Ohio Democrats will have a tough time picking up seats in the state’s congressional delegation even if the blue wave proves true. Republicans have been that adept at gerrymandering district lines, or ensuring something close to their 12-4 advantage in the U.S. House. Yet there are a few districts where Republicans have less certain command of the outcome. In those instances, voters would do well to weigh reinforcing the country’s checks and balances.

Nearly two years into Republican control of Congress and the White House, it is evident that such a step is needed. That means putting Democrats in charge of the House, inviting an effort to hold accountable President Trump and others in his administration on matters of policy and ethics.

With few exceptions, the Republican majorities have not been willing to do so. Thus, voters in the 14th District have good reason to seek a change in their representative, denying David Joyce, the Republican incumbent, a fourth two-year term in office.

We recommend the election of Betsy Rader on Nov. 6. Click here for more Beacon Journal/Ohio.com endorsements. 

Rader has made much of their differences on health care. That makes sense because it plays to her strengths as a former attorney at the Cleveland Clinic with a tenure at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She also served as the director of Geauga County’s advocacy program for abused children. Joyce is vulnerable on health care as he seeks to have it both ways. He now touts his resistance to Republican repeal efforts, yet he voted 31 times for dumping the Affordable Care Act.

Joyce and his party still do not have a credible alternative.

For her part, Rader has been clear about where she stands. She sides with giving Medicare the authority to use its clout in negotiating drug prices, thus putting downward pressure on health costs. She sees the Affordable Care Act as the compromise it plainly is and would seek improvements.

Joyce falsely claims that Rader supports “Medicare for All.” In truth, she backs the reasonable idea of allowing people to buy into Medicare.

Rader has highlighted education, from the earliest years to more effective job training. She has put forward a reform agenda that includes more disclosure of political money and curbing a revolving door in which public officials cash in their connections as they join lobbying firms.

For his part, Joyce has been a true advocate for the Great Lakes, using his position on the House Appropriations Committee to protect adequate funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. That is no small achievement, the initiative crucial to the health of the lakes and the broader region. Ordinarily, his moderating voice would be worth preserving. Yet he and too many other Republicans who know better have opted at key turns to stay mum about the excesses. Meanwhile, Joyce hurls criticism at his opponent for a position she has not taken.

All of this argues for a change in the 14th District, as part of shifting the majority in the U.S. House. The same goes for the 16th U.S. House District where Susan Moran Palmer of Westlake is the Democratic candidate. The odds of Ohio contributing to a new House majority still are steep. The country would be well served by reinforcing checks and balances in Washington.

The 14th District covers Ashtabula, Lake and Geauga counties, plus parts of Summit, Portage, Cuyahoga and Trumbull counties.