Why Ohio Fell

Ohio’s Issue 1 was passed by Ohio voters.

Despite almost a year of sacrificial efforts by thousands of volunteers to educate voters about the extreme nature of this amendment, unlimited and unrestricted abortion is now part of the Ohio constitution.

Created Equal managed to directly reach over 750,000 voters at doorsteps and by phone. In doing so, we had meaningful conversations with tens of thousands of voters and exposed the truth about the radical abortion industry. We also funded several highly effective TV ads that exposed abortion to millions of Ohioans.

Sadly, the enemies of life are now emboldened to take their murderous agenda to up to a dozen states in 2024.

On today’s episode. Mark shares his special insights and lessons learned from the failed effort to defeat Issue 1.

The campaign is over, but the battle is not. We don’t have time to lick our wounds.

If abortion doesn’t stop, neither do we.

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The Mark Harrington Show is on Mark’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. Mark’s show is available on all the popular podcast platforms as well as on Mark’s flagship websites: MarkHarrington.org and MarkHarrington.TV


Mark Harrington (00:01):

Ohio’s issue one was approved by the voters. That means that abortion is now enshrined in the Ohio Constitution. We’ll talk about what went wrong today as I give you an after action report. So stick around Activist radio. The Mark Harrington show is brought to you by Created Equal, and you can go to our website CreatedEqual.org, find out more about our ministry, and you can also donate there by clicking on the donate link on the right side of the homepage. Also, the program is also podcasts all across the country, 24 7 365 on all the popular podcasting platforms. And be sure to follow me on social media. So folks, this is the program I was hoping I wasn’t going to have to do, and that’s the program talking about how we were defeated. That is issue one was approved by Ohio, Ohio voters yesterday, and it wasn’t even close friends.


I mean it was a blowout. Be honest, if you look at the Secretary of State’s website, it was 57% to 43%. That’s about 14 points difference. So this kind of lines up to the numbers that we saw in the special election in August. And so unfortunately we really haven’t gained much ground here. In fact, if you compare this to last year’s vote in Michigan, it was almost identical. So we thought we had some advantages in Ohio being it’s a red state, Donald Trump carried the state. We have the legislatures controlled by the Republican Party, the governor’s office Governor’s Mansion is controlled by Governor DeWine, a Republican. We thought we had some things moving in our favor here, but unfortunately those did not materialize. And so what I want to do, I’m going to spend some time today to give you some lessons learned. I’m not going to get into the political stuff per se in that I’m not going to dissect the numbers and get down into the weeds there.


That’s not what I do. We’re going to be talking about the cultural impacts, the messaging, what went right, what went wrong, and most of it went wrong. Honestly, this is going to be brutally honest. I am hoping that as you listen to the program or you’re watching it, that you take notes. Because what I’m trying to do here is warn the other states that are coming online here in 2024, and there could be up to 11 of them that if they don’t heeded the lessons learned in Ohio, if we don’t learn from our mistakes in Ohio, we are going to repeat this in state after state after state and I don’t know if I see a pathway to victory unless we change the way we go about this. So I’m going to share a little bit about that today and what I think are the lessons learned.


So let’s just jump right into it. One thing is clear, and of course if you’ve listened to me at any length, you understand where we come from here at Created Equal. And that is we are about changing the culture, the winning people to the pro-life view through public outreach on college and high school campuses in the public square targeting. That is, and that’s what we do because we understand that politics is actually downstream from culture. You have to change culture in order to change public policy. The laws follow a change in public policy. And so that’s why we dedicate ourselves here at Created Equal to Changing Hearts and Minds. The reason we got involved in issue one is because we were in a sense forced into it because we couldn’t sit on the sidelines and allow this to happen without our involvement. And so although we’re not a political organization, we got involved in politics this year because we had to.


It was imperative that we did, and I’m glad we did and I think we did a lot of good for the campaign. I’ll talk about that a little bit along here in the program, but let me just say this. I think we’re at a place in America where it reminds me of what was happening back in the Book of Judges where it says in Judges 2125 that in those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in their own eyes. And that’s where we are friends, just like there was no king in Israel and people just did what they wanted, what was right in their own eyes. We have no king in America. The law has been trampled underfoot. We don’t have a king in the true sense, of course, but we also don’t have a king, and that’s King Jesus, our country, our people do not follow King Jesus.


