After four years of controversy, the histrionic Republican president has managed to maintain his base of support. In Ohio, an important state that it has preserved despite the defeat, some of the voters explain their motives
The first president Shay Eicher has ever voted for is Donald Trump. Eicher, who is 20 years old and studies Civil Engineering, is a rara reviews on his campus at Youngstown, Ohio, public university, where most of the kids who walked by Thursday morning had elected Democrat Joe Biden. Shay is not surprised by this and neither is the outcome of the elections; Faced with the president’s speech, he doesn’t see tricks, he doesn’t see fraud: “Here in Ohio he has won, but as the rest of the country went, people were more with Biden.”
Shay, he says, does not yet feel like a Republican or a Democrat, does not consider himself a conservative, nor does he greatly admire either candidate. When asked why he prefers Trump, he takes some time before answering: “He has done a good job these four years, it has been very good for the economy. And sometimes when Biden spoke, it gave me the feeling that he couldn’t handle the job, “he explains. Of Biden, he explains, he likes that he “takes climate change into account,” something Trump often ignores, if not argued with. “And you should also control the things you say,” he says. What just convinced you then about Trump? “I think I just like Trump.”
Far from the rallies of Donald Trump or the marches in favor of the president, such as the one organized this Saturday in Washington, a type of Republican voter usually appears who breaks the schemes and, above all, lowers the decibels of the ardent Trumpist speech with the which is usually associated with its tide of voters. A voter like Shay, who not only doesn’t deny the climate crisis, but cares about it; that instead of celebrating Trump’s bravado, he criticizes them; But, in the end, he votes for him, either because of the economy, or because he transmits an image of strength that he misses in Biden. Or because, even if he doesn’t know it yet, he will end up being a Republican.
This Thursday there was an exam at the university and the boys filled with life the Youngstown campus, which is a bright autumn postcard, but also somewhat disturbing, because it is surrounded by empty streets, notches of the pandemic in a former empire of steel that was living a few years of rebirth. By the time the conversation takes place, it is already known that Donald Trump has suffered a resounding defeat in the presidential election. Democrat Joe Biden leads him by more than five million votes and has taken conservative strongholds like Arizona and Georgia from him. Even so, the Republican magnate has won the support of more than 72 million voters, 10 million more than four years ago (within a historic increase in turnout) and has preserved swing states as decisive as Florida and the Ohio of young Shay .
Ohio used to be the electoral barometer for the United States, the state whose winner was also the one who won the entire election. In each and every one of them, since 1964, whoever won Ohio was president. Until November 3, 2020, when the Republican was defeated despite dominating this piece of America with more than eight points of difference. Today, Ohio is more of a good Trump voter thermometer. Youngstown County (Mahoning), in fact, has swam against the current and voted for its first Republican president in nearly 50 years.
“Things are getting out of hand and Twitter, He can be very rude, but his policies are good and, since the media does not report many things that he does, he has to make himself heard that way, ”explains Tom Karpinski, 65, an Air Force veteran who lived two years in Torrejón de Ardoz. Karpinski, who lives in a small city called Vienna, 20 minutes from Youngstown, begins to recount the reasons why he voted for the Republican: “He has put China in its place”; “He has lowered our taxes”; “Has reached an agreement in the Middle East”; “He has fought to bring back the jobs that went to Mexico” …
The latter resonates especially in Ohio and in many of the cities of the Midwest that have been drowned out by the flight of industrial production. In 2016, only Trump and Bernie Sanders pointed the finger at trade agreements, especially the Treaty with Mexico and Canada (formerly called Nafta) as one of the reasons for the impoverishment of the middle class. Between 2000 and 2015, in the United States, more than 60,000 factories had closed and 4.8 million high-paying industrial jobs had disappeared.
According to a study by Economic Policy Institute, Nafta has wiped out nearly 700,000 American employees. Any economist will explain that, apart from competition from countries with cheaper labor, much of the destruction of factory employment is due to robotization. But places like Ohio have for years seen the closure of plants of multinationals that were expanding in other countries. Despite the attempts of these years, Trump has not managed to prevent the nearby General Motors plant in Lordstown, with 1,600 workers, from closing, but state voters have seen him discuss it, and, above all, criticize it, which is something they value per se.
If four years ago Trump, a real estate mogul from New York, donned the blue jumpsuit and promised to fight for the factories, now he has become the champion of the reopening of the economy, something that many of his voters appreciate. Biden is associated with confinement. “Here people need to work, here people don’t have all the money that Nancy Pelosi has. [la presidenta de la Cámara de Representantes, demócrata]. People must work as soon as possible, taking all the precautions ”, criticizes Tom, who continues to work from time to time, checking electrical systems in buildings.
Like many voters in the United States, they say they do not choose the party, but the right person, but like most voters, they hardly remember voting for someone other than their usual party in the past.
According to different exit polls, people have not voted for Trump in 2020 so different from those who voted for him in 2016. According The Washington Post, he wins among men (53%), loses among women (42%), crashes with African-Americans (12%) and, despite all the imaginary of the impoverished worker devoted to his figure, he is the most voted by income over $ 100,000 per year. Compared to four years ago, these percentages have risen or fallen very slightly. Because among Trump voters, 94% plain and simple identify as Republican.
Georgetown historian Michael Kazin, social movement expert and author of a superb book on populism in America (Populist persuasion), lowers the driving force of the tycoon. “He got about the same percentage of popular votes as Mitt Romney in 2012 and no one believed Romney was a popular hero. In reality, Trump hasn’t won much more support than in 2016; Then it obtained 46% of the popular votes and now it is at 47.3%, which will go down as the count ends in Democratic territories. And John McCain had 46% in 2008. Trump has a very loyal base but, in reality, he has not managed to grow the Republican Party, “he emphasizes.