Low-Wage Jobs; GOP Passess New Law to Block Local Governments From Raising Ohio $8.10-Per-Hour Minimum Wage
During his campaign for President, Gov. Kasich liked to talk of the “Ohio Miracle,’’ his catch phrase for his view of how he turned around Ohio. He has not. More recently, as state tax revenues fall short of Kasich administration projections, the governor has said he fears Ohio is poised to enter a recession. It’s not. A recession is defined by a decline in GDP in two successive quarters. According to the Cleveland Fed, our economy is chugging along with some sectors up a bit, some down. The reason Ohio’s revenues are down is because of huge tax cuts for the rich enacted by Kasich his Republican-controlled legislature.
In its State of Working of Ohio report released in September, Policy Matters Ohio noted this:
Ohio still has fewer jobs – 5.5 million – than it had prior to the early 2000s recession, when there were 5.625 million jobs in Ohio. Our growth trails that of the nation over almost any recent time period analyzed – since 2000, since 2005 when we slashed taxes, since 2007 when the recession started, or over the last year. We do especially poorly in public jobs: we’ve shed more than 17,000 state and local government jobs since the recession started in December 2007, leaving our communities with fewer teachers, safety workers and social workers.
Wages are behind in large part because our fastest growing sectors and our most common jobs are low wage. Of our thirteen most common occupations, only two pay more than 200 percent of the official poverty line for a family of three. Nine of these most common jobs pay less than $30,000 a year with full-time, year-round work. It’s no wonder families are struggling – the available jobs ensure that.
Plain Dealer columnist Brent Larkin thinks Kasich dropped the “recession” word to justify deep cuts he’ll propose when he unveils his next state budget in January. This has Larkin wondering if Ohio is the next Kansas:
Five years ago, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and his Republican-controlled legislature enacted massive tax cuts, promising to pay for those cuts by cutting the cost of government and growing the economy.
The plan failed. Instead of raising taxes, Kansas made deep cuts to vital areas of state government. Schools, children, universities and the elderly all got punished.
But the small state is still $350 million under water. And Brownback is now competing with New Jersey’s Chris Christie for the title of the nation’s most despised governor.
It’s unlikely to get that bad here.
But a budget that underfunds important state spending will likely speed the decline of a state already heading in the wrong direction.
While state government has been making it harder for struggling families, some local governments have been trying to raise the minimum wage. After decades of trumpeting the value of “local control,’’ the state legislature passed a new law that blocks any city or other local government from raising its own minimum wage above the state’s floor of $8.10 an hour.
In Ohio today, “local control’’ means “control the locals.’’
U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Right to Choose but Ohio Passes 18th New Abortion Restriction
Once again, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s right to an abortion when it tossed out Texas restrictions – championed as a way to improve women’s health – but ones with a history of actually hurting women. The decision was five to four. Although all five remain on the court today, Ohio legislators passed two new abortion restrictions. Outgoing Ohio Senate President Keith Faber cited Trump’s election as the reason legislators think each could survive a constitutional challenge.
Trump has said he will only nominate U.S. Supreme Court justices who want to overturn Roe v. Wade. He will get to appoint at least one justice and will fill the vacancy left by the Feb. 13 death of Antonin Scalia. Unprecedented obstruction from Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Cincinnati, blocked President Obama’s extremely qualified nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, from even getting a confirmation hearing for nine months.
Gov. John Kasich vetoed one of the new Ohio restriction, a ban on abortions after six-week gestation. A contingent of black women state legislators delivered powerful floor speeches against the bill. They received little media coverage but their remarks show why they are such valuable progressive voices in Ohio.
Kasich did sign into law a 20-week ban. The same Cincinnati woman who took part in last year’s press conference wrote a December guest column that explains her outrage over passage of the 20-week ban, which contains no exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomalies.
During his unsuccessful campaign for President, Kasich marketed himself as a moderate but those who know better pointed out that he’s an extremist who has closed half of the state’s clinics since becoming Ohio’s governor in 2011.
For a statewide look at how the Kasich administration has scaled back abortion rights, read NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio’s State of Choice report.
Along with signing a string of new restrictions, Kasich appointed Ohio Right to Life boss Mike Gonidakis to the State Medical Board of Ohio, a panel with the power to discipline abortion providers. Gonidakis has no medical training. He served as Board President in 2016.
ProgressOhio led unsuccessful efforts to force Gonidakis off the board, coordinating a letter urging Medical Board members to force him to step down and calling for the Ohio Ethics Commission to determine if Gonidakis’ roles as head of Ohio Right to Life and head of the Medical Board pose a conflict too great to be rectified.
The letter was signed by doctors, government watchdog groups and advocates for women. You can read some coverage here, an editorial supporting his removal here and a letter to the editor decrying his conflict here. Our request came after Gonidakis made it clear that he supported a complaint that Dayton Right to Life filed with the Medical Board against three abortion providers. Gonidakis reached this conclusion without hearing from anyone who had first-hand knowledge of the case and he put that conclusion in an email.
