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2018 was a big election year in Ohio. Republicans held onto all five statewide executive offices including governor and super majorities in both the Ohio House and Senate. But there were a few bright spots for Democrats, among them the reelection of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and the election of two Democrats to the Ohio Supreme Court.With election 2018 over, the focus now shifts to governing. Stay connected with the latest on politics, policies and people making the decisions at all levels affecting your lives.

Trump Draws Thousands To Brook Park, Condemns a Dishonest Media

Trump and Pence

It was another weekend of presidential campaigning in Northeast Ohio. Donald Trump attracted thousands of people to the I-X Center in Brook Park, 24-hours after Hillary Clinton appeared before about 1,500 at Cuyahoga Community College.

Surrogates for Hillary Clinton staged an event before Trump's appearance; just as Trump supporters lined up outside Clinton's speech.

Trump spoke for about 45 minutes on Saturday night before an enthusiastic crowd, outlining his plans for his first 100 days in office and injecting some humor into his familiar notes about rigged elections and voter fraud.

“There are 1.8 million dead people that are registered right now to vote. And folks: some of them vote. I wonder why? I wonder how that happens. Maybe they’ll vote for Trump, I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t be saying anything.”

The appearance at the I-X Center in Brook Park was similar to a rally he held there in March. That was a simpler time for Trump, when he was on an upward trajectory and didn’t have to deal with the “Access Hollywood tape” of Trump making lewd remarks about women.

In recent weeks, national polls have shown declining support for Trump, and a Washington Post article on Friday titled “Trump in a Funk” portrayed an increasingly depressed candidate.

'No honest media'
But that doesn’t hold water with Vivian Luther from North Royalton, who was at the I-X Center on Saturday.

“The media just made it seem that way. The media’s against him. I’m really tired of the media. Now it’s just clear to the American people that we have no real, honest media in this country anymore. And that’s dangerous.”

Luther did say that Trump seemed buoyed by the new talking points of what he would do during his first 100 days. One point – calling for an investigation into the Clinton Foundation – resonated with Luther. Another attendee at Saturday’s event, Kevin Ellerbe from Youngstown, likes Trump’s plan to levy tariffs on companies that move jobs overseas. And he says Trump seems energized after the third debate.

“Regardless of how the media has tried to beat him up, I think he has a really, really strong base that supports him and also kind of gives him that extra kick and says, ‘Hey man, we see through a lot of the garbage that’s been thrown, and we’ve still got your back.' So that in itself, I think, has encouraged him to continue to fight and fight.”

Ellerbe, who is black, says more people would support Trump if they listened past what the media is saying about him.

photo of Michael Kilbane, Harriet Applegate
Michael Kilbane (speaking), of Ironworkers Local 17, appeared at an event at UAW Local 1250 just hours before the I-X Center rally. He says Ohio is still in-play for Donald Trump.

“When you see a group of people, you say, ‘What is the most important topic to that group of people. Hmmm, they’re black? Probably race.'

"So now, let’s paint Donald Trump as a racist without actually saying he’s a racist. But we’re going to say he said, ‘Black people: what do you have to lose?’ Look at that: what kind of person would say that? Obviously someone who’s biased and maybe a bigot.’ They don’t say he is. They just throw it out there and suggest it.”

Ohio is in-play
Trump briefly reiterated his “what have you got to lose” pitch to black and Latino voters on Saturday. National polls show him lagging far behind Hillary Clinton with minorities. In Ohio, overall polls show the two candidates in a dead heat.

That fact was not lost on union officials who held a brief press conference earlier in the day at UAW Local 1250 near the I-X Center.

They gathered to blast Trump for buying Chinese steel. Michael Kilbane, a member of Ironworkers Local 17 and a Fairview Park councilman, said Ohio is still very much in-play this election, and that includes historically Democratic Cuyahoga County.

“No Republican presidential candidate has ever won without Ohio. And Cuyahoga County is a very progressive voice for Ohio and basically put Barack Obama where he is, twice.”

Harriet Applegate, executive secretary with the North Shore AFL-CIO, echoed Kilbane’s comments, adding, “The people in Cuyahoga County and in Cleveland are good people. They’re solid. They’re reasonable and friendly and decent.

"Trump is none of those things and I’m hopeful that people will vote about basic human values here. It’s almost not about issues anymore. And I think Hillary put that very well in her third debate: What kind of people are we, what kind of country are we, and what do we want to be?”

Both campaigns are expected to focus heavily on Ohio in the remaining weeks before Election Day. Vice-President Joe Biden will be in Ohio tomorrow, including a stop in Cleveland. And Trump running mate Mike Pence will be in Ohio again Tuesday.