Mounds of praise from left and right have been heaped upon Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine for following the lead of Wuhan, China, instead of the White House in his early response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This coronavirus, which first appeared in Wuhan in late December - if you can believe the communists - resulted in a near-total shutdown of some 57 million people. As news of the then-epidemic gained traction on this side of the world in January, some leading American scholars referred to the shutdown as “an excessive response” and said it would be patently unconstitutional in the United States.
On Feb. 26, as most Americans are quite aware - well, except those who digest only “alternative facts” - President Donald J. Trump assured the country that the coronavirus was “a little like the regular flu. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.” Two days later the president called the coronavirus a Democratic “hoax.”
Heaven forbid that we politicize this pandemic.
By mid-March, two months after COVID-19 began making headlines in this great country that claims to worship democracy but prefers tyranny of the minority with the Electoral College and voter suppression, Ohio reported 37 cases. That was enough for Gov. DeWine to look toward Beijing, not Washington, and order bars and restaurants to close their doors to the public. On March 16, mere hours before polling places were scheduled to open for the March 17 primary election, our praiseworthy governor spurned democracy and locked out Ohio voters.
Voters in three other populous states - Florida, Illinois and Arizona - did have their say that day, and they said emphatically that former Vice President Joe Biden should be the Democratic nominee for president. It took a few weeks to set in, but those voters convinced U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders to give up his futile quest for the nomination.
Some people say that denying Ohio voters their opportunity to participate in our beloved democracy on that day was no big deal. Mr. Biden was the shoo-in either way. Somehow, some way, Ohio citizens will get to vote eventually.
But what about the voters who cast early ballots or absentee ballots? Many of them now know that they wasted their votes on Mr. Sanders, but they don’t have an opportunity to cast new ballots. Some early voters probably chose Democratic primary ballots only because of the consequential choice they offered in the presidential primary. But now they might prefer to make their selections from among a strong slate of Republican candidates for state and local offices. Sorry, Charlie.
And what about the vast sums of money poured into advertising and promotions by candidates such as Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Timothy J. Grendell and state Rep. Diane V. Grendell specifically geared toward the March 17 primary? Will voters remember their messages when democracy eventually rolls around? Do the candidates need to raise more money to get the word out all over again?
For the record, maybe Gov. DeWine’s furloughed democracy saved some lives. Among the three states that did hold their primaries on March 17, Illinois, mostly due to metropolitan Chicago, as of April 12, had the highest death rate at 56.7 per million. But Ohio’s death rate of 21.6 per million was higher than Florida’s at 21.4 per million and Arizona’s at 15.8 per million.
On the other hand, recent unemployment filings showed Ohio leading the field at 19,161 per million, followed by Arizona at 18,108 per million, Illinois at 15,822 per million and Florida at 7,901 per million. Then again, Ohio job figures, as compared with the rest of the nation, were nothing to brag about for this governor or his predecessor.