How Donald Trump Is Influencing Ohio Politics

Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
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As Donald Trump prepares to take office as president next year, his election is still sending shock waves through Ohio politics.

Trump won the state by eight points over Democrat Hillary Clinton, and there’s an effort underway to create an Ohio Republican Party more favorable to the next president.

ideastream’s Nick Castele talks through Trump’s impact with All Things Considered host Tony Ganzer.

GANZER: “So what parts of the state did Trump carry in the election? Remind us.”

CASTELE: “Well, Trump did much better in Northeast Ohio than Mitt Romney did four years ago. Southeast Ohio was just a blowout in favor of Trump. And in general, while Democrats did hold on in Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton counties, the big urban counties, there were many less-populated counties across the state that went very strongly for Trump.”

GANZER: “What specific promises did Trump make on the campaign trail in Ohio?”

CASTELE: “He made some big, fundamental economic promises here. So he said he’d bring back coal and steel jobs. He generally painted Ohio as being in a tough economic spot, saying he’ll fix it. So here’s some sound from a Trump rally in March in Ohio at the IX Center in Cleveland.”

TRUMP: “You’re losing plants over here. And you’re losing a plant over there. And you’re losing another plant, I hear, over there. Any direction I can point to, you’re losing jobs, you’re losing your plants. We’re not going to let it happen anymore.”

CASTELE: “Now, the reality is, manufacturing jobs have grown in the state since about 2010. But there just aren’t as many of them as there were at the end of the 1990s. And overall in Ohio, we now have as many jobs as we did before the Recession, in fact we have a bit more, but again, it’s just not as many as we had in the year 2000.”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, All Employees: Total Nonfarm in Ohio [OHNA], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/OHNA
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, All Employees: Total Nonfarm in Ohio [OHNA], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/OHNA


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, All Employees: Manufacturing in Ohio [OHMFG], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/OHMFG

GANZER: “Trump talked a lot about jobs, he talked a lot about trade, but he also talked a lot about immigration while on the campaign train. What did he say about that here?”

CASTELE: “So it was in Youngstown that Trump gave a speech calling for what he termed ‘extreme vetting’ of immigrants. You know, in 2015 he proposed banning Muslim immigration into the United States until the country could, in his words, figure out what was going on. Well, in Youngstown, he described questioning prospective immigrants about how they view America.”

TRUMP: “In addition to screening out all members of the sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes toward our country or its principles, or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law.”

CASTELE: “So he said he would suspend immigration from what he called some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world while putting this policy in place.”

Ohio Republicans remove their state's sign at the end of the party's convention in Cleveland. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
Ohio Republicans remove their state's sign at the end of the party's convention in Cleveland. [Nick Castele / ideastream]

GANZER: “Donald Trump has a very particular style. Some have called it Trumpism—both his style of politicking but also his brand of politics, what he’s actually advocating for. And a lot of my reporting, some of the people I’ve talked to, you know, kind of juxtapose this Trumpism to Ohio’s pragmatism, or a little more Midwest calmer politics, polite politics, some have said. And during the election season, some of the people I talked to—former Ohio AG Jim Petro, you know, GOP analysts—said Trump’s not really a Republican at all. So now he’s in charge of the party, can you talk about how supporters are trying to flex some muscle here, especially in the Republican Party?”

CASTELE: “Well, there’s a number of Donald Trump backers who want to oust the current GOP chairman, Matt Borges. He is a supporter of John Kasich. Gov. Kasich helped him get that job in the first place. When Trump became the nominee, he said he supported the top of the ticket. So now, with the election behind us, there are Trump loyalists who want someone to lead the Ohio GOP who was more firmly behind the President-elect. So they’re pushing for Jane Murphy Timken to become the chair. She was a Trump fundraiser, she’s an attorney, a part of the Stark County Republican Party and she’s from the Canton family that runs Timken Steel. So this conflict between Trump supporters and Kasich supporters is going to go down in January, when there’s a vote for leadership.”

GANZER: “And we will be watching closely.”

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