CNN looks at Trump in Trumbull

Commentator seeks reasons for vote switch by visiting Warren

Trumbull County Republican Party Chairman Randy Law tells CNN Commentator Van Jones about the history of CSC Steel Ltd. and other plants that closed down in the area as part of his explanation of why some longtime Democrats voted for President-Elect Donald Trump.

WARREN — President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in Ohio wasn’t a total surprise to some political pundits, but his win in the Democratic stronghold of Trumbull County — which hasn’t voted for a GOP presidential candidate since the early 1970s — caught many across the state and the U.S. off guard.

And it’s the reason why CNN was in Warren on Monday, to learn what caused the previously reliable Democratic area to change color from blue to red.

“What I’ve learned is Donald Trump voters have a wide range of views,” said Van Jones, a commentator for CNN. “There were things that he said during the campaign that liberal Democrats believed would turn off voters, but those issues fell down the list of issues Trump voters cared about.”

“The economic message was most important to Trump voters,” Jones said.

Chuck Hadad, a supervising producer with CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, who has been researching the story for a week, agreed the jobs message transcended everything else this presidential election season.

“There were other issues that some voters mentioned, including the handling of Veterans Affairs that some voters thought Donald Trump would handle better,” he said. “We also talked about the effect of opioids in the community. It may not have been a major voting issue, but it’s having a devastating effect on families.”

Hadad said the decision to focus on Trumbull County was because of all of Ohio’s 88 counties, voters there solidly supported Democratic presidential candidates longer than any other county.

The crew went to the home of one Warren family whose patriarch, a longtime Democrat, voted for Donald Trump, as did the man’s three sons.

“This is a family that voted for Obama during the 2012 election,” Hadad said. “They felt that Donald Trump would do better for them and for Ohio.”

Trumbull County Republican Party Chairman Randy Law gave Jones and the CNN crew a tour of various places in the Warren area, including the former RG Steel plant, the former Copperweld Steel Corporation plant and the Delphi Packard Electric plant.

Law told Jones about Warren and Trumbull County during the 1960s and the 1970s when the steel mills were humming and blue collar factory jobs were easy to find. The GOP chairman also talked about the closing of the mills and the economic devastation that caused to generations of blue color families.

A former state representative, Law said he learned to work with his Democratic party counterparts.

“My goal has been to get things done,” Law said. “I get along with Dan Polivka, the Trumbull County Democratic chairman. We have to be able to talk to one another.”

In that, Law and Jones share a common belief that members of the Democratic and Republican parties, not only at the top, but also on the local level, must find ways to talk to, instead of at one another.

“There must be a bridge of respect between conservatives and progressives, amongst ordinary people, or else there will be more and more gridlock,” Jones said. “We have to learn to talk to each other again.”

The crew also interviewed two college-aged Republican women, Laurencia Canzonetta, a senior at Youngstown State University and Marcy Angelo, who graduated from YSU last year, at the Mocha House in Warren.

Canzonetta, 21, of Howland, the president of the YSU College Conservatives, said the interview with Jones was about 90 minutes long and topics ranged from immigration, race and the economy.

The interviews are slotted to air on Anderson Cooper 360 between 8 and 10 p.m. Monday.