Trump Winning Ohio, One Yard Sign at a Time
September in Ohio, as across much of the country, means it’s time for regional fall fairs and festivals. For my home town of Beavercreek, in Greene County, the weekend after Labor Day brings the closing off of a section of Dayton-Xenia Road to make room for the annual Beavercreek Popcorn Festival. The festival is visited by many thousands of visitors from surrounding counties.
Besides the rows of vendors selling endless varieties of popcorn and other novelty foods, the festival hosts a 5K run, an antique car show, and long rows of tents where vendors and civic, school, church and other clubs sell bric-a-brac, pass out literature, and otherwise try to entice passersby to stop and give them a look. There is also a “political alley.”
The political alley is the section of the festival allocated to all things political. Political parties and causes set up booths there, as well as candidates running for various offices. For the past 20+ years I’ve lived here, it has always been located slightly off the festival’s beaten path. However, despite its location, it gets a fair share of people traffic.
I’ve been involved with the Greene County Republican Party for a number of years, and this year, I once again helped staff the party’s Popcorn Festival booth. To our left was the official Trump campaign tent and to our right was a local Republican women’s tent. Across and slightly down the path from us was a single Greene County Democrat Party booth.
Traffic at the three Trump/GOP booths was heavy with people wanting Trump stickers, yard signs, “Make America Great Again” hats and t-shirts, and other campaign material. Many complained that their original yard signs were stolen. A big hit was anything promoting a “Hillary for Prison” message.
We rapidly ran out of yard signs, even though we were charging $5 a piece for them. We told people we were expecting 2,000 free signs from Trump’s campaign and they would be available at our headquarters later in the week. When they came, those vanished within a week. On the other hand, traffic at the Democrat tent was light. I saw a few people visiting the booth and even fewer carrying off Hillary signs.
Talking to visitors at our booth, as they ate unidentifiable fried foods followed by unidentifiable melting desserts, I was surprised at the level of support that existed for Trump, even if only as an extension of a greater dislike of Clinton. I was surprised because of the early vocal opposition expressed by the Never Trumpers, and the disappointment by many voters along with their hesitation to admit they just might have to vote for Trump. It seems the tide has turned, the Never Trump movement has lost its roar, and Trump disappointment has turned into Trump enthusiasm.
It could be argued my conclusion is anecdotal. However, as we step back and look at a greater part of Ohio, my observations seem to have some support.