Trump seen as saviour in dying Ohio town

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Raddison Hotel on Oct 28, 2016.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Raddison Hotel on Oct 28, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

OHIO (REUTERS) - Despite the latest US opinion polls that put Donald Trump behind rival Hillary Clinton, voters in depressed Middletown, Ohio, are clinging to hopes for a Trump presidency, convinced it's the only way to "Make America Great Again".

Middletown was once a booming industrial city in the Midwest. Like the rest of America's rust belt, it was known for its strong steel industry and paper mills, but those days are long gone.

"Nobody's on our side. The little guy gets stomped on and we carry the load in the country pretty much," says Chris Theile, a Trump supporter.

A once "All-American" city is now struggling to survive - which is why many in this dying town see Donald Trump as a saviour.

They're clinging to his promise to "Make America Great Again".

"I don't agree with everything that Donald Trump says but I agree with the policies he's going after. I agree with the fact that America should be America first," said Angela Phillips, CEO of Middletown Tube Works, one of the few steel factories still left in town.

 

She, along with most of her employees, are voting for Trump because of his promise to bring jobs back to America.

Scott King, a quality control manager at the factory, has faith the Republican nominee will do what he says, in an honest and straightforward way.

"I'm personally tired of all the politicians and all the games, and him not being a politician, is appealing to me," he said.

For small business owners in Middletown, keeping the doors open has been a struggle.

Nick Wilson is one of the lucky ones - he has managed to keep his auto service centre open for 30 years, but he has had to downsize and lay off employees to stay afloat.

Mr Wilson says it's time for a president who will do anything, even build a wall, to keep American jobs safe from illegal immigrants.

"I'm not racist or anything but I do think borders need to be controlled and I think Americans should have first opportunities on jobs," he said.

That sentiment is echoed by many others who have witnessed the demise of their once beloved town.

"I have all the faith in Trump. I believe him and I really felt all along, he's the one person I could trust," said Jim Sticklen, a life-long resident of Middletown, who says it's time for change in Washington.

He hopes a Trump presidency will bring his hometown back to life.

He often takes his vintage Chevy for a ride downtown to reminisce, but it's just about the only thing that still shines along Main Street, once vibrant, now empty.

Most of the shops there have shut down, and even the local movie theatre went out of business.

The only thriving businesses seem to be the pawn shops that line each block.

Many residents of Middletown who support Donald Trump are hoping to make a strong statement on Election Day to propel their candidate into the White House - the only person they believe can save their dying town.