President Donald Trump complained to the thousands of supporters who turned out for Thursday night’s campaign rally in Toledo that, once again, he has been overlooked for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Then he went on to call Rep. Adam Schiff “pencil neck;” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “isn’t operating with a full deck;” and again tagged Sen. Bernie Sanders as “Crazy Bernie.”
Welcome to Campaign 2020 in bellwether Ohio.
For months you’ve heard it is going to be a mean-spirited campaign with both Republicans and Democrats playing fast and loose with the truth. That certainly was the case as the bell rang for Round One in the battle to secure Ohio’s 18 electoral votes.
It was a night of tough talk by Trump with many contradictions and little solutions. For 90 minutes, he pumped up the boisterous crowd and patted himself on the back. In that way, it was like any other Trump rally, or for that matter, anyone of his opponents’ rallies.
This one, however, came against the backdrop of impeachment and occurred just hours after the Democrat-controlled U.S. House considered a move to limit the president’s response to Iran through a war powers resolution.
It also came one day after Trump had been praised by critics and congressional members across the aisle for showing restraint and toning down his rhetoric as tensions brought the U.S. and Iran to the brink of war.
How did the president react?
A world that thought the leaders of the two nations came to their senses instead witnessed Trump lighting the fuse again. He played to his base by boasting that he served “American justice” when he ordered the drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian general of terror who was responsible for the deaths of an untold number of Americans. What didn’t happen was any mention of a White House strategy to force Iran to totally abandon its nuclear program.
Trump’s rally in Ohio — his 15th visit to the Buckeye state since being elected president — was staged to remind voters that the country is now in better shape than it was three years ago before he took office.
The president centered much of his time during the Toledo rally talking about the low unemployment rate and solid national economy — two things that are indisputable for the country as a whole.
What wasn’t said is that the Midwest — and Ohio in particular — is seeing signs of an economic slowdown, something that could hurt Trump in the November election should the Democrats produce a viable candidate, which by the way, hasn’t come close to happening yet.
Just last week Crown Equipment — one of Ohio’s largest employers — announced voluntary layoffs.
Also, the state’s job creation figures coming out later this month are expected to show Ohio actually lost jobs in 2019, the state’s worst year since it started adding jobs in 2010, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Job growth in Ohio currently ranks 39th out of 50 states. There are fewer jobs in Ohio today than there were in the year 2000.
All of that said, one thing stands out from Trump’s visit: On a cold January night in Toledo, Ohio, a known Democratic stronghold, Donald Trump was able to fill the 10,000 seat Huntington Center with hundreds of more supporters standing outside.
The lesson here:
It’s unlikely Democrats can win Ohio in 2020. If the state swings, it will be because Donald Trump lost it.