The Ripon Forum

Volume 54, No. 1

February 2020

To Area Voters, Trump is Standing Up to the Beltway Elite

By on February 19, 2020

A View from Trumbull County: Third in a Series

by ADAM L. FULLER

There is an old saying that people hate everyone else’s politicians but they love their own. In Trumbull County, people see President Trump as their champion fighting for American interests against a legion of villains in Washington. Their confidence in Trump has not softened from the impeachment or from some local industrial setbacks that have happened in the county. They believe that he is still trying his best against the enmity of the Beltway elite, who they believe want him out of office because he stands in the way of their own nefarious ambitions.

Given the high level confidence they have in him, Trump is very likely to win Trumbull County again in his bid for re-election. However, he does have a couple of potential, but minor, roadblocks.

One of these is the closing of the General Motors plant in Lordstown, where the Chevy Cruze used to be manufactured. For the last year, Trumbull County residents have seen the abandoned auto factory as they have driven up and down the Ohio Turnpike. Like a ghost town, the empty Cruze plant has been a constant and eerie reminder to them that the auto industry is entirely gone from the region. County residents have long considered the Chevy Cruze the pride of the Mahoning Valley. County residents felt hopeful that President Trump’s trade policies would save it from demise, but that did not happen. Close to 2,000 jobs were lost when the Lordstown plant closed.

County residents felt hopeful that President Trump’s trade policies would save it from demise, but that did not happen. Close to 2,000 jobs were lost when the Lordstown plant closed.

Fortunately, however, GM announced recently that it would be returning to the Lordstown plant. They will be making batteries for electric cars, as part of a joint venture with the South Korean company, LG Chem. There will only be half as many jobs to be gained from this new use of the facility, but at least the factory will be back in business.

Another potential roadblock is the possible nomination of Bernie Sanders by the Democratic Party. Of those still remaining among the field of candidates, Senator Sanders stands the best chance of defeating Trump this November in Trumbull County. He is perhaps the most popular of the Democrat candidates here because his “Medicare for All” plan is appealing to many working class voters. And, as Sanders is also an anti-establishment candidate, he can be considered to be Trump’s counterpart on the Left. He is also the only Democrat candidate so far besides Tim Ryan to visit Youngstown and hold a rally.

But these are most likely only inconsequential concerns for the incumbent President. Inasmuch as a nationalized health care system may be alluring to many voters, most people in Trumbull County reject the broader socialist proposals that Sanders campaigns on. The local economic setback of the GM closure is also not likely to be much of a challenge for the President to overcome, because Trumbull County residents feel confident in Trump’s approach to managing the economy.

Make no mistake – Trump’s popularity here may have waned slightly. But most voters still see him as their valiant hero fighting the good fight in Washington.

Trump’s success in eliminating NAFTA and getting the USCMA passed by Congress are particularly applauded in this county. There is a lot of excitement about the future possibilities for economic revitalization from what they feel is a fairer trade deal that promotes America’s economic security.

Trumbull County residents also see positive signs in neighboring areas, such as the recent news that U.S. Steel will be investing $1.2 billion in two Pittsburgh steel factories. As Youngstown was once a thriving center for steel manufacturing, this announcement gives locals here some hope that even their own steel industry may one day be revived.

Make no mistake – Trump’s popularity here may have waned slightly. But most voters still see him as their valiant hero fighting the good fight in Washington. There is good reason to predict that Trumbull County will remain Trump territory in the 2020 election.

Adam L. Fuller, Ph.D, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics & International Relations at Youngstown State University. This is the third in a series of essays about Trumbull County that Professor Fuller has authored for the Forum since the 2016 election.

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