Thursday, November 10, 2016

Former steel town in rural Pennsylvania is a poster child for why Trump won the election

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Donald Trump's presidential victory surprised many political experts, but not residents of rural towns like Ambridge, Pa., Trip Gabriel reports for The New York Times. Blue-collar rural towns like Ambridgea former steel town, were the main reason why Trump took battleground states like Pennsylvania.

"Industrial decline and what is perceived as too fast cultural change in the country at large has transformed Ambridge and the rest of Beaver County around it, with the yards of faded brick homes presenting a river of Trump signs," Gabriel writes. While Trump won Pennsylvania by 1 percentage point, he easily won Beaver County by 20 points.

"Ambridge, like much of Pennsylvania outside Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, eagerly enlisted in Trump Nation this year," Gabriel writes. "Its largely white, less educated population (15 percent have a college degree) packed a boisterous rally that Trump held at the local high school. Clinton supporters were not invisible but kept their heads down. A radio ad by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party that ran on Sunday during the Pittsburgh Steelers game urged voters to protect gains made for working people, mentioning Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, but no one on this year’s ballot."

Jerry Kormick, a disabled construction worker, who voted for the first time, at age 37, said he "never believed polls showing Hillary Clinton ahead, not after visiting friends in rural North Carolina," Gabriel writes. Retirees Joann and Mark Crano were big Clinton supporters in 2008, but have since switched to being registered Republicans, something they say many of their friends and family also have done. Joann blames Benghazi for no longer supporting Clinton, while Mark cites her support for pro-choice and same-sex marriage laws. He told Gabriel, "If you’re a Christian, you can only vote for Trump."

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