Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's quest for the Ohio blue collar vote is made easier by the fact that was headed in his direction long before he ever tossed his hat in the ring, writes Jeff Greenfield at Politico
Decades of job losses were caused primarily by automation, Cuyahoga County Democratic operative Tim Hagan told Greenfield, but that's not how local people see it. Trump, he says, sells them a bogeyman of big companies sending their jobs overseas and illegal immigrants coming in to do those that are still here.
"You hear my old buddies talk about 'them,' and what 'they're' getting — free phones, free furniture. 'What next, free TV's?'" Hagan said. "You know, people who 'don't look like us, who don't talk like us, who are just not like us.'"
Hagan said he believes Democrat Hillary Clinton will have a tough time defeating Trump in the crucial swing state where Republicans are holding their convention to formally nominate Trump this week.
Hagan said he is "cautiously optimistic" of Clinton's chances in his state, but said if she does win it won't be from swaying blue collar voters her way. Instead, he said, she will have to hold together the coalition of minorities, young voters and the higher educated built by President Barack Obama.
"Maybe Joe Biden could, with his Scranton working-class background," Hagan said. "But I don't think she can."
Clinton "gets it" in her head, but not in her heart, he said.
"Maybe it's because she's been around so much wealth for so long."
Back in March, United Steelworkers local Canton chapter Vice President Curtis Green told Reuters
that Trump's growing support among the union's members was the "dirty little secret."
"I view him as a radical and a racist and I don't want to be affiliated with that," Green told Reuters. "But if you say what you mean, a lot of guys see that in Trump and they respect that. He doesn't dance around the issues, he takes them head on. There are a fair amount of our members who do support Donald Trump."
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