Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown may not be officially running, but that’s not stopping him from making some bold predictions.
In a surprisingly aggressive statement, the third term senator declared:
I would say that I will beat Trump in Ohio, where they know me best. I’ll beat him in my home state and I’ll beat him in his home state of New York, where they know him best.
Brown made the statement during a wide-ranging interview on CNN’s “The Van Jones Show.” The senator has not officially declared that he is entering the race. He is presently in the middle of a listening tour that he has dubbed the “Dignity of Work” Tour. He will be visiting Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.
While declaring that he is capable of winning both his home state as well as one of the most progressive states in the country would leave him two-hundred and twenty-three electoral votes short of winning the presidency, the statement suggests something broader than just those two states.
It can be inferred by his approach that Brown is attempting to execute on a rather unique campaign strategy. Brown believes that he is capable of harmonizing a Democratic-Socialist platform with a moderate, populist message. In the interview he stated: “Too many national Democrats think that we either speak to the progressive base or you speak to the workers, when in fact, it’s not an either-or, you got to do both.”
Brown has made it explicitly clear that he is an avowed supporter of universal healthcare and right-to-work programs. He has received glowing endorsements from multiple socialist organizations. He believes that if he can convince more moderate, working-class Ohioans that these programs will work to their benefit, he can win both Trump’s moderate base and a Democratic party that is leaning further left than at any point in its history.
The main issue is that a majority of the working class tends to lean conservative and votes for Democrats only if they advocate for labor-positive causes. Brown will be walking a narrow tightrope; should it work he will be in a very strong position, should it fail he will alienate both groups and leave himself without a path to victory.
He went on to say that “it’s so self-evident that the president is a racist, just like it’s self-evident that the president lies a lot.”
As the Republican nominee for president in 2016, Donald Trump won Ohio decisively by a little more than eight percentage points totalling 446 thousand votes.
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to [email protected].