News / USA

    Trump Gains Support From Some Ohio Democrats

    Some Ohio Democrats Flocking to Trumpi
    X
    Steve Baragona
    March 12, 2016 6:13 PM
    Some voters looking for a shake-up this election are flocking to Republican Donald Trump, a businessman, not a politician. In the midwestern state of Ohio, some lifelong Democrats frustrated with the lack of jobs and opportunities are switching parties to back his unconventional candidacy. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

    Joe Shrodek is a retired Ohio steelworker, a union man and a lifelong Democrat.

    But he's bucking the party and the union to vote for Republican Donald Trump.

    "I think I've got a better shot with [Trump] than with a lifelong politician," Shrodek said.

    As John Kasich, Ohio's governor and a former U.S. congressman, seeks to win his home state in Tuesday's presidential primary, he faces a strong challenge from Trump.

    The real estate mogul has drawn support from white working-class voters, who are plentiful in Ohio. In this swing state, he has managed to poach some voters from the opposing party.

    Ohio productivity grows, compensation dips
    Ohio productivity grows, compensation dips

    This election season has been dominated by the feelings of voters who say they are fed up with "politics as usual." A drive through Warren, Ohio, where Shrodek used to work, helps explain why.

    'Hookers' and 'dopers'

    It's an eye-opening tour of boarded-up homes, closed restaurants and shuttered factories. Huge, empty fields occupy the space where industrial plants had spent the past century churning out everything from steel to light bulbs.

    What's left behind is a town in trouble. On a quiet residential street a couple blocks off the main square, Shrodek said, "You come by at night and there's all kinds of hookers in this area."

    On a similar street across town: "Here's where all the dopers are." Heroin addiction is a growing problem in Warren. Shrodek says he knows families whose children have overdosed.

    Ohio workers used to earn more than the national average when manufacturing ruled the state. But while wages have stagnated nationwide since the 1970s, they have declined in Ohio as factories have closed. In Warren, over the last 40 years, about one-third of residents moved away. Among those who stayed, about one-third of them live in poverty.

    Fed up

    "I think there is a lot of economic anxiety in Ohio, and in the rest of the country," said Amy Hanauer, director of Policy Matters Ohio, a nonprofit policy research organization. "And I think you're probably seeing that reflected in some of the politics that we're seeing."

    "You keep hearing politicians say, 'We got your back. We're gonna do this for you. We're gonna do that,' " said Mark Gargano, another lifelong Democrat who retired from a tire factory that has since gone bankrupt. "And then after they get in office, nothing happens."

    He, too, has defected from the Democratic Party to back Trump.

    "He's like a wrecking ball," Gargano said. "Or, he's more of a hammer. Hopefully, he can cut through some of the red tape."

    "I understand why people feel that way," said Karen Nussbaum, executive director of the AFL-CIO-affiliated labor group Working America. "When we talk to folks, they say they're fed up. They don't see a recession that's been recovering in their family. They don't see politicians that are responsive to their needs. They're frustrated. They don't know where to turn. So when they see a guy who says, 'I'm your guy to blow the whole thing up,' it's appealing."

    But blowing up the system won't solve the problems, she said. And the Trump campaign's racial and anti-immigrant overtones concern her.

    'Borders, language and culture'

    Trump has proposed deporting undocumented immigrants, building a wall with Mexico and banning Muslim immigration until officials "can figure out what the hell is going on." African-American protesters have been violently attacked at Trump rallies, including an assault Thursday.

    "When he speaks about building a wall, it resonates with me," Gargano said. "Our borders, our language and culture is a very important thing. When my grandparents came here, they wanted to be Americans. They learned the language. They no longer spoke Italian in the home. They said, 'We're Americans now. We're going to speak English.' Now, [immigrants] come over, and I don't know what they're doing. They're trying to just get welfare benefits."

    But Gargano said Trump is not racist. "He's worked with all people," he said. "He's had Hispanics, he's probably had Chinese, Americans, everybody. If the guy really was racist, he wouldn't be as successful as he is."

    Working America representatives who canvassed working-class neighborhoods around Ohio in December and January found more support for Trump than for any other candidate. But most were undecided, and Nussbaum said roughly a third of Trump supporters would reconsider when offered a different view of what's behind their community's problems.

    "It's not your neighbors you should be blaming," Nussbaum said. "It's the people who actually have power — corporate lobbyists, Wall Street — that are just driving our communities into the ground for profit."

    Hanauer says nonunion whites often vote Republican, but "working-class whites who are in unions vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic candidate." She does not expect most union members will vote for Trump.

    Tuesday's vote will offer a glimpse of how strong Trump's appeal is to Ohio's working-class voters.


    Steve Baragona

    Steve Baragona is an award-winning multimedia journalist covering science, environment and health.

    He spent eight years in molecular biology and infectious disease research before deciding that writing about science was more fun than doing it. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a master’s degree in journalism in 2002.

    You May Like

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border From Mexico

    In remote areas of the Sonoran Desert, which straddles the US-Mexico, thousands of migrants face arid desolation

    Video Recycling is Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    It's an ancient craft that stretches back millennia - but despite Lebanon’s trash crisis providing a lifeline, remaining glass blowers face an uncertain future

    Meet the Alleged Killer of Cambodia’s Kem Ley

    What little is known about former soldier, troublesome Buddhist monk and indebted gambler, raises more questions than answers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora