YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As voters cast their early ballots for the Ohio presidential primary, more than just a few are picking up Republican forms for the very first time.
“I just think it’s the lesser of two evils, I really do. I just think Hillary doesn’t have a lot to bring to the table, I think Trump does,” Debbie Myers of Canfield said.
Local election directors said that out of roughly seven thousand absentee ballots cast already in Mahoning County, a thousand of them were from people who voted Democrat in the past but are changing this time. Mahoning County Democratic Chairman Dave Betras said he’s not surprised.
“Donald Trump is a phenomenon,” Betras said. “He has sort of gone in and upset the apple cart of everyone.”
But Betras said it won’t last, once voters learn more about the candidate.
“Well Donald Trump is anti-worker,” Betras said. “He has said American workers make too much money, he’s anti-union, he’s against the minimum wage.”
But YSU Political Science Chairman Paul Sracic, who wrote an op-ed this week about Trump for the Washington Post, said voters already know plenty.
“The whole theory has always been that Trump’s popularity’s gonna fade when people learn more and more about him, and that’s proven false over and over again,” Sracic said.
Both Sracic and Betras agree Trump’s message is what’s winning support locally, reminding them of another populist politician, Jim Traficant.
“Even if we don’t agree with everything he says, he says what he means, he talks like we talk, and people like that,” Sracic said. “He’s a Jim Traficant with better clothes.”
Ayana Gazca is voting for the very first time and doesn’t like what Trump’s saying about immigration.
“And the thing is, my family, my mom’s side of the family is from Mexico, so I’m like, ‘No, I can’t do that, ’cause that’s my family.”
For now, Sracic thinks Trump is scaring both sides, Republicans who don’t think he can win it all and Democrats who think he just might.