William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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THE GREAT SALENA – OVERNIGHT:  In my view, Salena Zito is the best political reporter writing today.  She actually goes out and talks to real people, the kind who work and vote.  She is a journalistic scandal.  She also leans right, which is why she'll never be given a Pulitzer Prize.  Why does the establishment let her have a computer?

Now Zito is examining the shifts in voter patters, shifts to the Republican side in Ohio.  From the Washington Examiner: 

NILES, Ohio — Not all that long ago if you were a Republican in Trumbull County — in truth, there weren’t that many Republicans around here not that long ago — you likely cast your vote for Tim Ryan for Congress every time he was up for reelection for his congressional seat.

Just four years ago, and two years after former President Donald Trump shockingly won his home county in the 2016 presidential election, Ryan still managed to coast to victory for a ninth term in the House, winning his home county by just shy of 60 percentage points. That number, however, had fallen from the over 70% he used to enjoy in previous cycles.

It wasn’t really the 10-point shift Ryan should have paid attention to — it was that it happened in the “Valley.” Things were changing in the Buckeye State.

Youngstown State University political science professor Paul Sracic explained that if you had to look to just one place in the United States to understand the political earthquake that has occurred over the last six years, the eastern border of Ohio would be a good place to start. “It was once dark blue, reflecting the working-class roots of most in the area and the historic tie between organized labor and the Democratic Party,” he said.

Sracic said 2020 was the real game changer for Republicans in this state. “Every county from Ashtabula County, bordering on Lake Erie, down along the Ohio River, down to Lawrence County, with the exception of Athens County, home to Ohio University, voted for Donald Trump,” he said.

In truth, these voters were instinctively social conservatives, and some of the counties were beginning to peel off slowly from the Democratic Party even before 2016.

In 2020, Ryan lost his home county, where voters used to joke they were baptized both Catholic and Democratic shortly after birth, by over 1.5 percentage points.

He still narrowly won his seat despite that mind-warping swing in his home county thanks to a congressional map that made his seat one of the most Democratic districts in Ohio.

Ryan told me it stung at the time (he did not return a request to comment for this story) and that 2020 was a tough year for a lot of centrist Democrats, and none of them saw it coming.

Going into that cycle, Democrats were projected to gain 15 to 20 House seats — instead, they lost 13 seats.

Two years later, Ryan is running for the Senate against Republican J.D. Vance, and one of the most remarkable aspects of this race is that the five counties of Mahoning, Portage, Stark, Summit, and Trumbull that make up the legendary Valley and Ryan’s congressional seat may be the hardest counties for him to win.

COMMENT:  A great report, as usual.   Please read the rest.  The key question is whether these trends will continue, and whether Donald Trump's presence or absence will make a difference. These voters believed in Trump because he understood them.  He never spoke about theoretical ideologies.  He spoke bread and butter. 

We're five months from the midterms.  The predictions are for a Republican sweep.  I'll believe it when I see it, and not before.

June 12, 2022