For northeast Ohio and for the Youngstown area in particular Labor day holds a special place: it is the time of the Canfield Fair. The Canfield Fair is the largest county fair in the state of Ohio and 3rd largest in the country. Every election year you can bet that at least a few candidates will make a stop at the fair: the venue is just too promising to pass up. This year the fair was lucky enough to host two different politicians: Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump.
Their visits could not have been more different.
Before we jump into the stark difference of these two visits it’s important to recognize the political climate of the area. The Canfield Fair is located in Mahoning County, one of the most heavily democratic areas in the state of Ohio. However, Mahoning County had the notoriety during this recent primary season of seeing over 6,000 Democrats cross over to take Republican ballots, most likely to vote for Trump as he won the county handily (although Trump lost the state overall to Governor John Kasich). Now the number of registered Democrats to registered Republicans is almost equal in the county. It’s safe to say that Trump has a base of support in Mahoning County that Republicans traditionally do not enjoy.
The fair this weekend was a great example.
Joe Biden visited the Canfield Fair on Thursday, the second day of the fair. Vice President Biden first arrived in the Mahoning Valley to a only half-full UAW Union Hall. Let’s repeat this: in the Democrat stronghold of the Mahoning Valley, in a UAW Hall not far from the GM Lordstown plant, the Vice President of the United States could not fill a space campaigning for Hillary Clinton. After the travesty of a first stop Biden then stopped by the Canfield Fairground at the local Democrat Party tent to another modest crowd. Biden was driven up to the tent in his limo, jumped out for some photos and then headed out.
I believe Mr. Trump would call this very low energy.
The @JoeBiden rally for @HillaryClinton just started. I'm guessing about 200 people here. Rough estimate. pic.twitter.com/7NnZ4B6idY
— Ben Garbarek (@bengarbarek) September 1, 2016
Compared to Donald Trump’s visit to the fair on Labor Day, traditionally the final day of the Canfield Fair, Biden’s visit barely counted as a rest stop. As soon as the rumors circulated about Trumps visit as early as Friday, people were clambering into the Republican tent for more information. The local Republican Party did all they could to supply demand for Trump; they were constantly restocking on shirts, buttons, yard signs, and other Trump memorabilia. The local party even took it a step further: they started building a “Trump Wall” fundraiser for which you could buy a brick, write a message, and place it on the wall for a small donation. The wall was a hit; the party built three different walls displays as the demand for bricks was so high.
One of the “Trump Walls” at the Canfield Fair on Thursday was already completed.
Then came Trump’s visit to the fair on Monday afternoon, Labor day. People stood outside the Republican tent waiting to see the candidate. The crowd started gathering at 10 am, and Donald Trump did not even arrive to the fair until a few minutes after 3 pm. Thousands were crowding outside the tent, holding signs, wearing Trump campaign gear, and occasionally joining in with calls of “build the wall” and “lock her up!”. The video below shows the crowd at around 1 pm (two hours before Trump even arrived): the front of the Republican tent is nearly impassable due to the size of the crowd gathered.
Crowd waiting for Trump 2 hours before he arrives.
Let’s do a recap of this Labor Day Weekend: Presidential candidate Donald Trump totally upstaged the sitting Vice President of the United States in a part of the country that has been a Democrat Stronghold for decades. It is no wonder that recent polling is showing this race so close.