by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Those of us born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, know that our home city is considered one of the most average communities in the United States — in every sense of the word “average.” John Fund of National Review Online explains how Columbus’ key trait applies to American politics.
Everyone who’s looking for midterm clues is watching Tuesday’s special election for Congress in Ohio’s twelfth congressional district, which includes part of Columbus. President Trump inserted himself into the race by holding a rally for GOP candidate Troy Balderson on Saturday, so the election will also be viewed as a referendum on him. The latest independent poll by Monmouth University shows Balderson with a razor-thin lead, 44 to 43 percent, over Democrat Dennis O’Connor.
It’s appropriate that Columbus is holding such a bellwether race. The area has long been known as a favorite for companies testing products. Its demographics are almost identical to those of the rest of the country. “It was a microcosm of the U.S., in that what happens here will probably happen elsewhere,” Shashi Matta, at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business, told Columbus Monthly in 2015.
Small wonder then that Tuesday’s special election there is getting so much attention. …
… The irony is that President Trump’s policies are actually gaining in popularity, with approval of his handling of the economy now over 50 percent. But his personal ratings continue to languish in the mid 40s — just about the level of Barack Obama’s and Bill Clinton’s when Democrats suffered historic midterm losses in the first midterm of each of their presidencies.
Trump himself seems to have decided that if he has become the issue for many voters, then he is going to make sure he remains the the center of attention.