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Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown to Face Tough Ohio Race Against MAGA GOPer Bernie Moreno

Demagogue Donald’s Stranglehold on GOP Continues—Bernie Moreno Wins Buckeye State Primary    March 31, 2024

     

        Since at least 2015, the GOP from top down has been taken over “lock, stock, and barrel,” by Demagogue Donald. It has become a cult where “Team Red” worshippers bow down in fealty to whatever Donald says and does with almost no opposition. And anyone who thinks that Trump is losing his stranglehold over the Republican Party is living in an alternate universe. Look at the latest evidence. On March 19, 2024, Ohio State GOPers gave Trump-backed candidate Bernie Moreno victory in a hard-fought and nasty GOP U.S. Senate primary (AP, 3/19/24).  He will now face Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown in what will probably be a tough re-election for “Team Blue” in a “Red”-trending state. Who is  Bernie Moreno?

          Bogota, Columbia native Bernardo (Bernie) Moreno Jr. (57) is the son of a physician who held high-ranking positions in the Columbian government. When Moreno was 5, his wealthy and well-connected Columbian family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Moreno became a U.S. citizen at age 18 (cleveland.com/news, Tobias, A., 10/15/23). He attended the University of Michigan before taking a job at General Motors. After taking the GM job, Moreno moved to Boston, MA to become the general manager at a Saturn automobile dealership (Allard, S., clevescene.com/news, 10/10/18, White, C., 5/01/15, cbtnews.com). Moreno moved to Ohio in 2005 and bought his first car dealership, a Mercedes-Benz one in North Olmsted. In 2019, Moreno began to sell a number of his dealerships to focus on his new blockchain—based technology company, “Ownum.” He is also the president of the Collection Auto Group, a car dealership company (cleveland.com, Schoenberger, R., 12/24/11, cleveland.com, Bamforth, E., 4/04/19, wiki). Moreno’s brother, Luis Alberto Moreno was a former Columbian Ambassador to the United States (Tobias, cleveland.com, 10/15/23).

 

             In October, 2019, Moreno was appointed to the board of trustees for the MetroHealth System. In March, 2020, while still a MetroHealth trustee, Moreno faced a social media firestorm for calling to reopen the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He questioned public health measures in place during that period, as did many other GOPers including Demagogue Donald (See WKYC, Naymik, M., 3/24/20).

            Serious controversies continued to dog Moreno even before he won the 2024 GOP Senate nomination. In January, 2024, it was revealed that Moreno had settled over a dozen wage theft lawsuits in the months before he launched his Senate campaign. Those settlements came after a jury ordered Moreno to pay over $400,000 to two former employees at his Massachusetts dealership for failing to pay overtime in accordance with that state’s labor laws. While facing these lawsuits, Moreno admitted in a deposition that he had shredded documents containing information potentially relevant to the case, even though he had been instructed to preserve records. For this document shredding, Moreno drew a rebuke from a state judge (Metzger, B., 1/19/24, businessinsider.com). Moreno’s daughter, Emily, married to OH GOP Congressmember Max Miller, who currently represents the Buckeye 7th Congressional District, launched the “Donald Daters” in October, 2018. The “Donald Daters” is a dating app for Trump supporters. Bernie Moreno financially backed this app. On launch day, this app leaked 1,600 users’ personal information, private messages, and access tokens. Access tokens can be used to take over accounts.  A French security researcher made this discovery and shared it with TechCrunch. The “Donald Daters” app was discontinued later that year (techcrunch.com, 10/15/18). IMHO, Moreno’s role in backing this app does not showcase his ability to handle issues of greater import that he would  face daily should he win a U.S. Senate seat.

