The 50% Rule

Liberal elites

Mandatory bully pulpit training for our youth

We had a rally to repeal SB 5 last night. SB5 is now Issue 2 on the ballot. That’s the union-busting law Governor Kasich maneuvered through the Ohio statehouse.

First we set a date and find a location. This time, we reserved a covered picnic area at the county fairgrounds. We have an email list of about 60 people. I email those 60 people with the invitation. I don’t find email to be particularly effective for turning people out here, so I then send those 60 an invitation in the mail. I then add about 40 others who are on one list or another. They don’t have internet access or don’t use a computer at all. I send them an invitation too.

At this point, I have a dispute with the local Democrats. They always insist we purchase space in the local newspaper to run an ad for any event. I object to this, because the local newspaper runs what are essentially ads for GOP and Tea Party events for free. This past year the newspaper ran a front-page announcement of an upcoming Tea Party event as news. I’ve been around and around with this newspaper, and I have just given up. The last time I spoke with any of them was November of 2010, where I argued that in the interest of good government alone they should offer us comparable coverage, because every single elected individual at the county level is a Republican and 90% of them run unopposed. A competition based argument, one I thought might appeal to a blatantly conservative newspaper. No dice.

Shortly after I start this fight, I give in and we buy the ad but I do complain about it a lot. I think I’m making progress. Wearing them down. Any year now, I’ll prevail.

We like to have a meal at these things, so we then plan that. This year, we had brats and hotdogs and potluck sides. We have a local Democrat who is a DJ, so he sets his outfit up: music and a microphone. He donates this service. I then find a speaker. This year I invited a We Are Ohio rep and he attended.

We ask for a free will donation to cover costs, and people are always generous. A good turn out is 50%, and we hit that this time, because about 50 people showed up. They all ate and drank and listened to the speakers and the music.

48 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    Oh sure. Your meet-up had like PICTURES and stuff. Honestly I think we all just got too busy to talking and drinking and eating to think about actual picture taking. Although there were some other tourists taking a picture of the sign of the restaurant while we were eating. I tapped SoBeale on the shoulder and suggested she should be doing stuff like that. That’s about as close as we got.

  2. 2
    Kay says:


    Thanks. You should probably know I could plan a party like this in my sleep at this point, but thanks.
    The trick is to invite people, then plan, because then there’s no going back.

  3. 3
    Kay says:


    I saw it in comments! I was very excited for you!

    Seriously. The Minnesota one was fun. Nice people. I’m glad you went to the trouble.

  4. 4
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I’m pretty sure I already know the answer to this, Kay, but did the local newspaper send someone to cover your event as NEWS?

  5. 5
    kay says:


    No, but I won’t call them. I had this ridiculous conversation, at work, on election day with their reporter that left me all agitated and stomping around my office, which I don’t need. He called to get my comment on the “record turn out” (not true) and I disputed that phrase. I’m not going to “comment” when they’re setting it up like that. We never got past my initial rant.

    So I can’t do it. I can’t deal with them. Someone else will have to call them.

  6. 6
    VidaLoca says:

    They all ate and drank and listened to the speakers and the music. [the end]

    Kay, just when you’re getting to the juicy parts… you stop and leave us hanging. (I really enjoy reading your posts because they’re always fact-based, speak directly to first-hand experience, and avoid hyperbole. So please don’t consider giving up your day job to take up a career writing pr0n because you just don’t have what it takes!)

    Seriously — what was the vibe like? You’re in a pretty conservative area of the state, so it seems like 50 people at an event like this is a pretty respectable turnout. Even in a lot of liberal areas it would be respectable. So were they fired up? Ready to jump on the Repeal-SB5 bandwagon? Or just blase about the issue?

  7. 7
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Kay, you, and your fellow activists in Ohio, are an inspiration.

    Up against the wall, Faux Nooze governor!

  8. 8
    kay says:


    Well, they’re fired up, but they may not be representative, honestly. This is an odd corner of the state. It’s wildly Republican, but (still) heavily unionized (compared to the rest of the country). Manufacturing.
    The median income here is only 32k, so a public work force with a decent wage base are absolutely crucial to a middle class, small business survival, etc. I think there is a recognition of that fact.
    BUT. It’s a big, populous state. I’m always reluctant to speak for the whole place.
    But here, last night, yeah, they’re still fired up. Honestly? There’s a lot of risk in a repeal. The whole campaign up to this point was run well, so I’m just going along at this point. They’ve done a good job. Will it be enough? I don’t know.

  9. 9
    kay says:


    My own take on organizing is simple, and I made it up, so it may or may not be in the Official Handbook. I look for new people. We had 4. Two couples I have never seen before. One couple came because they’re directly affected, and the other came because they are (private sector) union retirees who feel strongly about collective bargaining. The older couple were very well-informed. They’re clearly following it daily.

