“I Regret Voting For Him”: Ohioans Express Regret For Voting Trump
Ohioans affected by General Motors’ decision to close its plant in Lordstown are questioning their support for President Donald Trump now that he hasn’t kept his promise of bringing back jobs, according to The Guardian.
The GM plant, the size of more than 100 football fields, had long been the heart of Lordstown – as recently as 2016, it employed 4,500 workers, and in its 53-year history, it produced 16m vehicles. Built alongside I-80, the hulking plant has long been a monument to America’s industrial might, or perhaps one should say its fading industrial might.
- GM announced in November 2018 that it would shutter the plant, even though “the company had received $60m in state subsidies, and had promised in return to keep the plant open through 2027.”
- But the decision did not only produce anger toward GM for many employees; they also felt betrayed by Trump.
- “During the 2016 campaign, he repeatedly proclaimed that he would make American manufacturing great again and would bring back jobs that had gone overseas,” The Guardian noted. “That message resonated in Lordstown and nearby Youngstown, part of the Mahoning Valley area that has been dragged down for decades by one factory and steel mill closing after another.”
In July 2017, Trump spoke in Youngstown and told the crowd that on his way in from the airport, he had seen the carcasses of too many factories and mills. He bemoaned Ohio’s loss of manufacturing jobs, but then boldly assured the crowd: “They’re all coming back!” He next told his audience, many of them workers worried about plant closings: “Don’t move! Don’t sell your house!”
- For the GM workers who were laid off, thinking back on that speech draws anger. Many of them were forced to move to other cities in search of work.
- Trump won somewhere around 30 to 40 percent of Lordstown workers’ votes, according to union officials.
- Trish Amato, who once worked at the GM plant, told The Guardian that people in the traditionally Democratic stronghold felt Trump was the “lesser of two evils.”
“Let’s not have a lifetime politician in there. Let’s get some change.
“Since so many of the steel mills closed, there isn’t much here economically,” Amato added. “They were hoping or praying that Trump would bring something here.” The workers were wowed, she said, by his promises to bring back jobs and his being a seemingly successful businessman.
- Jason Markovich said he believed Trump “was going to protect us.” He told The Guardian:
“I voted for him [the first time he ever voted for a Republican for president]. I watched The Apprentice. I loved that show. That’s kind of person I wanted. I thought that’s the guy who’s going to keep my job another four to eight years. I just felt Trump was more business-qualified … I thought he would support blue-collar people.”
- But Markovich has since soured on Trump, who he says didn’t do enough to save the GM plant or keep his promises.
“I don’t like where our country is right now,” Markovich said. “I don’t like where our valley is. The rich are getting richer, and the middle class is getting squeezed. I don’t think our country can handle another four years of Donald Trump.” He added that Trump “has dropped the ball big time” in how he has handled Covid-19. He likes Biden – he once shook Biden’s hand when Biden was visiting the Mahoning Valley. But he said: “I’d vote for anyone who was running against Trump.”
- Tammy Vennetti voted for Trump in 2016, too. She also lost her job of 25 years when the GM plant closed.
“I regret in a way voting for Trump. I really do.” She is still fuming about his do-not-sell-your home remarks in Youngstown. “He promised that nobody was going to have to sell their homes. He said they [GM] were going to stay. That’s why I can’t vote for him this year.”