- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 3, 2016

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO | Three months after she defeated Sen. Bernard Sanders and won Democrats’ presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton is still losing support to the Vermont maverick.

On his way out of the Mahoning County Board of Elections on Thursday, Jerome Williams didn’t miss a beat when asked who he had cast his early ballot for in the presidential race.

“I voted for Bernie Sanders,” Mr. Williams said. “He is more for the working-class person, and that’s what I am.”

Ironically, Mr. Sanders was in town just a mile away, where earlier he’d spoken at Youngstown State University, trying to convince Democrats to back Mrs. Clinton over GOP nominee Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton is far and away the superior candidate,” Mr. Sanders said.

The eastern part of Ohio has been crucial to Democrats in presidential races, including in 2008 and 2012, when President Obama won the state on his way to winning the White House.

But there are signs Mrs. Clinton is struggling to generate the same level of enthusiasm this year. In particular, pollsters say she’s having trouble connecting with the young voters Mr. Sanders cultivated in his campaign.

“While they loved Obama, they’re not terribly excited about Hillary,” said Adam Fuller, professor of political science at Youngstown State. “They prefer her over Trump, obviously, but they may not be excited enough to actually go vote,” he said. “Whereas Bernie galvanized the millennials. The Clinton team is probably thinking that sending Bernie to speak at our college campus may have the added effect of exciting that voter demographic too.”

Mr. Fuller said Mr. Sanders is also lending Mrs. Clinton some of his working-class appeal, which is important in eastern Ohio, where Mr. Trump’s blunt message on nixing trade deals resonates.

Speaking to 340 people at the university, Mr. Sanders said he and Mrs. Clinton both believe in the science of climate change, want to appoint Supreme Court justices who will undo Citizens United and want to raise the minimum wage, expand paid family leave and promote tuition-free college.

The Sanders appearance comes on the heels of polls that show Mr. Trump has opened up a 3 percentage point lead in Ohio, which is viewed as a must-win state for the New York billionaire. The polls have fed growing concerns among Clinton supporters, who worry the renewed investigation into her emails could haunt her on Election Day.

“I am asking you to work as hard as you possibilly can in the next five days to see that Secretary Clinton becomes our president and Donald Trump is defeated,” Mr. Sanders said.

His followers, however, are hesitant.

“When it comes to Hillary and Trump, it is just kind of like a time bomb,” said Marino November, 22, a student from McDonald. “I’m just kind of waiting to see what happens. Really we don’t know what is going to happen. But I think, if Trump gets elected, the world will laugh at us.”

Jonna Call, a 30-year-old teacher from nearby Wellsville, had a bleaker assessment of what it was like to switch her support from Mr. Sanders to Mrs. Clinton.

“There is no excitement for Hillary,” Ms. Call said. “It is more of a twisting of the wrist for Hillary than an excitement vote. It is another realm. Bernie was in another realm.”

As for Mr. Williams, who voted for Mr. Sanders, he said he didn’t know his political hero was campaigning nearby. But he also said he wouldn’t have been swayed by Mr. Sanders’ pitch for Mrs. Clinton, saying he’s not buying what either the Democrat or the Republican nominees are selling.

“I don’t trust either one of them,” the 31-year-old said.

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