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What This Ohio Voter Said About Union Workers and Trump Should Worry Democrats

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

In 2016, Donald Trump handily beat Hillary Clinton in the Buckeye State. As commentator George Will noted, for quite some time, the GOP presidential strategy was to win the south, the Midwest, the West, and then spend the equivalent of the GDP of Brazil to win Ohio. There are stories about George Bush knowing that his second term hinged on him winning Ohio, which he did. Barack Obama changed all of that. Yet, public opinion shifts like the tides. Trump won Florida outright, a state that has many worrying about the competitiveness of the GOP in national elections due to changing demographics. Obama winning Ohio twice also added to that fear. And then Trump won it by eight points


As the 2020 race is heating up, President Trump is already running a soft, quasi-general election campaign by holding rallies in key states. He held one in Toledo, Ohio last night. Swing states are also in the news due to their voters’ opposition to the Democrats’ impeachment push of President Trump. There are oodles of Obama voters here who flipped for Trump, some of them two-time Obama voters. Millions of these people are what helped turn the tide. With far-left policies being peddled by the Left, like illegal aliens getting health care, aggressive gun control, and Medicare for All, working people no longer see Democrats as their champions. The laundry list that makes up the Democrats’ 2020 agenda is tailored to the professional elites that dominate the urban areas and the coasts—you will not win an election with just these areas. 

Medicare for All is especially lethal to Democrats since a) no one believes that it can be accomplished without middle-class tax increases; b) it’s ruinously expensive; c) it means the destruction of private health insurance. That’s over 150+ million plans, and that includes union households. Oh yes, prior to the rally, a Ohio voters said that union workers who are employed by Jeep are pro-Trump. That does not bode well for Democrats who are trying to retake and rebuild the blue wall that ran through the Rust Belt. Last year, Matt Moorhead, an employee of General Motors, offered a warning to 2020 Democrats, noting that he’s a bit unnerved that some of these clowns running don’t know any working people. And because of that—union households will vote Republican. Well, with a booming economy, unpopular impeachment, and immigration finally taken a more aggressive turn towards enforcement—it’s certainly trending that way. 


In early 2019, The Washington Post wrote an op-ed from Mark Dawson, an Ohio elections statistics expert, who declared that the Buckeye State was Trump country. He quoted other local Democratic leaders who were also resigned to the fact that the state was now a GOP stronghold, adding that Democrats should be mindful of this when it comes to resource allocation in 2020. He also wondered if Democrats could ever win it back. Even with a lefty populist like Sen. Sherrod Brown representing them, his share of the vote has declined steadily since 2006. Dawson points out another warning for Democrats concerning Ohio. The 2018 elections here were a mess for the party. On paper, it should have been a good year. Instead, the GOP swept the statewide races and they remain in firm control of both houses of the state legislature:

For well more than a century, Ohio not only voted most often of any state for the winning presidential candidate (28 of 30 times between 1896 and 2012) but it also deviated the least of any state from the national, two-party voting average.

That run is over. Ohio now votes like a red state. The people running presidential campaigns should study this trend closely before deciding how much time — and how much money — to invest in the Buckeye State.


The situation is all the more surprising because, from all appearances, 2018 was setting up to be a good year for Ohio Democrats. Quality, well-funded candidates lined up to challenge Ohio Republicans in statewide elections. Democratic turnout was extremely high for a midterm election. In congressional races, Democrats received 97 percent of the votes in 2018 that they did in 2016, an unusually high percentage. By comparison, Republicans received only 77 percent of their 2016 vote. So, there actually was a blue wave in Ohio.


After the 2018 elections, Dave Betras, Democratic chairman in Mahoning County, which includes Youngstown, remarked, “I don’t know how you can call [the state] anything but red. At one time a guy who showered after work and not before used to be reliably blue, and I’m not sure they are anymore.”


Dawson noted that immigration was a top issue for Ohio voters. And these aren’t open borders supporters. 

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