The headline makes a bold claim, but Cincinnati casts a footprint far beyond its boundaries. Cincinnati’s nine city council members are collectively one of the more progressive legislative bodies in the U.S., yet seated in the conservative heart of Ohio. In spite of Detroit’s bad example – unfunded pensions, excessive employees per capita and allegiance to union leaders, Cincinnati Council is following their bankrupt rust belt neighbor over the proverbial cliff. It would be easy to do what Americans have always done, vote with their feet and residents of this city have being doing exactly that. Both Indiana and Kentucky offer great employment and housing options for Cincy expats. In addition, taxpayers can relocate to several solvent surrounding Ohio counties. So, another great historic city, “The Queen City of the West” falls into decay and despair as productive people move on – that is becoming old news, right? Well, Cincinnati City Council played a large role in pushing 36,000 residents to more hospitable locales. Those residents are the lion’s share of the 5.1 percent loss of population in Hamilton County since 2001.
Most of the lamentable spending decisions emanate from a voting bloc of 6 and sometimes 7 Council members. Fiscally responsible Republicans face a major battle to oust sitting libs in a city that voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2012, even when you discount those who voted six times. Aside from the deficit trajectory of a city that dropped under 300K residents, less than the 1880′s. Hamilton County is, or was, the fiscal conservative anchor of America’s perpetual swing state. Democrats are secretly thrilled to see red state types leaving the city and county. Revenue may drop, but their progressive, increasingly dependent voter demographics improve–yes, just like Detroit.
The footprint and background mentioned above denotes a clear domino effect. Connect the dots and see where bad city governance can take the United States. In November 2013, all nine Cincinnati city council seats are contested. The difference is this election provides a four-year term on city council. If voters reelect a progressive majority of 6 or 7 incumbents, the number of workers, residents and businesses leaving the city and the county will accelerate as the productive and entrepreneurial follow their predecessors to neighboring states – no surprise that the majority of those leaving would tend to be Republican voters. Ohio’s elected officials in both parties have lacked fiscal restraint, but Cincinnati’s generation of liberal dominance has served as a primer on how not to govern. So, the question is how does this loss of conservative leaning voters effect Ohio and the U.S.
Ohio struggles to remain a red state. It went for Obama in 2012 and alternates between Democrats and Republicans in the Governor’s mansion and state offices. The fate of Ohio rises and falls with conservative voter turnout in Southwest Ohio counties and especially the voters of Hamilton County. We must attribute a part of the 2012 Presidential race results to about 50,000 people fleeing Cincinnati and the county between 2008 and 2012. In 2016 and beyond, a loss of tens of thousands more from the city and consequently, the surrounding county assures that Ohio will become and remain a “Blue State.” Ohio’s electoral votes then fall to Democrat candidates going forward.
Is it a stretch to make these connections? Some may argue that it is more complicated than this scenario, but I think it’s logical and expresses basic human nature. There are a few fiscally responsible candidates trying to break the chain of liberal dominance, but their road is long and resources limited. Consider the consequences and, if possible, offer a helping hand.