Travel to Ohio, America’s Political Barometer

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Travel to Ohio, America's Political Barometer




Ernie Scarano orders his 'Playboy' collection


© Image LaVanguardia.com
Ernie Scarano orders his ‘Playboy’ collection


“Of course, let’s talk. Do you want to sit down? ”, He responds kindly Ernerst Scarano, an antiquarian of Elmore (Ohio), by asking if you have a few minutes to talk about the US presidential election. He thinks to vote democrat Joe Biden, Explain. So far everything normal. Did you vote for Donald Trump in 2016, like more than half of your neighbors? At that moment this chronicler regretted not having accepted a chair. “No my God. Vote for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Nowhere in the Constitution He says that the candidate for president cannot be dead ”, he explains seriously.

Half an hour later, the conversation with another neighbor begins no less surprisingly. “The candidate that I would like does not appear on the ballot. Who? Jesus Christ, ”says a woman named Amy. Between Trump and Biden, the former remains the “lesser evil,” explains this 53-year-old voter, lover of God and weapons, convinced that the end of the world is near and, whoever wins, everything will go to worst. And while the planet bites its nails awaiting the US verdict, the owner of a store in the main street from Elmore, Sandy S., he laughs out loud as he explains that in 2016 he voted for Trump, that he is in a mess and has no idea what he will do this year.

The responses from these and other voters are even more puzzling when you consider that this small county is one of the oracles of EE.UU. For more than a century, Ohio has been the truest political barometer. No other state has won as many elections as this one, and since 1964 none have failed, no matter how surprising or contested the outcome. County of Ottawa is the Ohio of Ohio, a barometer county (bellwether county) within a barometer state (bellwether state). And, in the same way, since 1964 his neighbors have always bet on the winning candidate of the presidential elections.

“The Constitution does not say that the candidate must be alive,” says Scarano; in 2016 he voted for Roosevelt

Companies also test their products here before launching them in the rest of the country: what is not sold in Ohio will not be sold in the rest of the US Will they get their electoral verdict right this year? Until the summer, the state looked like a sure victory for the Republican Party. But the latest polls indicate that there is movement. In September, the polls spoke of a tie between Trump and Biden. Some even give the Democrat the winner.

In and around Elmore, cornfields dotted with small farms and churches, you see more posters supporting Trump than Biden. But Scarano, 67, estimates that there are half that in 2016. That year he decided to write the name of his favorite president, Roosevelt, on the ballot. Trump already seemed horrible to her, and Hillary Clinton – “an elitist from the east coast”, married to a former president with “the morals of a viper” – did not inspire confidence. Every night, he jokes and says, he prays for Roosevelt and thanks him when his pension arrives (the democrat was the creator of social security). “Don’t worry about the coronavirus: President Roosevelt will know what to do!” Reads a humorous banner under the counter.




Fields in Muskingum County. Ohio has a mix of rural and urban populations similar to the national average (Bloomberg / Getty)


© Provided by La Vanguardia
Fields in Muskingum County. Ohio has a mix of rural and urban populations similar to the national average (Bloomberg / Getty)


He has a hard time understanding his neighbors, admits this native of Pennsylvania, a Catholic and son of Italians, who says he doesn’t feel lonely, but misunderstood. “This is a very conservative place. There are about 15 families who have lived here for many generations who marry each other. It has good things. I could leave a mountain of gold bars at the door and no one would touch them. ” But, on the other hand, he adds, “the people here – and I don’t criticize them for that – have very small lives and don’t look beyond their own existence,” he explains while ordering his collection of magazines from Playboy.

Businesses also test their products in Ohio – what you don’t sell there won’t sell in the rest of the country

“What I don’t understand is how people can be people with such upright values ​​and such good qualities, so honest and compassionate, and at the same time vote for a serial rapist, liar and racist like Donald Trump, someone who enjoys bringing out the worst in people . They close their eyes to all that, but this is not how we should live ”, reflects Scarano, who hung up his habits more than 30 years ago to marry his English teacher. In the end it is he who asks the questions to find out the journalist’s date of birth. “Everyone should have the Playboy of the month and the year he was born,” he says, handing out a copy of the magazine, a gift that comes with a bottle of whiskey that he makes on the outskirts of Elmore.