 

           Moreno defines himself as a “right-wing populist,” like Trump. Moreno runs like he is an “outsider” yelling that his Democratic opponent Sen. Sherrod Brown is an evil “insider.”  Some outsider! Moreno is your typical GOPer. He did it the good “old fashioned” Republican way. He, like many of his “Team Red” gang, is a self-made millionaire who now has decided that getting into politics would be “fun.” He additionally has congressional connections through marriage and international ties via his father and brother. Moreno is acting like an Ohio version of S. Carolina GOP Senator Lindsey Graham. Graham, remember, initially was hostile to Demagogue Donald. Graham had called Donald a “kook” and “unfit” for office when Trump ran in 2016. Graham, however, transformed himself into Trump’s “big time” best buddy (Cohen & Cook 2022 Political Almanac). Moreno, previously described Trump as a “lunatic invading the Republican Party.” He initially stated he could not support a Republican party led by “that maniac” but later moved towards supporting Donald (nbcnews.com, Gomez, H., 4/13/21). And you can bet that Moreno, like Graham, is always looking at his strong “Deep Red” voter base.  And should Moreno win a Senate seat, he will not deviate from the Trump party line one bit to prevent his rabid “Red Buckeye” base from turning on him. Graham had a composite 9% Liberal v. 91% Conservative score in the 2019-2020 Almanac ratings (Cohen & Cook 2022). Count on Mid-Westerner Moreno to be right up there with Southerner Graham.  

 

           And here is where Moreno now stands on key major issues. He opposes abortion. He describes himself as “Absolute pro-life. No exceptions.” He additionally supports a 15 week ban on abortions (Valentine, J., americanjournalnews.com, 3/07/24, Gomez, H., nbcnews.com, 2/23/24). Moreno’s rigid anti-abortion stand flies in the face of Buckeye voters who in 2023 strongly supported a state constitutional amendment to protect access to this procedure (kos.com, 3/19/24). Before running for the Senate, Moreno supported LGBTQ rights His business even sponsored Cleveland and Akron’s hosting of the 2014 Gay Games. Moreno noted that his oldest son was gay. Now, as he runs for the Senate, he claimed that LGBTQ rights activists were advancing a “radical” agenda of “indoctrination (apnews.com, 3/14/24).” His son’s sexual identification suddenly means absolutely nothing to Moreno.

 

          Trump not only endorsed Moreno. He traveled to OH the weekend before the primary to push Moreno to victory.  In 2022, Trump’s endorsement of J.D. Vance gave him victory in the GOP primary and in the general election when he defeated Dem. Tim Ryan in the Senate race to replace Republican Rob Portman. In 2024, the OH GOP “establishment,” including former GOP Senator Rob Portman and current GOP Governor Mike DeWine, endorsed GOP state Sen. Matt Dolan, but Donald’s endorsement of Moreno meant far more to the GOP primary electorate (axios.com, Allard & Buchanan). And filthy rich Moreno personally loaned his primary campaign $1.2 million (axios.com, Allard, S. & Buchanan, T., 3/20/24).  At his victory party, Moreno talked Trump-Speak. Moreno bluntly stated about Democrat Sherrod Brown, “We have an opportunity now to retire the old ‘commie (nytimes.com, Weisman, J., 3/22/24).’” With 96% of the votes counted, Moreno clobbered his closest competitor, Matt Dolan by 17.6 percentage points, 50.5% v. 32.9% (nbcnews.com/politics, 3/19/24 election results).

 

            Meet Sherrod Brown, Moreno’s opponent in the general election. Third-term U.S. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown (71) is OH’s senior Senator. Brown is a blunt-talking populist. He can bridge the party’s progressive and centrist wings (See Cohen & Cook 2022). Brown’s rhetoric can sound biting, but his personal style remains cheerful and informal. He dresses like the “average Joe,” or “average Brown.” Besides wearing American-made sneakers as well as off-the-rack suits, Brown is known for his gravelly voice and tousled hair. He is repeatedly described as “rumpled,” so much so that this term appears to be a part of his given name (Cohen & Cook 2022).   

 

          Brown is the son of a physician and grew up in Mansfield, OH.  After graduating from Yale University in 1974, Brown won a seat in the OH House. In 1982, Brown was elected OH’s Secretary of State. In 1992, Brown handily won an open U.S. House seat that stretched from Cleveland’s western suburbs south to Akron. In Congress, Brown was strongly liberal. He voted against the Iraq War and was for same-sex marriage a decade and a half before the Supreme Court made it legal nationwide. However, he gained the most attention for supporting his blue-collar and manufacturing constituents in vigorously opposing NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement that the Democratic Clinton Administration pushed. Although Brown was a strong opponent of Demagogue Donald, he agreed with him when Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese aluminum and steel, again, something his blue-collar base strongly wanted (Cohen & Cook 2022).