And we are increasingly becoming more secular over time, and as that happens, of course, people are just going to go after their own lusts, their own pursuits, personal pursuits and selfishness, and that’s where we are friends. I mean, that’s where we are. This vote tells that story. It was John Adams by the way, and if you would Mr. Producer bring that quote up. John Adams said this, and I think this bears true today in Ohio and across the country, but especially now with this vote. He said, our constitution was made only for I moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other, and that’s true. Our system of government was made for a religious people, a moral people, a good people, and when we cease to be good, we cannot live under the laws of the constitutional of the United States. The system is not built for a irreligious people, a non-religious people, an immoral people, but that’s where we are and we’ve turned democracy on its head.


Friends. Unfortunately in the state of Ohio, we saw that happen with issue one. We have a 50% plus one vote threshold. That’s all you have to get to amend our constitution. That’s crazy. It’s mob rule. Friends, 50% plus one is not hard to get on almost anything to amend a constitution. Unfortunately, we failed in trying to raise the threshold to 60% in August, and so if we would have, we would’ve prevailed. A lot of states have a 60% threshold, others have 50% plus one vote. Ohio is one of those. So anyway, that’s kind of where we’re at. We are a country that is unhinged and we’re heading at light speed over the cliff and this vote was an indication of that. So let me just get into some of these.


When it comes to culture, for the last several decades, we’ve been winning elections. We’ve been putting Republicans in the White House here and there. We’ve controlled either or both chambers of Congress. We’ve controlled a lot of the state houses, a lot of the governor’s offices, we’ve been winning elections, friends up until more recently with the overturning of Ro versus Wade where we’ve had these popular votes and constitutional amendments. We’ve been winning elections, but we’ve been losing the culture slowly but surely. We are losing the culture on abortion and a lot of other issues, and that was indication last night. 57% of Ohioans want abortion. Women want abortions. That’s what we have to take from this. That is the direction we’re heading, and until we get back to the business of changing culture, we’re going to continue to repeat this. Unfortunately, in other states, it’s been said that we’ve overturned Roe, but we did not overturn abortion.


And that is true. We celebrated versus Wade the overturning of Roe versus Wade as we should have because we’ve been working for that for almost 50 years. But once it was overturned, we were not prepared for what was on the other side. And as the pro-life movement celebrated for almost a full year with galas and other events, Rome was burning. America was on fire and moving in a direction that we were caught unaware of. In other words, we didn’t foresee this coming on the horizon. We were too busy celebrating unfortunately to prepare for it and therefore we’re oh for eight now. Oh for eight. So that’s just the bare facts. I mean, that’s the truth of the matter, and we need to come to grips with it, and that is we’re losing now. We’re losing elections not only just losing the culture, so we have to change the course of that.


The other thing is that this indirect approach to abortion is not a winner. I can say this I think pretty confidently that making the issue parental rights for an example as our main issue didn’t work. Now it might’ve moved some numbers on the margins, but you got to make it about abortion. I was very clear upfront with the coalition that it needed to be about that because that’s why we were all here. We wanted to outlaw abortion. We’re about protecting unborn babies. We didn’t get into this to protect women as much as we should be caring about women, that’s not why we’re in this. We’re in this to save babies and we better make it about abortion. We’re going to keep losing. We can’t just make it about these tangential issues like parental rights and health restrictions and regulations and this type of thing. We got to go to the heart of the matter and that we have to prove to the American people that abortion is an act of violence that kills a baby.


They need to see it, they need to understand it, and that’s how we need to be approaching it in the future if we can expect a different result. It’s been said before by me and others that I look at it this way that our outreach, the pro-life movements outreach to the culture is similar to trying to put enough drug into the system of America. In other words, to cure the patient. When you have a sick patient, what do they do? They take a drug and that drug will generally cure them if it gets into this bloodstream enough. Well, unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get enough drug into the bloodstream of American culture to cure it. The pro-life movement is marginalized. It’s being ignored. And when we are being in the debate, we’re talking about things that have little to do with abortion itself, with the killing of unborn babies.


