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What They’re Saying About Sherrod’s Message And Why Some See ‘His Successful Senate Campaigns As The Blueprint For 2020’

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What They’re Saying About Sherrod’s Message And Why Some See ‘His Successful Senate Campaigns As The Blueprint For 2020’

Since Sherrod’s nearly seven-point victory in Ohio, he’s garnered national attention for his winning message of respecting the dignity of work, his progressive record and his ability to win in a pivotal state like Ohio.

Here’s what they are saying about Sherrod’s success.


Yahoo News: Want To Beat Trump In 2020? Look At Sherrod Brown’s Big Win In Ohio.

  • In fact, Brown received 280,000 more votes than his party’s gubernatorial candidate, Richard Cordray, and 100,000 more than Cordray’s victorious Republican rival, Mike DeWine. Brown actually won by a larger margin Tuesday than in 2012, when Barack Obama was on the ballot to boost Democratic turnout. And the gap between his victory this year and Trump’s in 2016 — a swing of 14.5 percentage points — was wider than all but Jon Tester’s in Montana and Joe Manchin’s in West Virginia.
  • Brown keeps winning in Ohio because he has spent his entire career obsessing, first and foremost, over the concerns of workers. Not just white workers, the way Trump did in 2016. All workers.
  • “I do my very best to fight for working people in this job,” Brown told Yahoo News last year. “And that means all workers — whether you punch a time sheet or swipe a badge, make a salary or earn tips. Whether you’re on payroll, a contract worker or a temp — working behind a desk, on a factory floor or behind a restaurant counter. The fact is, all workers across this country are feeling squeezed.”

New York Times: Sherrod Brown: Rumpled, Unvarnished and Just Maybe a Candidate for President

  • Rumpled and unvarnished — with a fondness for sweatshirts, less so for ties — Mr. Brown would in some ways seem uniquely positioned in a party hoping to win back the Midwestern states that flipped to Mr. Trump. Throughout his political career, he has championed populist platitudes like the “dignity of work” that have resonated with working-class voters in all corners of Ohio while also supporting liberal social causes like women’s reproductive rights and L.G.B.T.Q. rights.
  • Though he disagrees with Mr. Trump on nearly every policy issue, he is aligned with him on trade, opposing the North American Free Trade Agreement long before the president made that a central part of his own campaign.
  • Perhaps more important, Mr. Brown projects a grizzled authenticity that endears his brand of progressivism to even some conservative voters. He talks about how his suits are made just miles from his home in Cleveland and cites scripture at rallies. He wears on his lapel a canary pin that a steelworker gave him years ago and has an enduring passion for the Cleveland Indians. His dog, Franklin, appears frequently on social media and had a starring role in one of the senator’s campaign ads.
  • Yet at a time when Mr. Trump has stoked a fire-breathing liberalism among some Democrats, Mr. Brown has not embraced some key progressive issues, including Medicare for All. And after a midterm season that swept women and minority candidates into office and crowned new progressive superstars, he is a white male career politician from the Midwest.

Washington Post: Wall Street critic Sherrod Brown eyes populist challenge to Trump in 2020

  • Brown’s campaign — emphasizing the need to protect health care coverage and shore up workers’ pensions, railing against what he framed as a regressive Republican tax cut, while continuing to underline his opposition to free trade deals — was emblematic of his lunch-bucket approach over 12 years in the Senate. And it likely formed the spine of a national run, should he make one.
  • But it wasn’t Brown’s message alone that lifted him to victory. His $27.7 million war chest was the biggest of any Democratic campaign in Ohio’s history.
  • Yet a closer look at Tuesday’s results reveal Brown showed strength by limiting his losses in rural conservative strongholds.
  • Brown recaptured a handful of Trump counties in the northeastern corner of the state — steel country — including Ashtabula, Trumbull, Lake and Portage counties. He also carried Montgomery County in southwestern Ohio, home to the midsize city of Dayton, by more than 23,000 votes. Cordray, by contrast, lost it by about 1,100. The county is something of a bellwether within a bellwether, with a roughly even split between urban, suburban and rural voters. President Obama carried it in both his campaigns, then Trump won it in 2016.

Politico: Sherrod Brown sets his sights on Trump in 2020

  • Brown’s worker-centric populism — protecting the “dignity of work,” as he puts it — is already a proven commodity with the blue-collar voters a Democratic nominee would need to compete in the upper Midwest states that handed Trump the presidency. He’s a Washington veteran who still looks and talks like an outsider. He played up his regular-guy persona in his most recent campaign, with an ad titled “Disheveled.”
  • Brown “offers an alternative to what we’re for and what we’re about,” said Dayton, Ohio, mayor Nan Whaley, who worked on Brown’s 2012 reelection bid. “I don’t see someone speaking that message” besides him, she added.
  • What voters would get in Brown can’t be neatly defined. He’s assembled a staunchly liberal voting record over 25 years in the House and Senate, voting against the 1996 law that tried to define same-sex marriage out of existence and against the 2005 bankruptcy bill that galvanized years of anti-Wall Street antipathy on the left. (Former Vice President and 2020 contender Joe Biden, who later vocally embraced same-sex marriage, voted for both of those measures.)
  • Brown also has legislative experience that some others in his party’s presidential mix haven’t yet accrued. He’s served as the Banking Committee’s top Democrat since 2015 and played a key role in securing a permanent extension of improvements to the earned income and child tax credits.

Cleveland.com Column (Brent Larkin): Sherrod Brown’s plausible path to the White House

  • There’s a side to Brown’s personality that makes him more normal than most officeholders.
  • People who work for Brown seem genuinely fond of him. His love affair with the Cleveland Indians is the real thing.
  • He won comfortably in a year when Ohio turned a brighter shade of red, and he outpolled Democratic gubernatorial nominee Rich Cordray by about 100,000 votes.
  • But where Brown ran up the score was in urban areas, in Ohio’s big counties, not in those small and mid-sized towns that enabled Donald Trump to beat Hillary Clinton by eight points in Ohio in 2016.

