Trump’s Dundalk visit underscores changing electorate
Special from the Dundalk Eagle
— Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump visited the Boulevard Diner as a part of his visit to Baltimore on Monday afternoon.
Around 100 supporters, as well as local politicians, came out to the diner to show support for the nominee, who had spoken at the National Guard Association of the United States 138th General Conference & Exhibition in the Baltimore Convention Center earlier in the day.
Trump had lunch with several political figures, including State Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R-Baltimore County), former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
“It was just great seeing him,” Salling said. “I had lunch with Donald Trump. We talked about the issues in our state and some of the issues in our country. We
had a good time.”
Baltimore County Councilman Todd Crandell, who represents Essex and Dundalk, said “it means a lot to these hardworking people that the presidential nominee would come and spend time here in Dundalk.”
Dundalk, like much of the country, is feeling an economic squeeze as wellpaying middle class jobs are disappearing. Once powered by the steel industry, which provided tens of thousands of well-paying jobs, Dundalk is facing economic strife.
“Right here is a microcosm of the country,” Delegate Bob Long (R-Baltimore County) added.
Long explained that he feels American voters “want a president that knows how to run a business. That’s why (Maryland Gov. Larry) Hogan got elected.”
Local businessman Todd Croucher echoed this theme.
“Trump more than anyone else understands how to run a business and how important it is to have the community involved,” said Croucher, who works for Port City Equipment.
John Baker, an employee of MAACO, highlighted Trump’s tax plan as something that will help businesses grow.
“His tax plan is great,” he said. “It’s going to allow more people to invest in their businesses. He wants to give people a hand up instead of a handout. Democrats just want to give people handouts. He wants to empower people.”
A December 2015 analysis of Trump’s tax plan by the Tax Policy Center showed that “his proposal would cut taxes at all income levels, although the largest benefits, in dollar and percentage terms, would go to the highest-income households.”
However, “[the tax plan] could increase the national debt by nearly 80 percent of gross domestic product by 2036, offsetting some or all of the incentive effects of the tax cuts” unless drastic spending cuts are made, according to the Tax Policy Center, which is made up of recognized experts in tax, budget and social policy who have served at the highest levels of government.
Local resident Larry Ward agreed with Baker, and he said he feels alienated by the current Democratic Party.
“I was raised a KennedyKing Democrat, and I don’t recognize that party anymore,” he said.
Ed Evans, who said he’s still registered Democrat, said he’s planning to vote for Trump because he feels that the Democratic Party no longer helps working class citizens.
“The Democratic Party left us. We didn’t leave them,” said Evans, another employee of MAACO. “Dundalk’s going Republican.”
Ellen Kobler, a spokesperson for Democratic Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, said the executive would decline comment on the county’s recent swing to the opposition party. The Maryland Democratic Party and the Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee also did not immediately return requests for comment.
As Evans alluded to, Dundalk was once a Democratic stronghold in Baltimore County, until 2014 when the sixth district elected an all-Republican delegation. Hogan won the majority of votes in Baltimore County.
However, registered Democrats outnumber reg- istered Republicans by a 2-1 ratio in Baltimore County. In the state of Maryland, Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton is currently polling at 54 percent, ahead of Trump’s 25 percent, according to OpinionWorks, an Annapolis-based pollster.
Delegate Pat McDonough (R-Baltimore County) doesn’t currently represent Dundalk, but he is running against U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger for Maryland’s second congressional seat, which does represent Dundalk.
“It’s exciting, and my election is highly affected by his campaign,” McDonough said. “You see Trump signs everywhere. It’s a reflection.”
Asked for his thoughts on Trump’s controversial campaign, McDonough answered, “I think he’s telling the truth.”
Ward said the controversies surrounding Trump — which include allegations of sexism, racism and xenophobia — have nothing “to do with patriotism and the American public.” Ward explained that he feels Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has greater controversy surrounding her, and that she shouldn’t be allowed to run.
Hogan, who has a 71 percent approval rating according to a recent Opinionworks poll, has not endorsed Trump, nor has he confirmed who he will vote for.
Still, local politicians have given Trump their endorsement.
“We have to get this man elected,” Long said.
Local residents, hopeful for a president who will bring jobs to the area, are undeterred by the controversies.
“It’s great,” Evans said. “Hopefully he makes Dundalk great again.”
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich as he walks into the Boulevard Diner.