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Signs, signs, everywhere signs

There’s a saying in politics that signs don’t vote.

I don’t necessarily agree with that.

Sure, signs in ditches or on vacant properties don’t mean anything.

But if you’ve got a Donald Trump or a Joe Biden sign in your yard, there’s a very strong chance you’re voting for your candidate.

Now imagine how hardcore you’ve got to be to have flags or even banners all over your house and / or yard.

Your sign, flag and banners aren’t going to convince other people to vote for Trump or Biden. No one is going to drive past a house with a dozen signs and three flags in the yard and go, “Oh, that puts it all into perspective. I now know who I’m supporting.”

All of this was part of an ongoing conversation I had with my wife while we were on vacation last week.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we stayed largely in northeast Ohio.

But we made the most of our time together.

It included trips to parks in Columbiana County and New Castle, Pa., as well as a couple of beaches and the harbor in Ashtabula, the Cleveland Museum of Art and to a winery with my oldest daughter in Canton.

For all of the trips, we tried to take back roads and traveled through parts of Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana, Portage, Ashtabula, Summit, Stark and Cuyahoga counties.

Some people look for out-of-town license plates or play other car games to pass the time. We counted yard signs and flags and banners.

If our drives are any indication, Trump has a solid lead in most of these counties.

In 2016, Trump won Trumbull, Ashtabula, Stark, Portage and Columbiana counties and lost Mahoning, Summit and Cuyahoga counties.

Of the nine counties that went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2012 and then Trump, a Republican, four years later, we drove through four of them: Trumbull, Ashtabula, Stark and Portage.

It was close in Mahoning with Democrat Hillary Clinton winning by 3.3 percent while she won Summit by 8.6 percent, and easily captured Cuyahoga by 35.2 percent. All have been reliably blue for decades.

This is strictly unscientific, but there were Trump signs and flags all over the place, and this was about a month before early voting starts. Someone even painted Trump on the side of their barn.

The flags are a relatively new phenomenon, starting with Trump’s victory four years ago. I was thinking people were dropping serious cash for them only to do an online search and find out you can pick them up for about $10.

But the only Biden flags I’ve seen are two on the same property down the street from where I live. Almost across from it are two other neighbors with Trump flags.

Columbiana County is filled with Trump stuff. We traveled a lot through the county and the Trump flags were flying. There were barely any Biden signs, but in a county that gave Clinton only 26.7 percent of the vote in 2016 I’m not surprised.

We didn’t do a lot of driving through Cuyahoga County, but where we did, there were hardly any political signs.

Portage had a lot of Trump signs and flags, but there was solid Biden support in Ravenna.

Biden doesn’t have to win Ohio to capture the presidency. But Trump, who won the state by 8.1 percent four years ago, must to have a chance of being re-elected.

If Biden takes Ohio, it’s over.

Polls show a very tight race between the two.

Both campaigns are on television, streaming services and social media advertising in Ohio with a larger push expected in the coming weeks.

Also, Trump’s campaign is going door-to-door during the COVID-19 pandemic while Biden’s is not. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are visiting Ohio with regularity while Biden and Kamala Harris, his vice presidential running mate, have not.

Both campaigns are calling and texting voters.

As for signs, banners and flags — maybe Biden supporters are focused on voting.

We’ll find out soon enough.

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