Irony: (1) incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result (2) an event or result marked by such incongruity
Secretary of State Husted has issued a press release touting how many people have voted early in this election. The statement notes that “more than 1.2 million Ohioans had already cast their ballots.” This includes 950,000 absentee ballots returned by mail and more than 306,000 people who in person.
Husted putting out a press release touting early voting will likely qualify as the most ironic action of the election cycle.
(Our previous leader in the Clubhouse was Paul Ryan criticizing President Obama for cutting Medicare the same amount as he proposed in the Ryan Budget. Remember Bill Clinton’s line at the convention? “It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.”)
Husted’s statement is what the English Professors refer to as “situational irony.” This is a “situation where the outcome is incongruous with what was expected, but it is also more generally understood as a situation that includes contradictions or sharp contrasts. . . . An example would be a man who takes a step aside in order to avoid getting sprinkled by a wet dog, and falls into a swimming pool.” Lars Elleström, Divine Madness. Bucknell Univ. Press, 2002.
Let’s be clear about this incongruity.
Husted is quoted in the press release: “’The voting process in Ohio continues to go smoothly,’ Secretary Husted said.”
The irony – the incongruity – is that Husted has done everything he can to limit early voting and make sure that voting does not go smoothly.
Most prominently, Husted fought all the way to the United States Supreme Court to prevent early voting for most Ohioans on the three days immediately preceding the election. As we noted before, in the last Presidential Election, a large percentage of early in-person votes were cast on the weekend or the Monday right before the election.
It’s also the little things.
- Husted issued a directive limiting early voting hours on the three days before the election. He then removed from office Montgomery County Board of Elections members who attempted to extend voting hours.
- Husted issued a directive making it more difficult for Boards of Elections to alert voters by phone or email to possible errors in absentee ballot applications.
- Just yesterday, Husted went to federal court to oppose a court order to count votes of any Ohioan who votes in the wrong precinct but in the right county.
The term irony is often misused and misunderstood. This is textbook irony. Husted uses language and issues press releases that seem to support early voting. Yet his actions have been to hinder early voting. Clinton’s line about Paul Ryan certainly applies to Husted. It takes some brass to claim that early voting is a going smoothly and suggest it is great success, when you did everything in your power to stop it.