The Ohio Ethics Commission called our request “premature’’ because Gonidakis had not yet acted on the Medical Board complaint. He never had the chance. The complaint was so lacking in merit that it was dismissed at the investigator level and never made it to the Board.
A good year for charter school accountability: ECOT under Fire; Gulen Schools’ Conflicts Prompt Request for Auditor Probe; Sen. Brown Wants Billionaire Betsy to pay her $5.3M Ohio Fine
The year began on a high note when a law took effect in February that strengthened Ohio’s ability to police charter schools. Throughout this year, poor-performing charter schools lost other big fights in both courts of law and the court of public opinion.
In February, ProgressOhio showed how political leaders close to Lager steered millions in public money to enhance Lager’s IQ Innovations. The Kasich Administration picked IQ Innovations to provide online textbooks and other educational materials to schools and ordered that it be housed at OSU. Public records show that IQ Innovations consistently failed to deliver on the system’s promised functionality, so taxpayers got stuck paying more than $5 million to build, staff, oversee and investigate IQ Innovation’s improved – but still-flawed – distance learning clearinghouse that’s known as iLearnOhio.
You can read our report here. Soon after ProgressOhio released its finding, Ohio State ended its relationship with iLearnOhio.
Hope for additional reform in came May when the New York Times proved what we suspected: The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) is the worst school in America:
“Despite the huge number of graduates — this year, the school is on track to graduate 2,300 — more students drop out of the Electronic Classroom or fail to finish high school within four years than at any other school in the country, according to federal data. For every 100 students who graduate on time, 80 do not.”
Thanks to a scandal that forced new leadership at the Ohio Department of Education, an ODE audit determined that ECOT inflated its enrollment by about 9,000 students – findings that could require the school to repay the state about $60 million. ECOT has been challenging the findings in court – but hasn’t won yet.
As taxpayers and ECOT students suffered, some companies associated with ECOT founder Bill Lager flourished. The New York Times reported:
“For example, in the 2014 fiscal year, the last year for which federal tax filings were available, the school paid the companies associated with Mr. Lager nearly $23 million, or about one-fifth of the nearly $115 million in government funds it took in.”
Although ECOT founder Bill Lager continued to dole out campaign cash— just over $1 million was given to Ohio Republican candidates and officeholders since 2010— in October, the Dispatch reported significantly fewer “donations.” Of course, the chair of the Ohio House’s Education Committee Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) received the maximum allowed under law.
ProgressOhio teamed up with Innovation Ohio and the Ohio Education Association to examine how Ohio spent federal money intended to help high-performing charters. Instead, much of the money went to some of Ohio’s notoriously bad charters – and some even went to schools that never opened.
You can read more in Belly Up: A Review of Federal Charter School Grants.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown responded to the report by demanding better federal oversight of Ohio’s charter school sector. Brown is now leading the fight to force Trump’s nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, to pay $5.3 million in fines imposed on her political action committee (PAC) for campaign finance violations in Ohio eight years ago.
In October, ProgressOhio hosted a press conference to announce conflicts of interest at charter schools aligned with Fettulah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania. The findings have been referred to Ohio Auditor David Yost who has a history of cracking down on school misspending.
Gone but Not Forgotten
George Voinovich: Cleveland Mayor, Ohio Governor, U.S. Senator: July 15, 1936 – June 12, 2016
Nate Thurmond: Hall of Fame NBA center, including Cleveland Cavaliers: July 25, 1941 – July 16, 2016
Steve LaTourette: Lawyer, Prosecutor, Northeast Ohio congressman: July 22, 1954 – Aug. 3, 2016
David Horn: Farmer and conservationist, key leader in movement to end gerrymandering: June 29, 1933 – Aug. 26, 2016
John Glenn: Marine Corp Fighter Pilot, Astronaut, U.S. Senator: July 18, 1921 – Dec. 8, 2016,
Henry Heimlich: Chest surgeon, inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver: Feb. 3, 1920 – Dec. 17, 2016
AP Female Athlete of the Year: Ohio Native and Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Biles; Male Athlete of the Year: Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James
ABC News sums up Columbus-born Simone Biles’ honor nicely:
“Simone Biles tried to treat the 2016 Summer Olympics like just your average ordinary gymnastics meet. So what if the stage and the stakes were different?
The floor was still the floor. The vault still the vault. The uneven bars still uneven. The balance beam still a four-inch wide test of nerves.
And the 19-year-old with the electric smile and boundless talent was still the best in the world. Maybe the best of all-time.
Over the course of 10 days in August, the biggest meet of her life ended like pretty much all the others in the four years that came before it: with Biles standing atop the podium, a gold medal around her neck and the sport she’s redefining one boundary-pushing routine at a time staring up at her.”
AP explains its reasons for honoring Akron native LeBron James:
“James collected 24 first-place votes, beating out a pair of Olympic legends: Michael Phelps (16) and Usain Bolt (9), the fastest men in water and on land, respectively, who are not accustomed to finishing behind anyone.
Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, the National League MVP who led his team to its first World Series title since 1908, tied for fourth with Golden State star guard Stephen Curry, last year’s winner. Cristiano Ronaldo, Von Miller and Andy Murray also received votes.
James joined Michael Jordan as the only NBA players to win twice. Jordan won it three straight years from 1991 to 1994.”
As Gun Violence Soars, New Law Allows Guns in Day Care Centers, College Campuses, Airports
The year saw increasing gun violence. Some examples:
Cleveland is on course to set a record for the number of murders in the city — at least 134 of them this year, with firearms responsible for most of them. In central Ohio, hospitals are treating more young shooting victims. The two-year-son of a Cleveland cop died after shooting himself with his father’s service revolver. As Cincinnati enjoyed its annual riverfront fireworks, four people were shot the same night. At its annual convention, held this year in Cincinnati, the NAACP made addressing gun violence a major theme with a panel called Gun Violence in the African American Community. As Toledo prepared for Trick-or-Treat, a 3-year-old died after being shot by a 7-year-old. The Toledo Blade mapped out all homicides in the region and most were shot to death. There are still no known suspects in the execution-style shooting deaths of eight people in Pike County in April. One man died and three others were wounded in July after gunfire erupted during a vigil to remember an Akron man who was fatally shot. Akron police shot and killed a 61-year-man after he threatened to shoot police with an assault rifle. A Mansfield bar owner was found dead in August after being shot multiple times. In December, police found a Delaware couple shot dead from an apparent murder suicide. Shootings were the most common cause of domestic violence deaths this year. There were 135 police officers killed in the line of duty in 2016, more than half were killed by firearms.
A July survey by Public Policy Polling found 87% of Ohioans support background checks on all gun purchases, 83% support barring those on the Terror Watch List from buying guns and 51% want a ban on assault weapons.
Despite opposition from leading law enforcement groups and college educators, Gov. John Kasich signed a new law allowing concealed weapons on college campuses, in daycare centers and public areas of airport terminals.
PROTECT YOUR MOTHER
TPP Dead, Green Energy Benchmarks Resuscitated, New Help for Lead-Poisoned Water; Reality Deniers Take Over
After ProgressOhio led an armada of kayak-tivists paddling by Sen. Rob Portman’s house to protest his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the anti-worker, anti-planet trade deal also supported by President Obama was dealt a death blow by Donald Trump’s upset win over Hillary Clinton.
And in one of his final acts of 2016, Gov. John Kasich helped the environment and the economy when he vetoed a bill to extend a freeze on a law that requires Ohio utilities to buy more electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar power. The bill would have extended for two years a delay on the state’s requirement that utilities get 12.5% of their power from renewables by 2027, slowing development of the clean energy technologies that help bring good-paying green manufacturing jobs to Ohio.
Earlier in the year, the Ohio Environmental Council and other allies won passage of the strongest protections against lead in drinking water in the country. The new law requires the public to be notified within 2 days (down from the 60 days required under the old one) when tests show lead is present in drinking water.
Euphoria over these progressive victories for the planet is dampened by Trump and other GOP leaders’ denial of the broad scientific consensus that human activity is the primary cause of climate change.
Please join us in supporting Dan Rather’s effort to replace the term “climate change denier’’ with “reality denier.’’
Both Major Parties in Ohio Debating Need for Change: Dems Pondering Their Epic Losses, GOP Angry Their State Chair Dared to Criticize Donald
The year was disastrous for Ohio Democrats. How disastrous? A long memo sent to party leaders answers the question, in part, this way:
“When measured by the ten-percentage point difference between Clinton’s 51.6% to 43.5% popular vote loss to Trump here, and her 1.9%-point victory nationwide, it was the worst performance by a Democratic presidential nominee in Ohio in the 198-year history of the Democratic Party.‘’
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur told the Toledo Blade that she gave Hillary Clinton suggestions for a better economic message before she spoke to a group in Toledo but Mrs. Clinton ignored the advice. “She talked more about Warren Buffett. Who knows who that is? And she stood in the Amtrak station and did not talk about how her infrastructure bill would help renovate that station, renovate the water plant, save Lake Erie,” Kaptur said.
Despite the losses, Ohio Democrats note they had important local wins in places like Hamilton County, where Democrats will control the county commission for just the second time since 1962. Franklin County elected the first African-American commissioner in the county’s history and will have a new recorder, Danny O’Connor, who will be the youngest executive official in county history. Summit County elected the first woman county executive in the state.
And while the GOP won it all on the national stage, there is an effort underway to force out Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges and replace him with a Jane Timken – a key GOP activist and major donor from the Canton area who helped raise money for Trump.
According to The Plain Dealer, Gov. John Kasich remains committed to Borges, said that he has support of the party’s governing committee and has an “unparalleled record of winning.’’