Newsweek: Working Class Hero: Does Sherrod Brown Have the Recipe to Beat Donald Trump in 2020?

  • Sherrod Brown is having a moment. The Democratic senator and progressive stalwart from Ohio easily won a third term in November as Republicans swept the state’s constitutional offices and maintained their edge in House seats. His victory in an increasingly red state stands as proof, he says, that “progressives can win, and win decisively, in the heartland.”
  • Democrats hope so. After losing Ohio—and white working-class voters—to Donald Trump two years ago, some party strategists and political pundits now see Brown as a potential presidential contender and his successful Senate campaigns as the blueprint for 2020.
  • He campaigned in Ohio on what he terms the “dignity of work,” a political philosophy and a wide-ranging set of pro-labor policies. He advertises that he wears suits made within 10 miles of his house in Cleveland and drives an American-made Jeep Cherokee. On his lapel, he wears a pin shaped like a yellow canary, the bird that coal miners once carried into the pits to detect dangerous gases in the days before government safety regulations.

New Yorker: Sherrod Brown Wants to Bring a Working-Class Ethos Back to the Democratic Party

  • “Sherrod’s a very, very committed person for standing up for—I’m not sure what to call it—the non–rich and powerful,” Leo Gerard, the international president of the United Steelworkers and an ally of Brown’s, told me. “I’m not quite sure we’re still the middle class.”
  • Now those commitments recommend him. In his campaign this summer for a third term in the Senate, Brown spoke relentlessly of the “dignity of work,” a phrase he had drawn from Martin Luther King, Jr., and Pope Francis. This was always his message to voters in Ohio, but, as the Midwest has slipped away from the Democrats, a liberal who can win there has become precious to the Party. In 2016, Hillary Clinton lost Ohio by eight points, and, as her support collapsed across the Midwest, she lost the Presidency. Last month, Brown won Ohio by over six points, running fifteen points ahead of Clinton’s statewide numbers and twenty-one points ahead in the Appalachian counties. The press, the Party, its donors, the amateur strategists toying with electoral maps in their browsers—everyone discovered Sherrod Brown as a Presidential candidate at once. The tactical logic is bracing, undeniable: if the Democrats can win Ohio, they can almost surely win the more liberal states in the Rust Belt—Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. And if they take those, they will win back the White House.

New York Magazine: 29 Minutes With Sherrod Brown – Is looking this rumpled a path to the presidency?

  • In case you haven’t noticed: There’s a bit of a messy civil war going on in the Democratic Party, and one of the more boisterous battles is between those who think it should move hard left in 2020, to chase a progressive base, or to the center, to woo the working-class voters whose support Donald Trump rode to the presidency in 2016. This fight, and all of the party’s disagreements, have an identity aspect, like everything in American politics: Should Democrats lean further into being the party of women and minorities or focus more on the white voters who turned out last time?
  • But Brown seems, to himself and a growing group of fans, at least, like he could square the circle. He’s the rare surviving old-school midwestern Democrat who thrives among the kinds of workers who voted for Trump, and he’s among the most progressive senators — he wins in big cities. He was just reelected again in Ohio, after all, where most Democrats not named Sherrod lost on November 6. That night, he called his campaign a “blueprint for America in 2020.”

Buzzfeed News: How Sherrod Brown Turned His Rumpled Authenticity Into A Brand — And Gave Himself A Good Story To Tell In 2020

  • Therein lies the secret of Sherrod Brown’s success. He has been so consistent during his 44 years in public service that all of this comes off as natural. “You’re drawn to Sherrod because of what his values are,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, a longtime Brown ally in Ohio who co-chairs a newly formed organization promoting him as a presidential candidate. “He is not one of these shiny-object campaigners. And he’s not one of these Johnny-come-latelies that everyone gets excited about.”
  • Brown’s homespun style is part of the package. It’s his substance that helps him sell it.
  • As secretary of state, he put voter registration forms on the tray liners at McDonald’s.
  • For years he refused to accept congressional health insurance on principle and only enrolled in a federal plan after the Affordable Care Act expanded public health care coverage. And Brown and his allies emphasize how he was among only 67 House members who voted against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which until it was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2013 defined marriage as being between a man and woman.

Washington Post Op-Ed (George Will): This candidate may be the optimum challenger to Trump in 2020

  • Last month, Brown, 66, became just the [fourth] Ohio senator since the popular election of senators began in 1914 to achieve a third term, winning by six percentage points in a state Donald Trump carried by eight points, a state no Republican has lost while winning the presidency. Brown did 20 points better than Hillary Clinton’s 2016 results in Appalachian Ohio and the industrial Mahoning Valley, and 15 points better in Lucas County, an autoworkers’ stronghold. If Democrats are looking for a lefty who can win in 2020, they should look at Brown as seriously as he is looking at running.
  • Although the Democrats’ nominating electorate loathes Trump, it will like the fact that Brown has been principled, consistent and wrong about protectionism, which Trump favors because, like Brown and too many other Democrats, he thinks big government can fine-tune flows of goods, service and capital. Brown’s muscular progressivism, explained in pitiless detail in a 45-page manifesto (“Working Too Hard for Too Little: A Plan for Restoring the Value of Work in America”), should alarm conservatives wary of interventionist government and therefore should thrill progressives with fresh reasons to enlarge the administrative state. He is already intellectually limbered up to compete in the policy-sweepstakes part of the scramble for his party’s nomination.