And that’s got to change. We’ve got to figure out a way to deliver more drug to the American culture to cure it. Another issue that hurt us badly is that the heartbeat law that was put into effect for 82 days in the state of Ohio ended up in many of the pro-abortion ads. And in those ads, they would say that an extreme abortion ban doesn’t even have exceptions for rape and incest. And that by voting yes, you would put a stop to that extreme abortion ban. What happened is we were unprepared to respond to that ad and to that accusation, that issue or that that argument was left out there unopposed. The fact of the matter is, is that the so-called extreme abortion ban was a heartbeat law, and that heartbeat law would outlaw abortion at a detectable heartbeat, which could be as soon as six weeks, but could be a lot later.


It wasn’t a six week ban per se. It was a ban that would only protect a child at a detectable heartbeat. And the other side portrayed it as an extreme abortion ban, and we were unwilling or unprepared to respond to it unfortunately, and it was left unaddressed, and I think that hurt us. The other thing is national organizations, for the most part, not entirely with the exception of the Susan B. Anthony Group, and some others were almost completely AWOL in Ohio. They didn’t see it as a national referendum on abortion, which it was this vote, this constitutional amendment was the only one in all 50 states in 2023 here in Ohio. It was the only one. Now, in 24, there’s going to probably be up to 11 of these. So there was only one of these in the entire country, and yet most pro-life groups didn’t weigh in.


They didn’t speak out against it. They didn’t commit resources. That’s boots on the ground or funding to try to defeat it except for a few rare exceptions. And so I think that hurt us until we see these as a national referendum that we’re going to fight together, we’re going to continue to lose. In fact, I would submit to you when it comes to 2024, we need to pick one of these states if it’s possible, and put everything we’ve got in it so we get a win. We’ve learned a lot from Ohio, and hopefully what I’m telling you here on the program today is going to be used to benefit groups in other states who are going to be facing these constitutional amendments in 2024. But we need to pick a state and we need to make it our Waterloo. We need to go in there and put everything.


We’ve got to try to defeat these measures and come up with a win. The other thing is I think we wasted money on early ads. Now, again, I didn’t control that, but ads that are running in the spring I think are too early. I don’t think voters are even paying attention to the issue until it gets closer to the November election. I don’t think that was a good use of our financial resources. And also, we used ads for the special election, which of course in hindsight was wasted because we lost and we lost badly. And that really handicapped us when it came down to the final stretch in trying to keep ads on the air as we approached election day.


And then finally, I think the real death blow here, if you will, was the ad that they held off on until a week or so prior to the election that was, and we all knew it was coming. We all knew it was coming. We were all kind of shouting from the rooftops that this ad’s going to come. It’s going to be their final argument. It’s going to be their closing statement. And it was an ad that portrayed the story of that 10 year old rape victim who was taken over the border to Indiana to have an abortion because the heartbeat bill is in effect here in the state of Ohio for those 82 days. And in that bill, in that law, there is no exception for rape and incest. Now, there’s a whole bunch of backstory to that, but the bottom line is it they took that ad and they put it on TV about a week and a half prior to the election.


And unfortunately, even though we knew it was coming, we really didn’t have any response. That is the campaign. Now your radio activists here and created equal, got behind a response ad to that, and we think it was highly effective, but we weren’t unable to put enough money behind it and put it in front of the voters that needed to see it to really make an impact. Now, let me just say all of this. I mean, you combine all these things together. Would that have made up that 14 point deficit? I don’t know. Probably not. But these are some of the lessons learned that if we improve in each one of these areas, then we can get closer to victory in some of these states. A couple other things real fast, the ads in my view, were not all that effective. I think the parental rights ads didn’t go so well.


I don’t think it was believable. I don’t think Ohioans believed that parental rights are going to be wiped out for minor children who might be thinking about getting an abortion. I just don’t know if that Now, we know at the doors that 70% of the folks, if that was explained to them, they would vote no on the issue once it was explained to ’em. But I think generally speaking, that did not persuade enough voters. I think we started a little too late with the door-to-Door campaign for an example. I think we should have been doing that sooner. We still reached a whole bunch of voters. In fact, our organization helped run or did basically run the statewide volunteer door-to-door operation. And in so doing, in just seven weeks, we knocked on over 120,000 doors. We called over 180, I think it was individuals, voters by phone.


