In this week’s episode of Snollygoster, Ohio’s politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss the tumultuous year that was 2020. From COVID-19 to the election to a $60 million bribery scandal to the protests over the killing of George Floyd, this has certainly been a year we will never forget.
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In this week’s episode:
No one could have predicted how a virus would shape politics in 2020. It started with Gov. Mike DeWine’s controversial shutdown of spectator events at the Arnold Fitness Expo. Over the next several months, state leaders had to make many other tough dicisions that inspired protests and politcal infighting.
A canceled election, stay-at-home orders, schools closures, stimulus checks, curfews and mask mandates made for a contentious year, especially for Republicans who didn’t agree with each other on the best course of action.
A Virtual Campaign
Ohio’s election season got off to a rocky start with a confusing primary election day that was seemingly canceled at the last minute. As the pandemic became just the lastest issue to divide the nation, some candidiates had to shift to online events, while others defied CDC recomendations at campaign rallies.
With no clear winner in the presidential race on Election Night, the nation waited days for the Associated Press to declare a winner, and even longer for a decisive Electoral College win by Joe Biden. President Trump’s refusal to concedeand the filing of multiple legal cases (almost all of which were rejected by courts) has created an incredibly slow trasition of power at the White House.
One clear takeaway, however, is that with a clear Trump win in Ohio, it is increasingly hard to consider the Buckeye State a swing state anymore.
Defund Or Reform?
The Minneapolis Police killing of George Floyd ignited a firestorm of protests around the country over racial inequities in policing. While some called for more accountability, others want to defund police departments and reallocate resources to help struggling communities.
Some reforms followed in Columbus and in cties around the country. But with some recent high-profile police killings in Columbus and the federal Justice Department declining to bring charges against the officer who killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, this is clearly an issue that’s not going away.
Ohio’s Nuclear Bailout Scandal
The bailout of two nuclear power plants, also known as House Bill 6, was seven years in the making. It couldn’t pass until Larry Householder retook the Speaker’s gavel.
It was only after the bill’s passage that details about a massive bribery scheme were revealed. One might think that would mean HB6 would surely be repealed, but some Republican lawmakers believe that, despite the law being tainted by multiple indictments, saving some nuclear and coal plants makes sense.
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in late December that the fees would not be immediately collected from Ohio ratepayers, but the rest of the law remains in place.
Snollygoster Of the Year
Behind that “aw shucks” demeanor, Gov. Mike DeWine is a pretty shrewd politician. For the past 10 months, he has used his political talents to aggressively take on COVID-19 and largely close down the state.
Despite taking the opposite approach of President Trump, DeWine was careful never to openly criticize the president, though many of Trump supporters are no longer fans of the governor.
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