  10. 10
    VidaLoca says:


    Well, OK — nobody ever knows what’s going to happen with these things and inflating one’s expectations up to unreasonable levels makes the inevitable defeats harder to take. BUT this is the first time since the right-wing counter-revolution really started on a roll, that white working-class people in large numbers have started to stand up and push back. The day has to be coming when they start to realize that the leaders they’ve been trusting for the last 30 years or so have been selling them out. Win or lose on this particular campaign, that’s kind of a big deal.

    On another topic — I note your “They’ve done a good job.” Am I right to assume “they” are WeAreOhio? What’s your relationship with (and more generally, opinion of) them, if I may ask?

  11. 11
    RandyH says:


    From South Park Movie:

    Cartman: Tell ’em we’ll have punch and pie.
    Kyle: We’re not gonna have punch and pie!
    Cartman: More people will come if they think we have punch and pie!

    (later, at the meeting)

    Boy: Uh, we were to understand there’d be pie and punch?
    Kyle: There isn’t any.
    Boy: Oh. [leaves with another kid]

    I was led to believe that a keg was involved. Is this not true?

    But really. Call it a Liberal Keg Party (just like High School – bring your like-minded friends!) and maybe it would be easier.

  12. 12
    Dan says:

    Thanks for the pics and the writeup Kay. It’s good to hear about how you’re trying to deal with the local paper, too – that’s the kind of detail folks have to deal with no matter where they are. Even hashing through frustration like this is useful; it doesn’t have to lead to a silver bullet solution.

  13. 13
    Kay says:


    Well, OK —nobody ever knows what’s going to happen with these things and inflating one’s expectations up to unreasonable levels makes the inevitable defeats harder to take.

    If I had some unique insight, I would tell you, but this has been odd. It’s almost underground. The petition process was quiet, but determined, you know what I mean? I had these quiet sort of grim conversations. On the up side, that felt authentic. Not a lot of screaming and yelling, but a lot of people really committed to getting the signatures in on time.

    And, yes, I do mean We Are Ohio did a good job. They’re an issue-based group, so non-partisan, and here, the Labor Council (a group of union members) did the oversight work for the petition process. It was well-organized. A pleasure to work with them, really. No warring factions or ego.

    One thing I did hear last night was some dismay that We Are Ohio are non-partisan, because the truth is this is a GOP-only bill. Democrats object to We Are Ohio focusing on the ISSUE rather than the GOP. I see that. It’s a GOP bill. Hence, Republicans should own it.

    But that’s a tactical decision the union folks made that I agree with. They believe a partisan identifier harms their larger message, which is “collective bargaining” and “fairness”. I think that’s true. I see their side of it. They want to win on the broad issue more than they want to promote Democrats versus Republicans. I think that’s understandable.

    The (successful) minimum wage ballot initiative was the same way. Non-partisan. People voted on “fairness”. What’s not to like about that :)

  14. 14
    aimai says:

    Kay, you are such an inspiration to me! I’m going to bookmark this post and use it to help me organize things this fall if, g-d willing, Elizabeth Warren officially gets in.


  15. 15
    RandyH says:

    The blockquotes don’t work quite right at this site. I just had to race to fix my last comment. Over and over until it looked okay.

  16. 16
    Lysana says:

    Glad to see the organizing going on. And what great smiles on those “liberal elite!” Arugula must be good for the teeth.

  17. 17
    Kay says:


    I love her. I’ll tell my Elizabeth Warren story again. There I was, taking a “lunchtime bankruptcy course” (horrible idea, don’t ever do it) and I was given materials, most of which were ridiculously pro-lender. Which is odd, because the instructor was an actual bankruptcy trustee, who was not actually biased, and a decent instructor. Some libertarian put this package together behind his back.
    But I’m pissed off and feeling put-upon (and hungry) and I then came on Elizabeth Warren’s piece in the packet on the (then-new) bankruptcy bill and fell madly in love.
    I also like her for jumping in such a tough race. He’s going to be hard to beat, what with his manliness and all.

  18. 18
    RandyH says:


    I fell in love with Elizabeth Warren at about the same time – the Bankruptcy Bill. Josh Marshall gave her a special site at TPM for just that issue and I read every bit of it religiously. I thought this discreet Harvard professor, amazing person is going to be really big one day…

  19. 19
    VidaLoca says:


    I had these quiet sort of grim conversations.

    Yeah I had a few of those too. People were and are pissed. And scared. A lot of conversations with teachers who had this kind of deer-in-the-headlights look, they couldn’t believe what was happening. Not that I blame them.

    It’s almost underground.

    Yeah. Knock on the doors. Get the names. Knock on more doors. Get more names. That changed once the recall elections started, then it got very public and also very partisan, but there was this long underground phase at first.

