Trump is vulnerable in the Rust Belt because he made such extravagant promises when he successfully wooed voters in 2016. “He won this area — a largely Democratic area — and he has not said a word yet, and that’s just pathetic,” warned Jim Graham, a former union leader at GM Lordstown, during an interview with the Vindicator back in November, when GM said it planned to halt Cruze production there.
Local residents remember Trump’s proclamation at a July 2017 rally in nearby Youngstown: “Those jobs [that] have left Ohio, they’re all coming back . . . Don’t sell your house.” Tommy Wolikow, a former Lordstown worker, told the Vindicator: “I kind of turned into a Trump supporter at that time. I believed what he said. Almost two years later, I’m seeing nothing but job losses.”
Homeowners in Youngstown certainly haven’t seen a boom. According to Zillow, the online realty broker, the median price of homes currently listed in Youngstown is $39,900. The national median price of homes currently listed is $279,000. Browse the real estate ads for factory towns across Ohio and Pennsylvania and you’ll see just how tough it is to be a Rust Belt resident, trapped in a downward cycle.