by Harlan Hill
Due to their Republican leadership, many great states like Florida are open for business while successfully managing and mitigating the COVID-19 crisis. The same cannot be said for Ohio: you’d be forgiven for mistaking its leadership as Liberal.
Ohio is not open, as its Republican-in-name-only Governor Mike DeWine has shut the state to small businesses, restaurants, family celebrations, and more. In doing so, the already precarious state economy is faltering.
And Republicans should especially worry: the GOP’s hold on the state looks likely to suffer as a result. Please don’t just take my word for it; look at the data.
Recent polling reveals DeWine is massively underwater with Republican voters. This isn’t a new phenomenon for the “RINO,” but it’s remarkably worse than ever before.
In this survey of likely Ohio Republican primary voters from December 2020, just 14 percent of voters say Ohio is on the right track, while an eye-watering 72 percent say Ohio is heading in the wrong direction.
And who is to blame? Mike DeWine.
A mere 16 percent of Ohio Republicans approve of DeWine’s handling of COVID-19. And his approval rating – an abysmal 17 percent is barely better. Therefore, less than one in five people approve of DeWine and see him as unfit to lead – especially in these challenging times.
Only 9 percent feel that DeWine’s lockdown orders and restriction are effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19 – an exceptionally dark number given the toll these measures are taking on the lives of Ohioans. What’s more, only 6 percent feel “very confident” that he’ll be able to lead us out of this economic disaster that he in part created.
But we can’t let DeWine get away with blaming his embarrassingly low approval rating and lack of faith and support among Ohio Republicans on COVID-19. In fact, DeWine, has turned his back on Republican primary voters on just about every major issue we care about.
Under his leadership, in 2019, Ohio had the 43rd worst job-growth rate in the United States. Ohio only created 5,600 non-farm jobs in 2019. That’s under 500 jobs per month. Sounds like a Democrat.
DeWine’s mishandling of Medicaid is on par with his botched COVID-19 response. According to his own budget roughly half of Ohio’s entire annual budget goes to Medicaid and the outcomes are poor. Sounds like a Democrat.
DeWine has an abysmal record on gun rights. He repeatedly threatened to veto gun legislation that did not include mandatory universal background checks and so-called “red flag” law. Sounds like a Democrat.
Right before the pandemic, DeWine infamously invited refugees to Ohio at taxpayers’ expense. Sounds like a Democrat.
Perhaps most famously, DeWine said, “[President Trump] started a fire that threatened to burn down our democracy.” Sounds like a Democrat.
No wonder he is polling with Republicans is poor.
Meanwhile, Republican leaders like Kristi Noem and Ron DeSantis – who have met the demands of the COVID-19 crisis while still prioritizing their voters’ rights, jobs, and businesses – have seen their stars rise. In contrast, DeWine is a sinking ship – and Republicans shouldn’t go down with him.
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Harlan Hill is president of the Logan Circle Group, the author of They’re Not Listening: How The Elites Created the National Populist Revolution and an advisory board member for the Trump-Pence 2020 re-election campaign.