  20. 20
    Yutsano says:


    I’m glad you went to the trouble.

    If this was trouble then I’ll gladly be put out like this again. CaseyL has stories about invertebrates that made the meet-up worth it for that alone. :)

  21. 21
    JPL says:

    Kay, It looks like a fun time was had by all. Your posts have given some of us southerners hope that sanity can rule. A fifty percent turnout is great.

  22. 22
    evap says:

    Keep up the good work! I just made a small contribution to We Are Ohio. Since I live in a deep-blue district of deep-red Georgia, I like to spend my money helping out in “swing” states.

  23. 23
    JPL says:

    OT…according to bbc

    Al-Jazeera TV is reporting that Col Muammar Gaddafi’s personal security team have surrendered and disarmed.

    I’ll post this on the Libya thread also

  24. 24
    kay says:


    I knew it was going to get brutal in Wisconsin, and I had some sympathy for you-all. It was hostile as hell in Ohio in 2004, personally, between people, and it really was draining. The fact is, I have to work and live with conservatives, and the Bush operation was just divide and conquer. Us. They were conquering all of us. It sucks, at the end of the day, that it has to come to all-out warfare. One would hope we could fucking evolve, at some point, and make a reasonable deal without all this burned ground.
    But it’s not possible. They want the whole thing. They don’t even want workers at the table. They don’t recognize “a table”.

  25. 25
    Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937 says:

    Nice. I live in a similar area. The Dems and allies have picnics and ten dollar spaghetti dinners at the Knights of Columbus building. The Repubs always have their get togethers at the local country club. charge fifty bucks, and have the gall to call them rallies.

  26. 26

    oops wrong thread.

    those liberal elites sure can run an endoctrination camp.

  27. 27
    joel hanes, sp4 says:

    Wisconsin’s Johnsonville Sausage company, which makes perfectly adequate sausages, is however a supporter of Wisconsin’s odious Governor Walker and his policies.

    I urge all Democrats to avoid their products, and to write them a letter explaining why.

    Johnsonville Sausage
    PO Box 906
    Sheboygan Falls, WI 53085

  28. 28
    gnomedad says:


    This past year the newspaper ran a front-page announcement of an upcoming Tea Party event as news.

    Maybe you could get connected with some alternative or online media such as (I’m fairly impressed with their offering in my community).

  29. 29
    fuckwit says:

    That grim determination is definitely a good thing. It means people are serious. It means this is not a game.

    Or, in keeping with the BJ tradition of song lyric quoting:

    This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no fooling around.

    It’s not a casual thing, it’s not a pie-in-the-sky thing, and people are fighting not because they like fighting, or find politics interestnig or fun, but because they have to do this. Also, the grimness usually comes from knowing that the odds are very much stacked against them, but they have no choice but to fight anyway. That bodes well for winning, actually.

    Think: the British during WWII, the Russians during WWiI, hell, even Americans during WWII. That kind of fighting against all odds, not with enthusiasm or optimism but with grim determination, because you have no choice but to fight, is a good indication of a win in the makings… eventually.

  30. 30
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:


    So. Am I to understand you *don’t* want anthrax with your tire rims? And I thought they were making such a reasonable offer, too.

  31. 31
    RandyH says:

    @joel hanes, sp4:

    That Johnsonville Sausage news is really unfortunate. Companies like that should not take political sides on anything. It’s just bad for business because no matter what side you take, you’re alienating half of the population. I’m not a big fan of sausage myself but my dad absolutely loves their Bratwurst, as do many people that I have known over the years.

    I will write a letter.

  32. 32
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @JPL: Following up on JPL and also posted in the libya thread:
    Baghdad Bob 2.0 is on Sky TV right now. Live stream.

  33. 33
    cintibud says:

    Kay, what part of Ohio are you in? As my name suggests, I’m in Cincinnati and am surrounded by Tea party types at work. My neighborhood is itself is pretty blue at least.

  34. 34
    RandyH says:


    Do we all know what brands are owned by Koch Industries? In addition to being the largest privately-owned oil company, they also own many brand names. Americans pay close attention to the Invista and Georgia Pacific brands.

    Antron Carpet Fiber
    Stainmaster Carpet

    Quilted Northern
    Platinum Plywood

    International Brands:
    Demak Up
    Nouvelle Recycling

  35. 35
    VidaLoca says:


    But it’s not possible. They want the whole thing. They don’t even want workers at the table. They don’t recognize “a table”.

    It’s us or them. Simple as that. They rule, or we do; the days when there was some kind of “middle ground” have ended. Now, any time I hear the word “bipartisan” I think BOHICA.


  36. 36
    RandyH says:



    That’s a new acronym for me. Please elaborate.

