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Politics & Government

Ahead Of National Conventions, A Look At What Attracts Area Voters To Certain Candidates

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Kelly DeLay
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The Republican National Convention in Cleveland is still two weeks away, but local citizens are already preparing for it.

Patrick Young is an organizer with Fight Back Pittsburgh — a grassroots organization associated with the United Steelworkers. They are planning to travel to Cleveland in protest of Donald Trump, the Republicans presumptive presidential nominee.

Young said his major concern is that Trump is openly racist.

The idea of putting someone like that within an arm's reach of the nuclear codes is absolutely terrifying to me. - Patrick Young, organizer with Fight Back Pittsburgh

  “He’s a very volatile person,” Young said. “The idea of putting someone like that within an arm’s reach of the nuclear codes is absolutely terrifying to me.”

Fight Back Pittsburgh will be participating in several marches throughout the week of the convention. National groups have organized the marches, but Young said his group would be making the trip regardless.

“If people in Cleveland weren’t mobilizing, we’d be going anyway,” Young said. “But there are lots and lots of organizations that have put out calls for all of these marches.”

Still, Trump appeals to many in the region, sometimes finding allies outside of the conservative base.

Lou Mavrakis, mayor of Monessen, Pennsylvania, invited Trump to speak in his town despite being a lifelong democrat. While making it clear is not currently supporting Trump, the mayor said the candidate impressed him.  

Mavrakis acknowledged that Trump’s desire to bring back the steel industry is quixotic, but a better message than Obama and Clinton, who haven’t even spoken to the people of Monessen.

“I’ve gone through so many elections,” Mavrakis said. “I’ve gone through so many false promises. They all lie, and they never do produce. At least he came here, and he’s saying things that people want to hear. That gives them some hope.”

Those who welcome Trump with open arms are another reason Young is headed to Cleveland with Fight Back Pittsburgh.

“I’m not just concerned about Donald Trump,” Young said. “I’m concerned with the thousands of people who are eating what he’s saying and buying into his racist, hateful message.”

Young has demonstrated at previous Republican National Conventions in 2004 and 2008. He said the convention presents an opportunity to mobilize people around important issues.

“I think this is an opportunity for people to get excited about getting involved in the political process,” Young said.

Mavrakis said he won’t be traveling to either convention. He’s staying put.

“I want somebody to come in here and do something with the community I represent,” Mavrakis said. “I don’t care whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Independent or whatever you are. I’m only interested in my community.”

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