Nov 14, 2023
With a few vital exceptions across America, the 2023 election was scheduled to deal with local government. Tip O’Neill famously coined the phrase, “all politics is local.” Oh, if the former Speaker of the House, who held the gavel for virtually all of the 1980’s, could see the America we are living in today.
O’Neill’s iconic statement still rings true more often than not. Maybe. Sometimes. However, there is no question that our neighboring states have turned Indiana into a political island. And when I think of another island to which Indiana might compare, I conclude we are less like Maui or Mackinac, and more like Gilligan’s. Island politics are absolutely local.
Ohio really made a statement last week on two issues that are the polar opposite of where Indiana is, because, you know, Hoosiers’ and Ohioans’ sharply diverge on lots of basics. Actually, I contend that if people of each state traded their sports teams’ gear with those of the other, no one outside of the region would even notice.
The voters to our east voted to enshrine the right to abortion care in the Ohio Constitution, and to statutorily legalize recreational use of marijuana. Both of the separate votes to approve each measure won by nearly fourteen points. Two landslides. No surprise.
Why not? The entire region sees these policies through a similar lens. That’s why Illinois and Michigan already allow both things. Wisconsin’s new supreme court is headed that way on abortion. These are the states I name when someone asks me to define the Midwest.
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