Why Presidents Love Visiting Lima, Ohio

Mar 21, 2019
Originally published on March 20, 2019 1:32 pm

President Trump is in Ohio on Wednesday to tour the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, also known as the Lima Tank Plant. He'll also stop through Canton to fundraise for his 2020 re-election campaign.

While Trump's policies and style of campaigning may be unprecedented, his choice of location certainly is not. Since the Eisenhower administration, all but two presidents have come to Lima while in office.

Bill Angel, emeritus professor of political science at The Ohio State University-Lima, says that's particularly true for Republicans.

"Republican presidents, presidential candidates come to Lima regularly. Democratic candidates less often come to the area," Angel says. "But it is because it's such a strong - and has been since the 1930s - a strong supporter of Republican politicians."

Lima offers another advantage: The tank plant Trump will tour, which has broad support among different demographics and political parties.

"President Trump certainly knows that it's a place he can go, he can carry the presidential flag, and he can also come across in a generally more bipartisan view than he normally views in public venues," Angel says.

President Trump won Ohio by 8 points in 2016, and the traditional battleground is so far playing a key role in Trump's re-election strategy. This will be Trump's 10th visit to the state since taking office.

Angel adds that the intersection of different business interests, like agribusiness and industrial work, and varied demographics in Lima make it a good amalgam of the electorate.

"It is, kind of, in some ways, a microcosm of what Ohio is," Angel says. "It also has a large minority population, it has union voters: It's America."

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