Youngstown, Ohio, situated between Pittsburgh and Cleveland was at one time a major powerhouse in the Northeast economy. Steel produced in Youngstown sold alongside that produced by Pittsburgh and other cities located in what is now colloquially referred to as the "Rust Belt."
While the reasons for the collapse of the Youngstown steel industry are debatable, it is an undeniable fact in Youngstown history. September 19, 1977 marked the beginning of the downward slide for manufacturing jobs in the Mahoning Valley. The 19th, spoken of by residents of Youngstown simply as Black Monday, was the day that Youngstown Sheet and Tube closed its doors.
Of major political concern in the Valley this election season is the protection of those manufacturing jobs that still exist. Worries about tax cuts given to companies that outsource their labor linger. Political attack ads show one candidate in the Presidential Election voting for a tax cut for a company that replaced its employees with outsourced labor; but not before ordering the former employees to disassemble their equipment for transport overseas.
While race, age, and experience are certainly major focal areas this election, I can’t help but wonder how the history and issues affecting Youngstown will lead its residents to vote.