Ohio likes to pride itself on voting for the eventual winner of the quadrennial sweepstakes known as the Presidential election dating back many years. The last time their electoral votes went to the eventual loser was 1960, largely thanks to some dead voters in Illinois. Leaving aside this fact, the 1960s through 1990s is a political lifetime+ ago.
There is no mistaking the fact that as the country and politics has changed, so has Ohio. The state is whiter, older, less college-educated, and sports an average household median income below the national average. It is why in 2020, the Democrats rather early in the game more or less wrote off Ohio. In 2015-2016, candidates criss-crossed the state some 70 times before a vote was cast either in the general or primary elections. In 2020, not so much. Part of it was due to Trump’s 2016 by Ohio standards landslide victory by eight percentage points. In 2020, Trump replicated that feat.
But, that is not what this article is about. Instead, Trump’s success in Ohio over two successive elections gives the GOP a chance for future electoral victories by uniting two factions regardless of demographics. Instead, this writer looked at 16 particular counties in Ohio and divided them into two groups: industrial working class and Appalachia, Sort Of. In the former group is the following counties: Lucas (Toledo), Summit (Akron), Mahoning (Youngstown), Montgomery (Dayton), Cuyahoga (Cleveland), Erie (Sandusky), Muskingam (Zainesville), and Richland (Mansfield). The eight Appalachia Sort of counties lie along the Ohio River or the border with Kentucky: Adams, Belmont, Gallia, Jefferson, Monroe, Lawrence, Scioto, and Washington.
Comparing margins of victory or defeat for the GOP dating back to the 2000 election, it became obvious that except in two cases, Trump outperformed Bush in the Industrial counties with the exceptions being Cuyahoga and Montgomery (less than 1%). Trump outperformed the dynamic duo of losers McCain and Romney in all eight counties by (in five of the 8 counties) greater than 10%.
With the Appalachia Sort Of counties, even though all but two of the seven went to Bush and seven of eight to Romney, Trump swept them all. Not only did he sweep them, but he demolished the Bush and Losers by large margins- in each case, no lower than a greater than 14% improvement.
What does this tell us, though? Whether you are in a poverty-stricken county in Ohio along the Ohio River or border with Kentucky, or if you are in an industrial county losing jobs, an economically populist message wins votes. Except for the folks in Cuyahoga county which is, for all intents and purposes, Cleveland, Trump’s message resonated with these voters.
There is one thing that unites the American people and the electorate (ignoring the metropolitan liberals) and that is the American Dream. Although they spout a different line, even liberals want to move up the economic ladder. Of course, they balk when a rung above them is taken away. That is, socialism for thee, but not for me.
Trump sounded an economically America First message that was heard loud and clear not only in those have-not hinterlands of Flyover America, but in the industrial heartland of this country. It is why those Democrats in the Iron Range of Minnesota lent their support to Trump and why those voters to the west of Centre county in Pennsylvania broke hard for Trump.
This is not about what the GOP should do post-Trump because the election’s final results from 2020 are still very much up in the air despite what the media and Senile Joe claim. As Republicans like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton and Dan Crenshaw have said, there is no going back from “Trumpism” no matter who occupies the White House come January, 2021. If Trump is the eventual winner, then he will have four more years to pursue the economically populist policies he started in 2017 which were a recipe for unprecedented economic success pre-Wuhan Flu panicdemic.
If Biden is the winner (through hook or crook, but mostly crook), then Trump has shown the GOP a winning pathway forward. One quote by Steve Bannon in 2017 always struck me as correct: that Trump, despite all the chaos, obstruction and resistance, managed to transform the Republican Party into a party of the working class.
The so-called Deep State does not only exist in the corridors of Washington DC bureaucracies, but throughout the Nation. It exists in state legislatures and workplaces with unions. A rising of the working class whose numbers reached historic heights under President Trump is achieved not through the tax code, but through dismantling the regulatory state which unleashes economic prosperity for everyone.
The way forward for the GOP is to unite into one huge voting block regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or zip code through both economic realism and economic populism. When those demographic groups to whom the Left panders looks around and sees jobs and bigger paychecks (they won’t with Biden, although they will probably get hand outs), they will enter the fold.