Political history made Tuesday with Trump leading the pack


On the side

Among the biggest winners from this presidential election are the mainstream media, and the talking heads on liberal TV networks, most notably MSNBC.

Why? Because they’ll have at least four years of Republican Donald Trump as president, who will continue to provide enough material for compelling news articles and idiotic talk.

And among the biggest losers? Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who positioned himself as the anti-Trump. He was setting himself up for a quixotic 2020 presidential election – not to be confused with his quixotic election bid this year.

As we say in New York City: “Fuhgeddaboudit.”

There were many interesting results from a historical Election Day.

Here are some of my observations.

Republican Donald Trump’s strong victory in the Electoral College – sorry Democrats, but as you know from the 2000 election, the popular vote doesn’t come with a consolation prize – was impressive.

His 8.54 point margin of victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential race in Ohio shows that we weren’t a battleground at all. Well, I suppose it was a battleground if you compare it to a war in which one side completely massacres the other.

The vote in the Mahoning Valley was a good indication of how rough the election was for Clinton in Ohio.

It was historic in many ways.

Trump was the first non- incumbent Republican in 88 years to win Trumbull County. Back in 1928, Trumbull and Mahoning counties were Republican strongholds.

That changed in 1936, and until Tuesday, both counties backed Democrats for president in every race except for Dwight D. Eisenhower in his 1956 re-election and Richard M. Nixon in his 1972 re-election. Both of those were lopsided national presidential elections.

Clinton’s failure to get to 50 percent of the vote in Mahoning County – she got 49.3 percent compared to 46.4 percent for Trump – is the first time in 84 years, except the 1956 and 1972 elections, that the Democratic presidential candidate failed to reach 50 percent of the vote here.

Also, she has the dubious distinction of being the only Democrat to ever win Mahoning County with less than 50 percent of the vote.

Trump’s 68 percent in Columbiana County was the most for a Republican there since 1928.

While Clinton had a bad night in the Mahoning Valley, it was worse for ex-Gov. Ted Strickland, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate.

Strickland, who represented Mahoning and Columbiana counties in Congress for six years, lost to incumbent Republican Rob Portman in the Valley.

In what should be Strickland’s last election, he lost by 4.3 percentage points in Mahoning and by 12.8 percentage points in Trumbull. The two counties again are Democratic strongholds.

Strickland once called Columbiana County home. They didn’t treat him like a neighbor giving him only 25.9 percent of the vote.

That’s the lowest percentage of any candidate who ran in Columbiana County in this election.

It’s staggering when you consider that even Democrat Mike Lorentz, who barely campaigned for the 6th Congressional District seat and hardly spent any money, got more votes and a higher percentage than Strickland.

And U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, the Republican incumbent and Lorentz’s opponent, got 71.8 percent of the vote.

While Clinton lost in Trumbull and won by less than 3 percent in Mahoning and Portman beat Strickland in both, Democrats on the county level did exceptionally well.

Many voters in the two counties split the ticket with Democrats having clean sweeps of every county office in Mahoning and Trumbull.

In Mahoning, every countywide officeholder got at least 61.8 percent of the vote (Treasurer Daniel R. Yemma) to 66.9 percent of the vote for Commissioner Anthony T. Traficanti, likely the most popular politician in the county.

“My biggest disappointment was the local races as we had our best crop of candidates in many, many years,” county Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe told me on election night. “It’s heartbreaking to see so many of them lose. It’s a credit to the continued strength of the local Democratic Party.”

Particularly crushing to Munroe and other county Republicans was the loss of Judge Shirley Christian of common pleas court – a Republican though judicial candidates don’t run with party affiliations.

The judge lost to Anthony M. D’Apolito and it wasn’t close with D’Apolito, backed by Democrats, getting 61.5 percent of the vote.

D’Apolito’s victory was particularly sweet to him as he was denied an opportunity to run for the seat two years ago.

That happened because of a dispute between retiring Judge James C. Evans, now deceased, and Judge Lou A. D’Apolito, the judge-elect’s father. Both were Democrats.

Evans opted to delay his retirement in order to have Republican Gov. John Kasich make an appointment rather than let voters decide who would fill out the remaining of his term, which ends this Dec. 31.

The countywide Democratic officeholders were all re-elected in Trumbull by comfortable margins except Commissioner Dan Polivka, who is also the county Democratic Party chairman.

Polivka won by only 6.6 percent and barely got half the vote with 50.4 percent.

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