Blackwell on Raging Issue 1 Debate: ‘We Have to Suit Up, and We Have to Fight Back’
With a little over 20 days left on the board, both sides are burning up the Ohio airwaves, desperate to win over voters on the hottest election topic of 2023: Issue 1. For weeks, the Left has been blanketing the state with apocalyptic messages about the amendment that would make it harder to change the Buckeyes’ constitution. One editorial writer, the only one to have a pro-Issue 1 story published this year in Cleveland’s biggest newspaper (compared to 36 opposed), said he can’t blame readers for “concluding that Issue 1’s passage would mean the end of democracy in our state, the draining of Lake Erie, plagues of frogs, flies, and mosquitoes, and quite likely an unbroken string of Ohio States losses to Michigan …”
If you’ve listened to the outside special interest groups, the ones fronting the money for this hysterical “No on 1” campaign, you’ll hear that raising the threshold for amendments from 50% to 60% of the vote is “anti-democratic,” “morally bankrupt,” “brazen power grab,” a “spineless move,” a “rigged deal,” a “sinister attempt to hoodwink voters,” a “naked attack on democracy” that is “plundering voters’ rights” through “craven calculations” and “breathtaking hypocrisy.” “Sinister.” A “sham.” Its supporters are “power-mad,” “lightweight lapdogs” who are “plundering voters’ rights” and “torching democracy in this state,” Ted Diadiun writes.
It is, proponents argue, none of those things. “Right now,” Protect Women Ohio explains, “Ohio’s constitution has a giant ‘FOR SALE’ sign on it. Out-of-state special interest groups think they can drop in and buy their way into our founding document.” With enough cash and infrastructure, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, George Soros’s network — anyone — can infiltrate the state and find enough signatures in the cities and support in the election to change the constitution. Because right now, all it takes is 50% of the vote.
That’s been a tremendous vulnerability for Ohio, former state secretary of state Ken Blackwell pointed out on Monday’s “Washington Watch.” In 245 years, the U.S. Constitution, he said, has only been changed 27 times. Compare that to Ohio’s founding document, which has been altered a whopping 172 times since 1851. “It’s just far too easy to amend.” And big money, Big Business interests know it.
Under Issue 1, not only do groups have to find more consensus in the state for their proposals, but they also have to go door-to-door in every county to collect signatures — not just to the cities that are more friendly to their radical agenda like Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. “It allows for reasoned debate and vigorous debate,” Blackwell argued, “and it doesn’t invite changing the Constitution … or the state on whimsy.”
Another lie the Left keeps repeating is that Ohioans will lose their voice on important issues. If Issue 1 had passed years ago, they claim things like civil rights and women’s suffrage would have never become law. Baloney. “They all likely would be law today — but through the legislative process or citizen-initiated statutes or referendums, rather than constitutional amendments,” Diadiun writes.
And besides, not everything that people debate belongs in the constitution. As Aaron Baer, president of the state’s Center for Christian Virtue (CCV), explains, nothing about this amendment would prevent Ohioans from making or affecting public policy. “You could still change state law with 50% of the vote. This is saying if you’re changing our founding document, our most important foundational document, the state constitution, you need to get to 60% [of the vote].”
You wouldn’t know that from the Left’s messaging. The commercials fronted by radical abortion groups and other extremists veer from the tame (“it’s the end of democracy as we know it”) to the downright disgusting. In one ad, Democrats actually show a couple getting frisky in bed until a Republican congressman magically appears, interrupts them, and announces they can’t use a condom. “Now that we’re in charge,” he tells them, “we’re banning birth control.” The tagline is, “Keep Republicans out of your bedroom. Vote no on August 8.”
That’s just one of the absurd tactics Democrats are using to keep the Ohio constitution elastic. If they succeed, Blackwell warns, “The radical Left would be able to change the constitution and [entirely] nullify parental rights.” He’s referring to a November ballot initiative that would add “bodily autonomy” to the state constitution on everything from late-term abortion (which undermines the state’s pro-life laws) to gender transitions for minors.
If Issue 1 fails on August 8, the president’s party will be able to kick down the door to every anti-parent, pro-transgender, pro-abortion policy that the conservative legislature opposes. Frankly, Baer said, locking down the constitution “should have been done a long time ago. But really, everyone saw this [November] initiative coming … and so it just set a fire ablaze to say, ‘We need to go forward with this.’”
Right now in the state of Ohio, Blackwell explained, “if a minor wants to get aspirin at school, the minor has to have parental [consent]. … Well, if the November amendment is passed, youngster[s] could have life-threatening [gender mutilation surgeries] without even notifying the[ir] parents. And so whether you’re talking about an abortion, or you’re talking about having a sex change operation … it would be done without parental notification. This to me sounds like a community going off track if we would allow that to happen.”
One vote, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins echoed, “would essentially wipe away all the pro-life measures that have been advanced in the state of Ohio, and parental rights, and who knows what else they might try to get onto the ballot in coming years.”
“This is a battle royal,” Blackwell urged, “and we have to suit up — and we have to fight back.”
Paid for by Family Research Council (frc.org) and not authorized by any campaign or ballot issue committee.
Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.