I see a lot of parallels between Cincinnati politics and those of the nation as a whole. Here in Cincinnati, people have very different ideas about how things are going. A lot of people think things are going great. They have good jobs, nice little restaurants and breweries are popping up everywhere, life is going well. Cincinnati is on the rise.
For poor black Cincinnatians, things are very different. Gun violence is going up, the grocery store in their neighborhood closed down, the fancy new restaurants that are opening in their neighborhood don’t employ any black people, 73% of black children are living in poverty, and things aren’t getting any better right now. In OTR, median black household income is 10k a year, but according to the white people there who make 70k a year, the development of OTR has been a success! Black people in the city feel like they’re forgotten and that their problems are ignored.
Yvette Simpson hasn’t delivered much in the way of results in her 6 years on council, and in many ways Cranley is objectively a better candidate. But Yvette understands and acknowledges the concerns of the black community in a way Cranley has failed to. She acknowledges that development is leaving the black community behind while Cranley is tone deaf on this issue. A lot of people are just desperate to be heard. Plus Cranley has been in office for 4 years and he hasn’t delivered; even if Yvette’s not that great, what do we have to lose? I’m seeing that attitude a lot.
There was a similar thing happening on the national level in 2016. Many Democrats thought the country was doing great already and that we just needed to continue the progress we were having. But in many places, things were and are getting worse, sometimes dramatically worse. Good jobs are going away, people are dropping like flies from overdoses, and most of all there’s very little hope left. I’ve mentioned before that Springfield, Ohio saw a 21% increase in violent crime from 2012 to 2014; there are a lot of areas like Springfield in America. Basically just people doing drugs while waiting to die.
Trump has no real solutions to offer, but boy did he acknowledge their struggle in a way the Democratic party failed to. When the coroner in your city has to keep bodies in a cold storage trailer because they ran out of room in the morgue, you don’t wanna hear “America is already great.” You want a dramatic break from politics as usual, and Trump offered that.
Yet many people don’t really care about these people’s problems, just like white gentrifiers willfully ignore their neighbors who are living in poverty. The lack of empathy I’ve been seeing lately is shocking to me. But I guess it’s nothing new.