A lack of messaging and yard signs contributed to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in Ohio, local Democrats said in a gripe session with the state Democratic chairman Monday night.
State Chairman David Pepper led the discussion involving about 70 people from Lucas County and surrounding counties at Lucas County headquarters, 1917 Madison Ave.
“There was no message. There were so many issues in the Democratic Party that were not addressed,” said Sam Golden, of Toledo. “The Democrats cannot articulate what’s going on in this country.”
Others said Republican Donald Trump stole the issue of good working-class jobs from the Democrats, promising to bring jobs back to the United States.
Patrick Arnold, a senior at Ottawa Hills High School, said the Democratic Party leaned too much on calling Mr. Trump a racist and a sexist, which may have not been a priority to someone worried about his job going to Mexico.
“We have to show we care about climate change and homophobia. We are also pro-working people. We need to refocus our message,” Mr. Arnold said.
Mr. Pepper said he has held similar sessions to rehash the defeat of 2016 in other Ohio cities. He said he wants to hear what went wrong — or right, as the case was in a few local races — and then focus on the elections of 2018 and 2020.
Diana Pierce of Sylvania said she volunteered for Hillary Clinton and was disappointed the campaign wasn’t interested in sending yard signs to people who requested them.
“The whole thing seemed very disjointed, very disorganized,” Ms. Pierce said.
Mr. Pepper read some analysis of the vote count, and said Mrs. Clinton did well in the biggest counties, such as Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Hamilton counties, but not as well in the next tier of large counties, such as Lucas, Montgomery, and Mahoning counties, and did poorly in the “small, red counties.”
As an example, he said President Obama got 40 percent of the vote in 46 counties, while Mrs. Clinton got to 40 percent of the vote in only 13 counties.
“In these smaller red counties it became just an absolute rout,” Mr. Pepper said.
He said that, historically, elections in which the party suffered a crushing defeat were followed by an election with a great victory.
He said whoever wants to be the Democratic nominee in 2020 is going to have to earn it. “There is no next-in-line for the Democratic Party anymore,” Mr. Pepper said.
Several speakers noted that Mr. Trump held rallies in three large halls in Toledo, while Mrs. Clinton held her sole rally in the Amtrak station and Vice President Joe Biden’s appearance in Toledo took place on the roof of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.
“It gave the impression that Hillary was not capable of filling up a large space,” said Brenda Hill, a retired teacher and now chairman of the Lucas County Board of Elections. “It’s not true but it gave that impression.”
Andy Pawuk of Perrysburg said, “There was no support for Hillary in this election. I’d like to know why they wrote Ohio off so early.”
Mr. Pepper didn’t agree that Ohio was written off. He said the Clinton campaign focused too long on voter registration and not long enough on voter persuasion.
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