Here in the middle of former President Donald Trump’s Midwest base, in a state where a sense of economic malaise lands hard on rural and working-class voters, many Republicans see higher gas prices as a small price to pay to help defend Ukraine.
“I don’t think we’re doing enough,” Mary King, an unemployed caregiver, said of President Joe Biden’s ban on Russian oil last week. She spoke while waiting for GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance to hold a campaign event in this industrial city along the Ohio River.
“Ask the public what they are willing to sacrifice,” King added. “I pray every day to St. Nicholas to save the children in Ukraine who are in danger.”
The sentiment was much the same upstate in Strongsville, a solidly Republican suburb of Cleveland that has one of the largest Ukrainian populations in Ohio.
“It’s not going to cripple us,” Bob Heinly, a retired cardiac technician, said of the higher gas prices likely to result from the ban, speaking after Vance finished a town hall forum there. “I invest in things that are important to me.”
King and Heinly — among more than a dozen Ohio Republicans interviewed about the U.S. response to Russia’s war against Ukraine — described themselves as loyal Trump voters. Their comments represent a departure from the “America First” mindset that helped Trump easily win the state twice. [Continue reading…]