The state of Maryland hasn’t voted Republican in a presidential election since George H.W. Bush in 1988. However, the area surrounding the Baltimore County communities of Essex and Dundalk is currently a bastion for Donald Trump. Believe it or not, the Republican nominee earned 77% of the communities’ primary vote back in April, pulling in as the favorable candidate for the GOP in Maryland.
Why do Maryland conservatives love Donald Trump? The reality is, few regions of the state have been as damaged by the decline of manufacturing as those east of Baltimore. Here, tens of thousands of jobs have vanished over the past 50 years.
Back in the mid-60s, Bethlehem Steel and General Motors were fundamental to the region’s culture and local economy. Today, the community suffers without these major employers.
General Motors closed its manufacturing plant on Broening Highway in 2005, getting rid of 1,100 jobs. The Bethesda-based manufacturing plant Lockheed Martin, which once employed 53,000 people, shut down in 2011. Though machinery manufacturing shipments totaled over $407 billion in 2012, very few of those came out of Maryland, and manufacturing as a whole isn’t what it used to be.
Residents in and around Baltimore are concerned about their future.
“It’s just a scary situation,” said Linda Jessa, a 59-year-old resident who was laid off from her nonprofit job last year. “I’m hoping with a different type of government there’ll be some more opportunities.”
Maryland voters say that they are interested in Trump’s economic message, particularly his vow to “bring back steel.”
Since 2014, the number of registered Republicans in Baltimore County has increased 18%.
“The Trump message of jobs and the economy and the feeling that the Democratic Party has abandoned them has been pretty effective,” said Senator Jim Brochin, a conservative Democrat from Towson.