How did this bellwether turn so reliably red? Many point to the demographic tables showing Ohio growing increasingly older, less diverse and less educated than the national average. Ohio’s population has, compared to the nation as a whole, less than half the percentage of Asians, one-fifth the percentage of Hispanics and Latinos and about one-third the percentage of foreign-born residents.
Others cite cultural issues arguing that rural Ohioans see the national Democratic Party and its leaders as out of sync with their beliefs on guns and abortion. While Ohio is located about 1,400 miles from the Mexican border, Ohioans identified immigration as the second-most-important issue in the 2018 election. Among those highly concerned about immigration, now-Gov. Mike DeWine (R) won 83 percent of their votes.
For Ohio Democrats, the lone bright spot now is Brown, a third-term senator with a populist bent. Yet even his vote totals reveal in their own way the state’s inexorable right turn.