The New York Times, the so-called “paper of record,” has declared that the all-important swing state of Ohio is no longer an important battleground in the presidential election — now that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is winning it.
Trump pulled ahead of Clinton in the Buckeye State in the RealClearPolitics poll average on Sep. 13, and has never looked back. The latest average, as of Sep. 24 — prior to the first presidential debate on Sep. 26 — has Trump ahead of Clinton by 2%.
Earlier in September, the Times was declaring Ohio “an essential swing state,” where Governor John Kasich threatened to destroy Trump’s presidential hopes by withholding his endorsement and denying Trump his turnout operation. The Times added: “No candidate since 1960 has made it to the White House without winning Ohio. And while Mrs. Clinton could afford to lose there given her advantage in other battlegrounds like Virginia and Colorado, Ohio is a must-win for Mr. Trump.”
Now that Trump is winning the “must-win,” the Times has revised its view of Ohio’s importance: “After decades as one of America’s most reliable political bellwethers, an inevitable presidential battleground that closely mirrored the mood and makeup of the country, Ohio is suddenly fading in importance this year,” writes Jonathan Martin, who notes that Clinton has basically conceded the state.
“Mr. Trump’s unyielding anti-trade campaign and Mrs. Clinton’s difficulty energizing Ohio’s young voters have made it a lesser focus for Democrats this year, even as it remains critical to Mr. Trump’s path to the White House,” he explains (emphasis added).
That bit of revisionist history is necessary to avoid drawing the alternative conclusion, which is that Trump’s success in the bellwether state of Ohio could portend success elsewhere as well.