The Economist Shines A Light On Blue-Collar Workers In Findlay

logo for the magazine The Economist

A columnist for the venerable European publication ‘The Economist’ visited Findlay before the recent Ohio election primary and did a good job highlighting the inconsistent views of a white blue collar electorate who tend to vote against their own best interests.

I’m sure some Findlay promoters would take exception to describing Findlay as “a frayed-at-the-edges town of 41,000 people” but the rest of the article seemed spot on.

A day before the Ohio primary Lexington travelled to Findlay, a frayed-at-the-edges town of 41,000 people which is home to one of Ohio’s larger tyre plants. The smell of cooking rubber hangs over its streets. Twice under Mr Obama, anti-dumping tariffs of up to 88% have been slapped on imported Chinese tyres at the prodding of the United Steelworkers union (USW), to protect jobs at plants including the Cooper Tire & Rubber factory in Findlay. Mr Obama cited the tariffs in his state-of-the-union message in 2012, declaring: “Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tyres.”

Such tariffs are rare, making Findlay’s tyre-builders an unusually well-protected minority. Their plant offers a glimpse of what might happen if a President Trump (or Sanders) fulfils his promise to use tariffs and taxes to keep manufacturing jobs in America. Economically trade barriers are a bad and harmful idea, but what Findlay offers is a case study in the politics of trade.

An evening shift-change saw lines of men leave the Cooper plant, lunch-boxes in hand. Most felt that tariffs on China had helped them: one called them a “game-changer” that had saved jobs and prompted extra shifts. But, strikingly, praise for the president was mostly dwarfed by anger at the state of the country. Some workers said they were Democrats but felt underwhelmed by Mr Obama. Others, Republicans, expressed suspicion verging on contempt for the president. Mr Obama is “the worst fucking piece of shit in this country, he should move to China”, spat a bearded worker in a camouflage hunting jacket who declined to give his name, turning back to add, pre-emptively: “And I’ve got black friends, so it isn’t that.” Another worker, Josh Wilkerson, a Trump supporter, said that anti-China tariffs were good, but he shared his colleague’s belief that, mostly, “Obama is for the people who don’t work.”

The view from the rustbelt

The sum of the viewpoint of some of the Cooper workers is “Obama helped us keep our jobs but he still sucks….”

I understand, and have said myself, that politics shouldn’t just be a one note tune. People should take the whole of a potential leader and decide if one should support them for office.

Some people have false ideas about a candidate. If their view of the whole is so distorted then how can one make an informed choice?

Republicans play into the misinformed electorate by hyping false narratives and by stoking fears of the “other”.

The Economist article pointed out that not all blue collar workers are raving bigots.

In dozens of interviews at the tyre plant, one person backed Mrs Clinton: Rod Nelson, president of the Cooper plant’s union branch, Local 207L of the United Steelworkers, and that was in the “realist” belief that she will be the Democratic nominee. At Lexington’s request, Mr Nelson gathered ten Cooper workers for a group interview. Asked to sum up Mr Obama, the men replied variously that he was a good man, a disappointment, a “great speech-giver”, a victim of Republican obstruction in Congress and a man who had failed to rein in the super-rich and their influence over politics. The president was praised for bailing out the car sector and other industries soon after taking office. He was thanked for tariffs on China, but his support for the TPP caused baffled dismay. Mr Nelson ventured that perhaps the president is using trade as “a diplomatic tool” to win allies.

Workers at a tire plant like Cooper aren’t all stupid or bigots but candidates need to address the issues these people care about like jobs and putting healthy food on the table for the family.

Fear-mongering rants, like building a wall to keep the Muslims out, are just a side show and doesn’t speak to the real issues people care about. I wish the mainstream media here in the US would get on the same page as The Economist.

Gov. John Kasich’s Lame ‘Great White Hope’ Play For The Nomination

picture of Ohio Governor John Kasich
Ohio Governor John Kasich, the GOP’s ‘Great White Hope’??

After finishing a long distant second in the New Hampshire primary, Ohio Governor John Kasich’s plan to be the GOP’s ‘Great White Hope’ seems to be moving along. Now it seems the media is finally looking more closely at Kasich’s record in Ohio. We’ve been screaming about his lies ever since he joined the race for President.

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If You Think President Obama Failed To Unify The Country Then Blame The GOP

image of President Obama speaking
President Obama

President Barack Obama has started his legacy tour as his final year in office starts. He is giving interviews that review all that he has accomplished in his time in office. During these interviews, the beltway media keep asking him why he didn’t unite the country like he promised as if he is the only one at fault. The problem of polarization lies completely at the feet of the GOP and their media lackeys.

Here is part of an interview that the President gave to the CBS Sunday Morning show on January 24th:

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Ohio Press Group Says We Deserve Better Political Reporting

offical image Dennis Hetzel, executive director of the Ohio Newspaper Association and president of the Ohio Coalition for Open Government
Dennis Hetzel, executive director of the Ohio Newspaper Association and president of the Ohio Coalition for Open Government

I found an interesting guest column in my local paper the other day from Dennis Hetzel, who is executive director of the Ohio Newspaper Association and president of the Ohio Coalition for Open Government. In his column, he admits that journalists in Ohio need to do a better job in reporting on the upcoming elections. Hetzel believes it should be based on issues and not the horse race. I’ve been complaining about that for years and I’m glad Hetzel offers some solutions.

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You Can’t Complain About Syrian Refugees AND Complain About Trump’s Plan To Ban Muslims Entering The US

Donald Trump Hitler Salute

Donald Trump continued his Internet comment section campaign for the Presidency by offering an idea to ban Muslims from entering the US. While a majority of normal Americans and most of the other GOP presidential candidates rejected his idea, it seems some of them forgot that not even a month ago they advocated keeping out refugees from Syria due to unfounded worries that Syrian immigrants were terrorists. We know that logic fails the GOP more times than not, but you can’t complain about Syrian refugees AND complain about Trump’s plan to ban Muslims.

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