Our staff was so busy scrambling around covering presidential visits to Youngstown, we didn’t have time to put out a proper editorial for this issue. So, sticking with the theme of presidential visits, we decided to share a good, a bad and a weird experience from each of the presidential rallies we attended.
The Good: While seeing Sanders live is exciting, his speech was mostly what you’ve already heard him rail on in interviews and campaign ads. Seeing Ohio State Senator Nina Turner get the crowd ready with OH-IO chants and fiery calls to action was something I wasn’t expecting but was sure glad I experienced.
The Bad: Pulling back the curtain. Actually being at a rally — rather than just watching it or seeing a photo of one — really opens your eyes to the tricks used to make it seem like you’re in a packed arena. Half the Covelli Centre was empty. The energy was still palpable in the room, but it’s a little harder to get fired up when you’re staring at the back of a guy’s head and a sea of empty chairs.
The Weird: Before Sanders came out, a series of supporters addressed the crowd. There were two teamsters, the head of a local black caucus, Nina Turner — the usual. There was also a girl in pajama pants with a tambourine who rambled about voting, the media, and how she yells at cars for the Sanders cause. If an elderly Fox News viewer drew their idea of what a “liberal millennial” looked like, they would draw a more nuanced version of this girl. To be fair, the whole point of her being there was to show that even normal(ish) people have a place on the stage with Sanders, and she seemed very genuine in her speech.
The Good: There was a lot of focus on locally relevant issues. Clinton spoke a lot about protecting American manufacturing jobs and responded to the Youngstown plan by placing an emphasis on providing resources to public schools. There was also a deep bench of local political figures supporting her including Sherrod Brown, Tim Ryan, Joe Schiavoni and Capri Cafaro.
The Bad: This was not unique to the Clinton event, but the former Secretary ran a good forty-five minutes late. That — combined with the speeches by the four politicians and Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras — led some members of the audience to scream “let Hillary speak” during Sen. Brown’s remarks.
The Weird: The event was interrupted by a protester who found his way onto the press riser and held up a giant yellow sign announcing that Lebron James had salivary gland cancer caused by cell phone use. Why he thought this was the moment that message needed to be delivered is anyone’s guess.
The Good: Kasich spent a significant amount of time talking about using budget surpluses to devote resources to underprivileged citizens including drug addicts, minorities and the working poor. He placed particular emphasis on the developmentally disabled. These are demographics that do not often appear in Republican stump speeches, which is laudable.
The Bad: After Rubio’s announcement that he wouldn’t campaign in Ohio, Kasich is the only relatively sane choice for Republican voters in today’s primary. In that regard, it’s bad that the turnout for his event paled in comparison to other events held in Youngstown over the last few days. Less than 300 people attended the town hall at Brilex Industries. A far cry from the 2,000 who showed up to support Sanders down the road.
The Weird: Kasich fielded a question from the president of Valley Christian Schools who said his institution was proof that Kasich’s school choice program worked. He said that despite not paying teachers much, they graduate 99 percent of students. A teacher from the school was in the audience and when Kasich asked her why she teaches for such a low salary, she said she does it for the love of the children. He told her she would get her just rewards in Heaven. It’s unclear if the governor intended it as such, but it came off as one of the stranger justifications for neglecting to increase pay to teachers.
The Good: Trump’s supporters were extremely energetic. Before he entered the hangar, the crowd was chanting USA. After his entrance, his supporters echoed his every sentence, showing where their loyalties lay. There’s no doubt that those who like Trump are fully devoted to his ideas.
The Bad: Later in the rally, Trump blamed the media for being liars and the entire hangar turned around, booing and mocking the media representatives stationed far away from his podium. Per usual, Trump presented ideas, the crowd yelled pro-America chants and he threatened ISIS and Mexico as a whole.
The Weird: Before Trump came out to speak, a voice over the loudspeaker announced that those who protest the rally will not be tolerated. He encouraged his supporters not to take to violence, but instead chant a chorus of “Trump, Trump, Trump” and march around them until secret service escorts them out.
The editorial board that writes our editorials consists of the editor-in-chief, the managing editor, the copy editor and the news editor. These opinion pieces are written separately from news articles. They draw on the opinions of the entire writing staff and do not reflect the opinions of any individual staff member. The Jambar’s business manager and non-writing staff do not contribute to editorials, and the adviser does not have final approval.