Shawn Wodogaza, a Lordstown plant worker who voted for Mr. Trump reluctantly, said he felt politically lost now. What the heck do we do? Do we go back to beating our heads against the wall?
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Or do we try something different? For three generations of Marsh men, the G. Then, when Rick Marsh got the biggest test of his life — the birth of his beloved daughter, Abigail, and her diagnosis of cerebral palsy at the age of one — his job became a central part of how he saw himself. He was her provider, her protector. That was his worth in the world.
So when the last car rolled off the Lordstown assembly line around p. He had lost the thing that made him who he was. Marsh thought he would retire from the Lordstown plant, just like his father. Richard Marsh Sr. The job lifted the Marsh family from apartment to trailer to house on a pretty street lined with cornfields and long, smooth driveways. Rick grew up there, in a back bedroom with heavy-metal posters on the walls.
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When his father — at the time an elected union official — got him a job at the plant, it came with two pieces of advice. That was , and the plant was its own little city.
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It employed around 9, people. Its giant parking lot was packed. Workers grilled sausages in the break room. The truth was, he never really liked the work. He found it boring and physically demanding. He worked in the paint shop, wearing two sets of gloves, big plastic boots and a full body apron, while he wielded a sanding tool that smoothed the primer on the surface of the cars.
Every night he came home drenched and exhausted. But he was grateful for it. With his G. In those early years, Mr.
He voted for Democrats without really thinking about it. It was what his family had always done, more out of union loyalty than ideology. But he started to pay attention in the late s, after the United States struck a trade deal with Mexico. When he asked his father about Nafta, the elder Marsh fumed that it would destroy manufacturing.
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He remembers his father calling him shortly after he picked up his new two-door Chevy Tahoe, shouting at him to return it. The younger Marsh could not believe a G. Just take it back. At some point, change sped up, like an invisible hand moving behind him, erasing things. Automation accelerated. In Mr. In it was By the time he left in the early s, it was four.
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A few years later, the whole plant was shut down. He ticked off others that closed: Detroit, Delaware, Janesville, Shreveport. Nafta had given him a new political awareness: Republicans may have started it, but it was Democrats who sealed the deal. Still, he kept voting for Democrats, including twice for Barack Obama. He gives him credit for the bailout of G. The company would have died without that help. But it made him angry that a financial crisis that started with banks ended with autoworkers giving up raises and the right to strike, which seemed to him the only real leverage they still had.
They got it back later. Marsh had never had a definitive moment with politics, a sudden clarity in which he clicked with a candidate. That changed in He remembers sitting at home watching a debate between Mr.
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Trump and Hillary Clinton. He was expecting suit-and-tie civility. Instead, he got a circus. Trump was like a boxer who kept landing punches. It was electrifying. He knew what it looked like. Trump was kind of crazy. Then Mr. Trump brought up Nafta, and it was like he was speaking directly to Mr. Nothing else mattered — not Russia, not porn stars, not divorces. He voted for Mr. Trump, and so did his father, along with just under half the workers represented by the union.
He was in the plant on election night. He remembers being in the break room with the TV off, and a woman came in crying. Find the Alberta government services and information you need Arts and culture Business and economy Driving and transportation Education and training Emergencies and public safety Environment Family and social supports Government Health Housing and community Jobs and employment Law and justice Life events Moving to Alberta Parks and recreation.
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