Across the street at the cloth store, Sandy S. laughs in horror as she recalls the debate between Trump and Biden yesterday at Cleveland (Ohio). “What an embarrassment, what a shame. I was thinking of voting for Trump again, but the truth is that I no longer know what to do. I have lost the desire. I have voted for both Democratic and Republican presidents. I could change my mind again, ”he says.

Although north of the county, on the shores of the touristy lake Erie, merchants suffer from the impact of the pandemic, she does not complain. “Trump has done well to leave the management in the hands of the states. The same solution is not valid for everyone and our governor has done it well ”. His shop, which offers a colorful selection of fabrics with contemporary prints, sells more than ever. “People spend more time at home and have been making masks like crazy,” he says with a laugh. It will not be Amy, the voter who believes that the Antichrist will soon arrive on earth, who is dedicated to such work: “God did not want us to wear a mask. He didn’t create us for that. He created us to be free ”.

“God did not want us to wear a mask; created us to be free, “says a voter

Ron, a 58-year-old voter from the neighboring town of GenoaHe wishes the pandemic had never come to see where the economy was going to go under Trump, because there were things he liked about his government, he says, like tariffs on imports from China, for example. Now it is not clear who is best placed to manage the crisis and does not know who to vote for. “That these are the best candidates of the two parties is very sad,” he says, disappointed with the political class.

“At least Trump didn’t get into this to become a millionaire. Biden has been in politics his whole life and everything he has he earned that way. ” Still, doubt. Trump’s performance in the presidential debate seemed terrible, “shameful” but he declares himself a social and economic conservative. “We used to be a great country, but this is not the case anymore,” says Ron, disappointed, four years after supporting who he promised to do America great again.




Ron, an undecided voter from Genoa. He endorsed Donald Trump in 2016 but this year hesitates. The debate with Biden seemed 'terrible and shameful' (Beatriz Navarro)


© Provided by La Vanguardia
Ron, an undecided voter from Genoa. He endorsed Donald Trump in 2016 but this year hesitates. The debate with Biden seemed ‘terrible and shameful’ (Beatriz Navarro)


The demographic composition of Ottawa County (96% white, 0.8% black and 0.3%, including the adopted son of the antiquarian, who is Korean and according to his father cannot go out without being looked at) it is increasingly different from the rest of the United States, an increasingly mixed-race country. The evolution of Ohio as a whole is, however, closer to the rest of the nation, a characteristic that explains why it has been such a good predictor of the outcome of the presidential elections. In the last four years, the population has grown especially in Columbus, the capital, where, as in Cleveland Y Cincinnati and its metropolitan areas, voters are quickly leaving the Republican Party to align with the Democrats. This is where Trump has suffered the most wear and tear.

“We used to be a great country, but this is not the case anymore,” says a disenchanted Trump supporter

For health problems, Melissa calderon, Resident in Brookland Park, a suburb outside of Cleveland, was unable to vote in 2016 but is determined this year to do everything possible to get Trump out of the White House. She has already succeeded in getting her husband, who also did not participate then, to register to vote, as have her two grown children. “I am eager to vote,” she confesses. “I’m American but it’s not how he looks at us,” this 43-year-old voter says, pointing to her skin color. His father was from Puerto Rico and his mother, a white New York. His entire family is mestizo. “I vote for whoever seems right to me, I don’t always go with one party or another. It doesn’t even seem right to me. I don’t know why you need to be always showing off and humiliating other people. ” He does not know much about the Democratic candidate but, he says, he is confident that “it will be better than what we have.”

Analysts do not lose sight of this state of the Midwest of 11.6 million inhabitants and 18 of the 270 electoral college votes needed to conquer the White House. “Biden doesn’t need to win Ohio [para ganar las elecciones] but Trump definitely does, ”he says Kyle Kondik, author of the book Why Ohio picks the president (Why does Ohio elect the president) and. The state has consistently voted to the right of its neighbors from Michigan, Pennsylvania Y Wisconsinrecalls Kondik, an analyst at the prestigious University of Virginia Center for Politics. “If Biden wins Ohio, he can win in those states. And if Trump wins Ohio by a small margin, the rest of the states are likely to lose. Ohio will likely be a reflection of other trends in the region. ” The world looks at them.

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