Ahead of First Presidential Debate, Trump’s Betrayal of Workers is Costing him in Ohio


Ahead of First Presidential Debate, Trump’s Betrayal of Workers is Costing him in Ohio

As the first presidential debate comes to Cleveland this week, the state remains highly competitive, with Joe Biden well-positioned to win on November 3rd. Biden has positioned himself as the Dignity of Work candidate, echoing Sherrod’s successful 2018 Senate campaign, in which he won the state by nearly 7 points after Trump won here in 2016 by more than 8 points.

The Trump campaign is worried about losing Ohio – in the past week alone, Trump and Mike Pence both visited the state. And they should be worried, as three public polls all showed Joe Biden leading Trump by as much as five points. Over the summer, Biden had the airwaves in the state to himself, talking directly to workers about their lives, while the Trump campaign went dark and failed to follow through on any investment in Ohio. Biden’s investment and the grassroots work of Ohio Democrats is paying off: absentee ballot requests have already surpassed the entire total for the 2016 election.

Ohio has a long history as a bellwether state. No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio and no president has won the White House without winning Ohio since 1960. This year will be no different – Trump cannot win without Ohio. As political analyst and Cleveland native Kyle Kondik noted, “If Biden were to win Ohio, Trump’s path in the Midwest — and to a second term — would be blocked.”

Trump’s 2016 Win Was an Anomaly He Won’t Be Able to Replicate:

Donald Trump’s 2016 win relied on a coalition he’ll be unable to replicate in 2020 – it couldn’t carry Jim Renacci to victory in 2018, even as he tied his campaign closely to Trump, and the growing areas of the state are moving away from Republicans in the Trump era. Sherrod Brown trounced Renacci by nearly seven points. Trump’s coalition included several counties that voted for Sherrod two years after breaking for Trump, and Biden, like Sherrod, is talking directly to workers and competing in areas where he’ll be able to win back votes lost in 2016: 

·      In Delaware County, the state’s fastest-growing county, Trump won by about 16,970 votes, down from Romney’s commanding nearly 23,000 vote victory in 2012. By the 2018 Senate race, the Republican margin had been shaved to just 4,800 votes. 

·      Mahoning County – home to the Lordstown GM plant Trump abandoned – is often cited as the archetypal Midwestern county that swung from Obama to Trump. But Trump’s victory was a scant 1,900 votes, and in 2018, Sherrod was back to routing Republicans, winning by nearly 19,000 votes, as he stood with Lordstown workers who had been betrayed by Trump.

·      In Appalachian Ross County, Trump won by more than 8,000 votes in 2016, but Sherrod cut that margin down to 2,000 by fighting for the Dignity of Work, and like Biden, by showing Ohioans he’s on their side and competing in areas Democrats sometimes write off. 

Trump Has Broken Every Promise to Ohio Workers:

Trump is struggling in Ohio because he has spent four years betraying the workers he promised to fight for in 2016. He may stop here for campaign rallies – which have become more like super-spreader events in the age of COVID-19 – as a distraction tactic, but he consistently fails to deliver for Ohio workers and families. Ohioans see all of the ways he’s betrayed them:


President Obama and Vice President Biden saved the auto industry in 2009 and prevented hundreds of thousands from losing their jobs with the auto rescue, which Mike Pence voted against. Donald Trump inherited two shifts still running at GM’s plant in Lordstown and squandered it.

Trump came to the Mahoning Valley in 2017 and told Ohioans not to move or sell their homes because jobs were coming back to Ohio. But when GM shuttered the plant and laid off 4,500 union workers, devastating this community, Trump failed to lift a finger to help. In fact, Trump didn’t even seem to know one year later that GM had sold the plant, and he gave GM a tax break in his 2017 tax scam for moving jobs to Mexico.


Last month, Trump called for a boycott of Ohio’s Goodyear Tires based on a personal grudge. Goodyear is an American company based in Akron, OH that employs more than 3,000, mostly union, workers. He put the livelihoods of an entire community in jeopardy over a perceived slight about his hats. Joe Biden understands the Dignity of Work and came to Goodyear’s defense amid Trump’s attacks.