 

          In 2006, Brown ran for the U.S. Senate and defeated GOP Gov. Mike DeWine. Brown won this first term of his by 12 points. In the Senate, Brown, despite his now “Red-trending” state, remains a staunch liberal.  In 2019 -2020, Brown had a 94%-6% Liberal v. Conservative Rating in the 2022 Almanac. Sen. Brown currently chairs the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee and does his best to help the middle class and consumers. In the Biden Administration, Brown won a major expansion of the child tax credit. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities indicated that this credit would cut child poverty in half (Cohen & Cook 2022). In 2012, with Obama pushing hard to win OH in his re-election campaign, Brown won a second Senate term by 6 points. In 2018, Brown, in an increasingly GOP state defeated his multimillionaire opponent by 6.8 points (Cohen & Cook 2022).

  

           The day after GOPer Moreno won his primary to face Sen. Brown, the Biden Administration announced an $8.5 million deal to fund Intel Corporation’s semiconductor manufacturing, much of it headed to OH, courtesy of legislation that Sen. Brown helped pass. Because of Sen. Brown, that law, the Chips and Science Act, requires project labor agreements to be struck between management and union laborers before plant construction can begin. Seven-thousand (7,000) union tradesmen will now be employed at the massive Intel complex outside Columbus. On that same day, March 20, 2024, Biden’s administration finalized stringent new car and truck emission standards that should increase electric-vehicle manufacturing at the Stellantis Jeep complex in Toledo and automotive battery plants around Youngstown. In addition, construction should begin around election time on a long-sought replacement for the Brent Spence Bridge that links Cincinnati to its suburbs in Kentucky. Sen. Brown, again, helped deliver this infrastructure deal (nytimes.com, Weisman, J., 3/22/24).  Brown saved 1,460 union pensions in OH and was instrumental in getting Biden to pass the Heath Robinson law, named after an OH veteran who died of lung cancer at 39. This law gives veterans extended health care if they were exposed to toxic burn pits (Weisman, nytimes.com).

 

               Can Sen. Brown, the last Democrat holding statewide office in “Red-trending” OH, win re-election? Control of the Senate may well depend on this race. Trump carried OH in both 2016 and 2020 by 8 points. Organized labor along with the national Democrats have made the re-election of Brown their very highest priority (Weisman, nytimes.com). Many union leaders who overwhelmingly support Brown understand that lots of voters, especially in OH, don’t realize what Biden and the Democrats have delivered for them. All these voters hear is Demagogue Donald mouthing off with lies and fake promises. Even if Biden is behind in OH, he will have to campaign hard here so that Brown can get a strong enough margin to defeat Moreno. Yes, Democrats are happy that Moreno is the GOP nominee because he was the weakest of the bunch in the primary and has no real political experience (Weisman, nytimes.com). Still, he has oodles of money and like he did in the primary, count on him to spend a good deal of it and get national GOP big bucks. Democrats are already correctly pounding Moreno as a fellow who cares only about himself. They will have to do this without stop through Election Day.  Moreno has already made one big gaffe. He told moderate Republicans “not to vote for him.” He added, “They have a choice on the other side (DNC War Room).” They sure do. Democrats are gleefully pouncing on this quote, but more campaigning about Moreno’s prior awful record must also be used to win. Ohioans, who voted handily to codify pro-choice rights must realize that Moreno is not in their corner. However, with Trump bringing out his MAGA crowd, OH Democrats can take nothing for granted in the November, 2024 election.  Senator Brown has stated, “I fight for Ohioans. There’s a reason I win in a state that’s a little more Republican.” Ohio Democrats and moderates, it’s now your turn to fight for Sen. Brown.     

 

 

                        

       

 

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