This time of the four year general election cycle the national media takes a begrudging interest in Northeastern Ohio. You see, places in this small segment of the nation, like Youngstown/Mahoning Valley, have historically been democrat strangleholds driven by the unions, come Hell or high-water. But not this election cycle … Not after the last 8 years of a rogue Obama administration, half of which Hillary Clinton ran the Clinton’s foreign money laundering faux charity foundation out of the US State Department. The area has become plagued with economy stagnation and political fatigue. We are fed-up with the politicians giving a shit about this area only for votes in hope of the democrat candidate carrying the state in the general election.
Not this time. Ohio looks to be leaning hard on Donald Trump. Even democrats have been changing to the republican party. This isn’t your grandfather’s democrat party anymore. JFK would, at the very least, be a RINO republican today. The Trump signs very often times outnumber Hillary signs 4-1 when you’re out driving around.
Yesterday CNN was in WKBN, one of our local broadcast entities, in order to “get a finger on the pulse of The Valley” during this election cycle as callers called into the morning radio talk show. I don’t think they liked what they heard.
And a writer for the LA Times has penned a reflection on singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen’s 1995 song “Youngstown” about the steelworker and the declining factory grind in this area … during the height of the union and democrat era. It ain’t like that no more, “Boss”. While my husband’s factory is not a union plant, and they voted a hard “NO!”, not to allowing unionization about a year ago, not-a-one-of his co-workers are voting for Hillary. The couple that said they were for Bernie Sanders back during the DNC primary are now voting Trump. They see the man as a rich businessman that grew his wealth and employed many people in the process. They see Hillary Clinton as somebody that has made her career off bullshit promises and now, as being exposed, nefarious pay-to-play tactics like a mob boss … and this area knows “the mob”, to be sure.
Jeffrey Fleishman @ LATimes: Here’s why Bruce Springsteen’s blue-collar heroes have made Donald Trump their rock star
“I call it the pissed-off steel workers party. A lot of people like someone who causes trouble. That’s why Trump is so popular,” said Wilson, sitting in the dim of his hillside shop in the slipping away hours of a warm afternoon. “Why am I voting for him? He’s not Hillary Clinton.” He smiled, turned the radio low. “You know, my entire adult life I’ve been voting for the lesser of two evils.”
“Steel is wiped out and Obama is wiping out the coal and mining industries. Hillary wants to finish what he started. Our country is $20 trillion in debt. America has gone from the toilet to the sewer, ” he said. “Hillary and anyone connected to her should be in jail. If anyone’s going to stop this nonsense, it’s a guy from the outside.”
Unlike President Reagan, who in the 1980s invoked the “Born in the U.S.A.”-era Springsteen as a symbol of hope, Trump, who is running a tight race with Clinton in Ohio, has not celebrated the singer. Springsteen is a progressive who campaigned relentlessly for President Obama. His vision of the country is a communion of ragged, defiant and giving souls who find shared meaning in sacrifice and restless glimmers of ungraspable dreams.
Yeah, sorta like those good old days of the long-suffering worker comrades in the Soviet Union, right, Bruce? And we all know how ‘the Russian loves his misery’…
The town’s population has fallen from more than 166,000 in 1950 to about 65,000 today. Unemployment is about 7.5%, much higher than the national average but down from 13% in 2011. Poverty is persistent, and the area relies on a prison, a French company that makes pipes for the fracking industry, metal industry jobs, a business incubator that supports software and 3-D printing start-ups, and a General Motors plant in nearby Lordstown.
All told, they provide nowhere near what steel did.
Here the writer neglects to point out that the biggest moneymaker in Youngstown metro proper is Youngstown State University. This is where a good percentage of our children go after high school graduation because they can live at home and even hold a job while attending classes. However, many who graduate decide to move out of this area because of lack of opportunities in their fields of studies. That is what contributes to the population decline. And these younger generation often express a desire to come back here to raise their families in the comfortable environment they grew up in, but just see the area as a husk of its former self, their own minds pondering if their romanticized memories of their hometown might not be a bit skewed.
A cold hard fact the writer of the above article missed is this area is one of the nation’s hot spots for the current, and growing, heroine epidemic problems. This has become acute with overdose deaths on the climb and no relief in-sight.
One other political item regarding this area, on our ballot are two black women, one a republican and one a conservative independent, who are running for the state legislature. I am torn which gets my vote because I really like them both.
You see, the richer the limo-liberal, no matter what walk-of-life they came from, the farther away from the reality of the working class they become. In Bruce’s case and all celebrity-types, and I get a hint of it from the writer as well, there remains this romanticized union/democrat pliable fairy-tale about the American worker and his/her family. We are a bit of a fictional monolith to them. And not necessarily a strong one. We too are seen through the lens of low expectations from these high-minded, big bank account betters that use us as creative fodder and depict us as helpless and damaged in their music and movies/TV shows.
We are considered and depicted as acutely miserable and helplessly ignorant, rolling out of bed day after day to be victims of the evil company bosses who cheat us out of a Utopian way of life. It is what the union fat cats in their six-figure houses have peddled for the democrat party for generations. Just like it was with Detroit, it was generations of dictatorial unions (that sucked countless millions in union dues from hard working members in order to funnel it to the democrat party) and the democrat policies (local/state/federal) that drove industry and its diversified businesses out of our area.
These interlopers do not see the people in this nation as the literal melting pot that we have been, even after the melting pots of the steel mills have cooled and rusted away. The Mahoning Valley, as we generalize it, is a rich mixture of ethnicities, cultures, races, and religions. We have lived side-by-side for generations, and help each other whenever possible. But these outsiders only give a damn about our area during election cycles. And when they make their stop(s) to stump here they act as if they really care and promise to help and not forget us… Blah-blah-blah. Same-old same-old steaming bullshit every four years.
Well, perhaps, and hopefully, the working man/woman is finally waking up to how they have been nothing more than pawns to make the union overlords filthy rich so they can pump more and more power to the greedy democrat party that also longs for a USSA.