DIVIDED AMERICA: How China fueled pain and Trump support

From The Associated Press:

HANNIBAL, Ohio (AP) — Crushed by Chinese competition and feeling betrayed by mainstream politicians, workers in the hills of eastern Ohio are embracing Donald Trump and his tough talk on trade.

For decades, they and others living across the Ohio River in West Virginia found work in coal mines and at a local aluminum plant – union jobs, with good pay and generous benefits.

But those jobs are going, if not gone.

EDITOR’S NOTE – This is part of Divided America, AP’s ongoing exploration of the economic, social and political divisions in American society.

Coal is being wiped out by stricter environmental rules and competition from cheap natural gas. The aluminum plant? It’s out of business, doomed by China’s domination of the global aluminum market.

In an angry election year, some of America’s angriest voters live in places like Monroe County where local economies have been punished by price competition with China. Their frustration has fueled support for the Republican presidential nominee, with his belligerent rhetoric about the need to outsmart America’s economic rivals, tear up unfair trade deals and re-establish America as the world’s dominant player.

“This is Trump country,” says John Saunders, an official with the United Steelworkers in nearby Martins Ferry, Ohio.

The disaster that’s unfolded here isn’t obvious at first glance, not in a region known as the Switzerland of Ohio for its forested, rolling hills. In tiny Hannibal (population: 411), stately two-story homes overlook lawns that roll toward the banks of the Ohio. Nearby Woodsfield, seat of Monroe County, Ohio, looks like Main Street USA, its downtown dominated by a red brick courthouse displaying one of the world’s …

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