And we texted another a hundred thousand or so. So we were well over half a million contacts just here at Created Equal by employing our volunteer door to door and phone banking, texting efforts. So those are a couple of things. Just finally then the church, I don’t know about the numbers yet. I sure we’ll get more later, but it seems to me that if the church would’ve come out, we could win every time we would win. If we could get individuals to claim the name of Jesus Christ to come out and vote to be good stewards of their nation and their state and vote based on biblical values, we could win these elections. But too often Christians stay home and they don’t vote for whatever reason. And I think one of those reasons is we have a vacuum in the pulpits of our churches where pastors aren’t speaking on these topics for various reasons.


And I submit to you, and I said this in one of my Instagram posts, that if you attend a church that did not speak out against issue one and exort you to vote no, then you need to leave that church. If you’re in the state of Ohio, find another one because a pastor that won’t speak on this is not going to speak on anything. This was it, friends. This was a big deal, and if pastors didn’t speak on it, you need to find another church. And I submit to you that pastor, if pastor did not speak on this, there’s blood on his hands because that contributed to the defeat. No question about it. We lose the battle funding every single time, and that’s not going to change more than likely. But at least we could close that gap and we have to figure out a way to do it.


We can’t just say that we’re out funded three to one or two to one. We’re going to keep losing these battles for money or fundraising more than likely, but we’ve got to close the gap and we can’t keep using that as an excuse. It’s an easy one to make. We often do lose when it comes to the funding most often, but that is not the reason why we lost. We lost because our messaging was off and we were unable to turn out our voters to the degree we needed to. And we didn’t make a compelling case that abortion is an act of violence. It kills a baby, and therefore it should be outlawed, and it’s okay and good that the state legislature weighs in on it, and a constitutional amendment that would enshrine abortion to the very moment of birth needed rejected. So to sum it up, we need to begin to treat these constitutional amendments like a land at war.


And I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again. We are, we need to pick our battles. We’ve got maybe 11 of these in 2024. We need to pick the ones where we can win or at least have a really good shot at winning and pour all of our resources into those states to get a victory. And that means that we have to possibly move some resources out of areas where we’ve lost or where you might consider us occupied territory. And we need to go to places where we have a fighting chance to sustain those states that are already pro-life, keeping them pro-life. And then we need to be unashamed in our defense of the unborn child, and even when it comes to rape and incest exceptions. So-called, we need to be willing to make the case that whether the child is born through an act of love or an act of violence, they deserve the right to life just like anyone else.


It was Mark Twain who once said, a lie can travel halfway around the world. Why? The truth is still putting on its shoes. So we expect the other side to lie. Why? Because they kill children and those who kill children, it’s not too hard to understand why they would also lie. But there are good liars, and a lot of people buy into that lie because it feeds their selfishness. We need to understand that the truth often doesn’t even choose tied before the lie has made it halfway around the world. We have to respond to the attacks of the other side as quickly as we can so we can keep that from resonating with those who we’re trying to communicate with. So this is my wrap up, if you will. It’s my lessons learned. It’s my after action report. I’m continuing to try to digest and evaluate what happened here in Ohio.


Hopefully this is helpful to you as you try to process the issue as well. That is the passage of issue one here in the state of Ohio, which now has enshrined in our constitution abortion up to the very moment of birth. And more than likely, it’ll wipe out all of the pro-life laws that have been put on the books in the last 20 years or so. So let me leave you with a word of hope. I told our team last night when the results came in that there’s going to be a time for mourning, as Ecclesiastes three says. And there’s also a time for grieving, and this is the time for that. But that time needs to end because we serve an awesome God and we need to have the hope of Jesus Christ because through him, we are more than conquerors, and we understand that the gospel of Christ gives us hope and gives the world hope.


All those who oppose us, all those who were dancing in the streets and celebrating the passage of issue one, have no hope in eternity. All they have is here and right now, and last night, it’s probably as good as it gets for them. Now, I know it’s difficult for us right now, but we need to pick ourselves up and get back to work because we have a lot of work to do, and the children deserve our defense. So you’ve been listening to your radio activists here on the Mark Harrington show. I hope that this has been helpful to you and trying to lay out some lessons learned on issue one here in Ohio. God bless you. God bless America and remember America to bless God.

Narrator (25:31):

You’ve been listening to Mark Harrington, your radio activist. For more information on how to make a difference for the cause of life, liberty and justice, go to CreatedEqual.org. To follow Mark, go to MarkHarringtonShow.com. Be sure to tune in next time for your marching orders in the culture war.