  37. 37
    VidaLoca says:


    “Bend Over: Here It Comes Again”

  38. 38
    Sharl says:

    Wonderful post, Kay (as usual). Grim, but down-to-earth, to-the-point, and even somewhat hopeful.
    Thank you.

  39. 39
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Thanks, kay, for fighting the good fight, and reminding us with these posts that it can be done. King John is obviously worried, since he now wants to “negotiate.”

  40. 40
    debbie says:

    Talk about media bias: There was a report on my local news (central Ohio) that support for SB5 was already weakening: down to 50% from 55%. Unbelievable.

  41. 41
    Kathleen says:

    @cintibud: Hi, cintibud! I’m in Cincinnati, too, in the city (close to downtown). I was just thinking it would be fun to have a Cincinnati/Ohio Meetup. Seems like there are a few Juicers from the area. And I’m so thrilled to be using the “Reply” button for the first time!!!!

  42. 42
    Dww44 says:

    @RandyH: As will I, write a letter to the sausage making company. They do a pretty good business here in this red red Southern state in our Kroger stores.

  43. 43
    RandyH says:


    My letter:

    To whom it may concern:

    I have been a loyal customer of yours for many years. My family absolutely loves your Bratwurst and we babrbecue it (an microwave the pre-cooked stuff) regularly.

    However, it has come to my attention that your company supported Governor Scott Walker and his advocacy of destroyiong government unions lately. This is an unacceptable position for me or anyone in my family to support. We just can’t understand how a good corporate citizen such as yourselves could take sides on public issues such as this.

    It really makes no sense that you would do so because it is terrible for business. We are polarized enough already as a nation, politically. Why would you take sides and provide financuial assistance to either side in the matter? Please explain this to me because this is absolutely stupid and you should fail Business 101 for even thinking of doing something so dumb. So whoever your executive committee and Board of Directors are, they really ought to be replaced for utter incompetance.

    In the meantime, WE expect an apology and you should know that until the hard-working union laborers of America get such an apology, I will refrain from buying any of your products.

    You are hearing from little ol’ me today but trust me there are millions more out here in America who are now learning of your position on labor-related matters right about now who will not bother to write. But they know to look for another acceptable brand of sausage. It’s a shame it has to be this way, but you’ve really crossed the line for us.

    Good luck in your future endeavors.

  44. 44
    RandyH says:

    Some typos above. They won’t make it into the printed letter…

    Randy +3

  45. 45
    SuzieC says:

    “Seriously—what was the vibe like? You’re in a pretty conservative area of the state, so it seems like 50 people at an event like this is a pretty respectable turnout. Even in a lot of liberal areas it would be respectable. So were they fired up? Ready to jump on the Repeal-SB5 bandwagon? Or just blase about the issue?”

    Kay–I would also love to know what the vibe was like. But to the original poster, Columbus/Franklin County is a blue oasis in Ohio. I’ve lived here since 1977, and it was originally 100% Republican. Then came busing, and white conservatives moved out to the suburbs. Eventually, Franklin County became very Dem and went for Obama by like 20%. Most local elected officials are now Dems.
    In reaction. the local rag known as the Columbus Dispatch has gone hard right and lost subscibers by the many.


  46. 46
    kay says:



    I think it’s believable, that support is waning. Kasich is making PR moves to pretend he’s ready to compromise, anger fades, etc.
    From my perspective, honestly, it doesn’t matter. I was not optimistic about the chance of success getting in, and that didn’t change anything I, personally, did. I’ll stick with it to the end regardless, so while it would be fab if it was polling at 70% or something, the polling doesn’t change anything I, personally, will do or not do. I would do the same things polling at 50% that I would do at 70%, you know what I mean?
    So that’s why it doesn’t matter. Once I’m in, I’m in.
    I can’t (won’t) get out, because I already decided it was worthwhile on the merits, which is why I started helping in the first place :)

  47. 47
    kay says:


    Kay—I would also love to know what the vibe was like

    Okay, I’ll try again. The vibe from union members is very supportive. They feel under siege. The vibe from ordinary Democrats or liberals is one of supporting union members.
    That has to do with relationships, though. These people know each other (if only slightly) and tend to stick together. Union members are the most active Democrats here, not all union members are active Democrats, but most of the active Democrats are union members, and they have supported “us” (non-union people) on issues that don’t affect them directly, so they have that goodwill in the bank to draw on.
    An example. We have a very active Democrat who works for a private college. She is not a member of a public union and (truth be told) seems a little resentful of public union member benefits. But she’s supporting this because she’s a liberal Democrat and union members have supported liberal Democrats on the social issues she cares about. So, it’s a relationship. She’s backing them because they have backed “her”. Like that.

  48. 48
    cintibud says:

    @Kathleen: Hi Kathleen, I’d be all for a Cincinnati area meetup myself. Let’s keep our ears open.

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