Taking Away Unemployment Benefits Amid COVID-19:

More than half a million Ohioans are out of work because of President Trump’s failure to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control. And Trump and Mitch McConnell took away the additional $600 a week in federal UI benefits those unemployed Ohioans relied on to pay their bills, buy groceries, and pay for their health care. After letting these crucial benefits lapse and hobbling Ohioans’ ability to stimulate the economy, Trump, McConnell, and the Senate GOP introduced a proposal to slash these benefits by half.

Attempting to Take Away Ohioans’ Health Care Amid a Pandemic:

Trump and his administration are attempting to do through the courts what they failed to do legislatively: overturn the entire Affordable Care Act, which could end health coverage for more than 800,000 Ohioans enrolled in Ohio’s successful Medicaid expansion or through the ACA marketplace, and threaten coverage for two million Ohioans with preexisting conditions. Trump is attempting to push through his Supreme Court nominee – who is openly hostile to the ACA – before the Court hears the case in a matter of weeks.

Siding with Wall Street Over Workers:

Trump’s Wall Street-first agenda had damaged Ohio’s economy even before COVID-19 hit: Ohio lost 6,300 jobs in January of this year, and lost 12,500 positions over 2019. This is because of Trump’s failed policies:

·      Trump wasted trillions of our tax dollars on his 2017 tax handout to Wall Street and his wealthy friends. Republicans promised this bill would be a boon to workers and the economy but this was yet another broken promise, as study after study has shown the benefits of this bill went overwhelmingly to the top 1 percent and major corporations.

·      He took overtime pay away from hundreds of thousands of Ohio workers. Last year, the Trump administration finalized a rule to set the salary threshold under which workers would be guaranteed overtime pay at $35,568, down from $47,476 set by the Obama Administration, denying Ohio workers the overtime they earned and deserved. Biden had announced the proposed raise for 134,000 Ohio workers with Senator Brown in Columbus in 2016.

·      Trump has stacked the courts and the Department of Labor with corporate lawyers, who have sought to undermine and underpay workers, and to roll back worker protections, even during a pandemic. When Smithfield – a multibillion dollar corporation owned by the Chinese communist government – failed to protect its workers, Trump handed them a paltry fine of $10 per worker.

·      Trump had no larger strategy behind his ineffective tariffs, which hammered Midwestern farmers, and his farm payments funneled money to large agricultural operations over smaller farms, and favored certain crops, like cotton grown in the South, over others grown in the Midwest, like specialty crops, dairy, or hogs.

·      Last year, after promising to re-write NAFTA, Trump’s initial USMCA draft was yet another corporate trade deal, that was only improved because Brown, labor leaders, and other Democrats went to work, securing important, worker-empowering provisions.

Failure to Deliver on Infrastructure Promises:

Trump promised Ohioans a “first class” infrastructure investment, and never delivered. This summer, when Democrats passed a comprehensive investment in roads, bridges, and transit systems that would put Ohioans to work amid record job losses, Trump said he would veto it.

Ohioans Are Tired of Republican Corruption:

Ohio Republicans are embroiled in the worst corruption scandal in state history. Every Democrat is running against a culture of corruption that has permeated both Washington and Columbus. Republicans have been looking out for corporations and their wealthy friends; Democrats will fight for workers and their families. That hurts Republicans up and down the ballot, particularly in suburban districts where Trump has already lost ground compared to past Republicans. Polls have found Democrats surging in suburban statehouse districts.

Headlines Ohioans Have Been Waking Up To:

Crain’s Cleveland Business Journal: Analysis: GM’s Lordstown plant exit highlights Trump’s ‘Broken Promises’ Issue. LINK

Toledo Blade: Trump, elected on promises for manufacturing, returns to battered Ohio economy. LINK

Cleveland.com: Donald Trump tells Toledo crowd Ohio had its ‘best year economically,’ even as the state lost jobs. LINK

WKYC/NBC 3 Cleveland: ‘Absolutely despicable’: Local and state leaders react to President Trump calling for boycott of Akron-based Goodyear. LINK

WKYC/NBC 3 Cleveland: Goodyear has a long history in Akron, now facing criticism from President Trump. LINK

Columbus Dispatch: Coronavirus in Ohio: Cases continue to rise. LINK

Cleveland.com: Cleveland metro job market hit worse than most during coronavirus. LINK

Columbus Dispatch: Record Ohio, U.S. unemployment claims reach six-month mark. LINK

WKRC/Local 12 Cincinnati: Evictions on rise locally, could skyrocket in coming months. LINK

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