If you're a political scientist anywhere in the country, last night's election in the 12th congressional district of Ohio was one for the textbooks. Heck, even if you don't consider politics your trade of choice and just fancy yourself a novice politico, the race between Republican Troy Balderson and relative newcomer Democrat Danny O'Connor gave everyone what could be an important prophetic picture of what the November elections could mean for President Trump's agenda.
There's no question that, once again, the Buckeye State was a bellwether. This district in particular had been held for decades by Republicans, yet was also a swing presidential district throughout recent cycles -- with voters going for candidate Mitt Romney in 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016. This had all the makings for a major upset for the GOP and a gloomy forecast for the party later this year, and as a result, many suspect the party of Trump will go down in flames.
If you have been watching cable news and reading papers such as the New York Times, you have seen that the mainstream media can hardly contain its glee over the potential that this time, finally, a blow to the Trump agenda and the man himself had come knocking at the door. In the days leading up to the election, the polls did not look good for Balderson. And Trump's late insertion into the race and travel to the state had all the makings for a massive smack in the teeth.
Yet as the dust settles this morning, by all appearances it looks as though Republicans will hold the seat until 2019. At least, there is an eerie quiet today from the same mainstream press that so desperately wanted this win.
I find it simultaneously hilarious and ironic that the so-called independent news industry is palpably groaning with regret and lament that "their side" didn't win last night. Not all those in the mainstream media are liberal Democrats. However, they are rabid Trump-haters, and that is more dangerous.
Time and again, we've seen this hatred of the president manifest itself not only in the slanted coverage of these mainstream news outlets, but also in the personal attacks the journalists feel they can level against the president and others in his administration. What's worse, I sense, is how personally offended these reporters allow themselves to become in the face of criticism from the podium in the White House poolroom.
Why the thin skin? Why this very evident need to respond with equal venom? What is gained by doing that? And how is the public served with "all the news that is fit to print" and unbiased, straight up the middle journalism?
No, the race in Ohio was less about Republican versus Democrat and more about press versus Trump. And for another day at least, the president has managed to keep his opponents at bay. That's sad for democracy, because Americans deserve a free and fair press that covers the facts and leaves the opinions (and emotions) to others.