Unfortunately, Dennis Kucinich was unable to secure the Democratic nomination for governor on Tuesday. It was a longshot for a lifelong progressive who’s been bullied by his own party for decades. I really believed his bold platform would inspire disenfranchised progressives to get out and vote. Turns out money, and the support of the corporate-owned media wins out over an actual platform.
Dennis has been fighting for his constituents his entire life – a rare trait in a politician, especially one with national exposure. It’s so easy to succumb to the corporate interests that have infected our political process and lined our politicians’ pockets with unimaginable amounts of money. We unfortunately saw that in Barack Obama. We continue to see it in the so-called progressive democrats that accept corporate donations and legislate to benefit their wealthy donors, not their constituents who are barely able to afford rent.
This campaign’s slogan is Power To We The People – a platform designed around conversations with the people of Ohio. I had an opportunity to speak with Dennis about predatory private student loans, and he shared with me his plan to get our generation out of student debt. His determination to get the people of Ohio out from under the thumb of the big banks confirmed in my mind that this is a man of the people, not another shill for the banks, for the arms dealers, for big pharma, for the private prison industry, or for the oil companies. That’s why it’s so easy for me to vouch for him.
I understand how cringe-y Facebook politics can be. I feel gross every time I post something that’s not just a sarcastic jab at something I hate – this post, for example.
But over the past 24 hours I’ve had friends tell me that they went out and voted for Dennis because of conversations we’ve had and information I’ve shared about his platform. When they were presented with his bold vision for Ohio sans the condescending corporatist slant being pushed by major news media, they could look beyond the flaws of the candidate (both fabricated and legitimate). I didn’t feel gross sharing this stuff because it’s not just Dennis’ platform – it’s our platform. I’m thrilled that I was able to convince people to vote in a primary election where they otherwise might have never given Kucinich a second thought. I’m thrilled I was able to convince a few friends to join our small group of Hamilton County volunteers to get out the vote.
That is the power of a people-centric campaign. That is the power of talking to your friends about what you believe in and why you believe in it instead of having polite conversations that don’t risk upsetting anybody. Political bubbles are real, and they’re harming discourse. Turn off the cable news and cancel your subscription to corporate-owned news sites. Talk to people you disagree with – they are not your enemy. The enemy is the billionaire class spending a fortune keeping us freaked out about Russian hackers and crisis actors instead of whether or not we get to have affordable healthcare.
This shit matters. This isn’t left vs. right. This isn’t team red vs team blue. This is the obscenely wealthy vs everybody else. And until recently they’ve been able to dictate what things we deserve to have, and what conversations we’re allowed to have. We’ve caught onto their game, so they invent narratives and repeat them ad nauseam to distract us. Kucinich has been staunchly anti-war even when illegally invading Iraq was oh-so-popular in 2003. After a thorough spinning and stretching of the facts, he’s been smeared as pro-genocide in 2018 despite his consistent anti-war and anti-gun stances. The party and media establishment – from Cincinnati Enquirer, to NPR, to HuffPo, to New York Times – shamelessly latched onto this false narrative and ran with it to a primary victory for their favored candidate.
Dennis gave us something to vote for, not some spooky other to vote against. And that’s exactly what the rest of this gubernatorial campaign will look like: “the other guy is bad and scary so vote for our guy because he’s less bad and less scary!” I succumbed to that vote-out-of-fear mindset in 2016. I will not do it again.
I’m proud to support Dennis Kucinich and Tara Samples and I believe they are the right ones to lead Ohio forward. But with this ticket eliminated from the race, my vote is TBD. If Richard Cordray wants it, he’s going to have to come and get it.