2022: Lose

We can’t win in 2022. Nor do we want to really. In fact we’d really rather lose. People are afraid of losing and that’s bad because, in a democracy, many people are going to lose. We will lose because it’s impossible to win and people need to see that it’s okay to lose. It really is. Because you get to try again within a few years. For more on losing, read On Losing

But we need to demonstrate more than the art of losing. We aim to demonstrate that a campaign is so much more than winning elections. It’s how we organize ourselves as a society, after all. So this is a very serious and determined campaign with just as much if not more on the line as these other campaigns which are driven by their terrible fear of losing. 

This campaign is not fighting for votes, it’s fighting for minds. We are reshaping the realm of the possible with this campaign, altering reality. And in the process, laying the groundwork for future success. We are reaching out, building our network, growing our community. Through this process we will have a strong base of Dark Horse candidates to run for state legislative seats in 2024 and in 2026 as well as building a network of volunteers to collect signatures to secure our candidates ballot access as independents.

2024: Grow

It will, in fact, be possible for Dark Horse candidates to win legislative campaigns in 2024 and we aim to make that happen. We will coordinate the efforts of multiple independent candidates for state legislative offices using the networks we built in the 2022 campaign and the intervening years. This coordinated independent campaign will function as a proto-party. Our elected representatives will represent the smallest minority in the legislature and will most likely not have fulcrum power as the Republican party will continue to possess outright majorities. Instead we will busy ourselves learning the nature of the General Assembly and doing our best to propose and support legislation that will serve as an example for how our movement will govern. 

2026: Win

In 2025 we will launch an organized political party in Ohio which will be known as the Heartland Party. A regional party with a focus on state and local politics and does not endorse in federal elections. The movement infrastructure built up over the last four years will be put to work collecting the necessary tens of thousands of signatures over the course of a year to receive recognition as a party by the state. 

Once recognized by the state we will select our inaugural slate of candidates by convention and informal primary as we will yet be permitted a ballot in the state run primary election. We will run a full slate of candidates in every statewide and legislative contest. The 2026 Dark Horse Campaign will be deeply interconnected at all levels with ample support provided between the gubernatorial campaign and the legislative campaigns. 

We will secure the governorship in 2026 as well as a number of legislative seats sufficient to deny any party a majority, necessitating coalition governing. The Heartland Party will then proceed to use the intervening years to demonstrate ability and creativity in governing, consensus building, and legislating. 

2028: Consolidate

In the 2028 legislative elections, running on a record of success and our demonstrated ability to win election, we will achieve a majority in the legislature. This will come primarily at the expense of the Ohio Democratic and Republican parties which will have collapsed, totally incapable of sustaining themselves without being able to position themselves as the “only” alternative to the other party. 

During this period the Heartland Party will have to move quickly to enact its innovation focused economic policy, passing significant investment plans and streamlining Ohio’s tax and legal code. 

2030: Compete

Optimistically (and this might be very optimistic), something will manage to emerge out of the wreckage of the Republican and Democratic parties which will be capable of representing a coherent opposition to the Heartland Party and its platform of innovationism and liberty. But the Heartland Party will win regardless. The Heartland party will retain its legislative majorities and will establish itself as natural and commonplace contender in Ohio’s elections for many years to come by having a two term governor. 

2032: Legacy 

The most important work of the Heartland Party, breaking the old parties, will have been accomplished. In 2032 the Heartland Party will support having an Ohio Constitutional Convention. Ohio’s constitution is in desperate need of updating. The Heartland Party will push for clauses greatly reducing the barriers to entry for new political parties and independents as well as the establishment of a unicameral legislature, adjustment of the initiative and referendum process to ensure they are not primarily used by well-heeled interests, the removal or adjustment of extremely clumsy clauses inserted by the initiative process, the preservation of a state backed investment vehicle, and establishing an independent entity for the running of elections. 

The Heartland Party will persist for some amount of time doing the hard work of perfecting the translation of new economic thinking into policy and fostering a culture of innovation in government and business. It might adapt to changing conditions or it might fail to adapt and die which is perfectly acceptable. And the Dark Horse shall ride off into the sunset.