Cincinnati, OH

Survivor: Cincinnati Political Series

The Cincinnati Post
As Cincinnati voters prepared for a political race, an episode of Survivor broke out.The Cincinnati Post, 2021

If your head is swimming because you don't know what slate you are supposed to be backing for city council - you're not alone. With over 30 candidates running, nobody really knows which, if any, endorsed slate is going to serve your political interests. However, we can see little tribes separating into alliances, more like an episode of Survivor than Cincinnati politics. It's hard to tell which ones should have a seat on the council or who should get the idol and which ones should be snuffed out by voters.

With the big changes in the endorsement process for the Democratic party, the Charter Party going off the wall, and Republicans throwing in brinkmanship, a whole lot of people really just don't know what tribe they belong to.

Well, we are going to make it even harder. But, hold that thought for a minute.

We started asking questions when we saw clumps of candidates, seemingly, unaffiliated banning together: passing out each others' literature, sharing fundraisers, promoting each other - all the hallmarks of a well-run political organization, but there didn't seem to be one. That, or we were observing some version of political survivor. It made one wonder what was going on. It wasn't either of the 2 big parties, Republicans or Democrats. It wasn't the 2 Green Party candidates. It seemed it was those passed over by Republicans, Democrats, and even the Charter Party. What's usually a pretty clear game plan with just 2 tribes, with Chaterites joining the Democrats and Libertarians joining the Republicans, now we had 4 tribes competing for 9 city idols.

And, it wasn't even the 4 tribes we usually have. (You have no clue who the fourth team is, do you? Well... wait for it.)

The Republican Party has 4 candidates on their ticket for council. What can we say? "Ya gotta give 'em credit for running". They'll probably pull out a couple of seats if Triantafilou can get out the vote. Thanks to Pastor and Sittenfeld, 2 of them got a jump start in name recognition - but, not much else. Brinkman's Issue 3 stunt blew up in his face and just made the Republicans look bitter, desperate, and a bit incompetent. Nothing like a worn-out, good ole COAST tactic to get attention and give Brinkman enough free publicity that he might think he find the immunity idol and slide his way into city hall.

It appears their objective is merely a "spoiler" role because there's no way anyone thought Issue 3 could carry any candidate into office but Brinkman. Typical stunt for COAST. They think petty knife fights on the political stage wins races. That hasn't happened in years. COAST, for all intents and purposes, is as defunct as their state paperwork. There's no energy, no ideas, and no real platform except, "Stop the corruption." (Yawn.) It doesn't hold a candle to the upstate mess with the GOP selling all of us out for First Energy. Is Brinkman even telling voters why he took First Energy money? That's just the pot calling the kettle black. People see through the clutched pearls act.

The Democratic Party threw a real monkey-wrench into the election by forbidding candidates from having dual endorsements. That's the kind of thing that should have been thought through more thoroughly. It put a lot of people in a bad position. It prevented their candidates, this year, from leveraging the Charter endorsement. The other requirements, for fund sharing and ticket support, seemed to formalize the winning strategy that made the party so successful in the last election. But, when you boot the working dogs from that election off the ticket in time for endorsements, you may have just forfeited the game. Generally, the Democrats' candidates got a nice bump from the Charterites. Now, they are running against themselves.

But, no, it wasn't the Charter Party putting together a coalition, either. Their endorsements are so all-over-the-place, they're politically pointless. What credibility do they have when they put Liz Keating, Cam Hardy, and Kevin Flynn on the same ticket?n They have nothing in common politically. Last I checked, this is about political platforms, not a popularity contest. What is their slogan, "these candidates won't get indicted"? They endorsed 2 of the 3 indicted last council race, so they really aren't the best judge of character in that regard. The Charter Party took a u-turn in their political relevance in the year of corruption by creating a divisive slate of candidates. Even Murray Seasongood, himself, wouldn't be able to make heads or tails out of that slate. Sometimes less is more. Having a full slate isn't giving voters much guidance when there's no political continuity.

Another "party" came out with endorsements recently and picked up the candidates most of us know - at least those who aren't currently holding office. The underdogs in this council race who have a chance were more than happy to join forces, support each other, and exercise the strategy employed during the last election to try to commandeer a couple seats on city council.

This rag-tag group of rejected power-houses was pulled together by Tina Bates of the 513 Impact Coalition with Our Revolution Ohio. Working with Our Revolution Ohio, (O.R.), Bates provided these misfit candidates the opportunity to unite under a common banner, with a shared political platform, and financial support. The most important asset is their united front supporting and promoting each other. The candidates brought the energy, work ethic, and decades of experience together to create a slate of candidates that is formidable and job-ready. Not just names we all know from all the right circles, but experienced advocates with long histories of documented public service in the trenches.

These candidates had to complete in-depth questionnaires, a test of loyalty to the average working families' needs and those underserved. Candidates were interviewed by state and local activists and fact-checked. They had to agree to a system of accountability, unlike endorsed candidates for the major parties, who, once elected answer to no one until the next election. They are provided in-depth training and support to promote their common causes like adequate healthcare, a living wage, and the right to vote. OR endorsed candidates are continually assessed to assure they are representing the platform - not just their political careers or their campaign coffers.

Two of the "biggest names" on the OR slate, aside from Aftab Pureval, are Brian Garry and Michelle Dillingham. If those names don't ring a bell - it's time to catch up. Also endorsed are Jaime Castle and Evan Holt. OR, Ohio and 513 Impact Coalition just recently threw their support behind 3 more candidates: Kurt Grossman for city council, Monica Bowles for NWLSD BOE, and Megan Dougherty for Springfield Township trustee.

Don't underestimate these underdog candidates. In 2016, with the power of OR behind them, "Of the 106 candidates and 34 ballot initiatives Our Revolution supported, 58 candidates and 23 ballot initiatives won in 2016." Over half their candidates won on a progressive platform that delivers what the average working family needs.

For a full list of all candidates running for Cincinnati City Council, look here.

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