[Ed. – Strange bedfellows]
This downtown 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, marked by chains of shuttered and abandoned storefronts, bears all the exit wounds of the manufacturing era.
“When the mill shut down … people left here in the middle of the night, walked away from mortgages,” said city administrator Samuel L. Gill. “It was a traumatic time. We saw our population drop overnight by 35 to 40 percent.”…
For many, Trump’s promises of restored American greatness echo President Ronald Reagan’s “city on a hill” theme from the 1980s — before the towns’ economic drivers went overseas. In his historic victories, Reagan appealed to what would be known as “Reagan Democrats,” mostly blue-collar whites uneasy with national trends.
Now, those voters’ continued disaffection, and signs that Republicans are making gains here, have some Democrats nervous. According to state registration data, Republicans have greatly outpaced Democrats among party-jumpers. In Aliquippa’s Beaver County, nearly seven times as many Democrats have changed their party affiliation to Republican as the other way around.