I have picked about a 75-mile radius of Northwest, Ohio to campaign in on nights and weekends when I'm not working. And we're asking our supporters to do the same in their areas of the country. The following is an example of the stumping I did on a recent Saturday...
I left mid-morning, and my first stop was a Pilot Truck Stop about five miles north of us, up I-75. Truck stops we've found over the years are great, because you can reach people from all over (sans the millions of dollars for national TV advertising). This morning, I passed on campaign cards to a couple from West Virginia, a truck driver from Oklahoma, an Ohio State fan -- to whom I promised to put a big buckeye on the Capitol Dome when I got there -- a family with environmental stickers on their windows. (That's right, I told them I was "pro-environment".)... And afterward, I stopped at the trucker's "Mobile Chapel" there to say a prayer God did a "loaves and fishes thing" with the cards.
I then headed west, stopping in tiny Gomer, Ohio, which has a connection to, of all things, a famous polar expedition.
While in Gomer, I stopped at Uncle Al's Pizza where I talked with employee Cody Woods. He had recently graduated from high school and was heading for the Navy to work on submarines in about a month. He was wearing a t-shirt supportive of the Wounded Warrior Project, and he said a big issue with him is improving the Veterans Administration System.
I stopped in Middle Point, Ohio, (which isn't even close to being the "middle" of the state) where I noticed a bunch of pick-up trucks, etc., parked around the downtown Fire Station. I dropped in. (I'm like that.) About 12 volunteer firefighters were watching a training video, but one of them hit the pause button when they found out what I was doing. We had, in effect, a brief "Fire Hall Meeting." One man, for instance, said he'd like to see a much stronger military. Another man said his issue was "guns." That is, he'd buck any effort to take any kind of gun -- assault weapons included. Another man agreed and said he was afraid that once a certain type of gun (or ammunition) was banned, then it would be another, and another... After some lively discussion, I headed toward my seventh grade son's afternoon basketball game further west in Convoy, Ohio. (To maximize things, I'd combined trips.)
The Bluffton Pirates lost to the Crestview Knights by 15. The Pirates, in fact, played valiantly -- given the other team had a 6'2" post player (in 7th grade). Our son Jonathan, #54, (whose much shorter than 6'2") played quite well, hitting a few good shots and having several nice assists. After the game, I stopped for gas at Barb's Carry Out in Convoy for gas and to put up an "average Joe" card on their bulletin board. And not even needing a high priced, marketing consultant, I came up with the following...
After the game, Jonathan and I drove to Ottoville, Ohio, where I stumped on the street. Among those I passed out campaign cards to, was a couple who pulled up in winterized golf cart. I told them I was running for president and my campaign promise was a (free range) chicken in every pot, and two golf carts in every garage.
Joe's Stumping Whereabouts...
On a recent Saturday evening, I walked the ‘midway’ passing out campaign cards at the North Baltimore Summer Festival. The air was filled with the sounds of the Loose Cannons, which was a band that played old rock with guys that looked to be in their late ‘60s. [Given the band’s name, who knows, maybe they’ll be tapped to play at one of Trump’s Inaugural Balls. LOL.]
While walking about the festival, I also came across Kari Stallcap, who was running a booth for the Wood County Committee on Aging. She said the agency: sponsors talks on a gamut of senior subjects; does “Meals on Wheels”; provides medical escorts for some seniors; provides senior legal advice…
Leaving North Baltimore, I headed seven miles west down a back road to the town of Hoytville (pop. 305). Volunteer firefighter Jerome Miller was sitting on his front porch in the small downtown area. I approached and gave him a campaign card. In the small front yard, up against the front porch façade, was a firefighter’s shrine, if you will. On display was an old red fire ax, a helmet from the early 1900's, one of the original fire hoses… Miller said he’d been a firefighter 16 years and was just made a lieutenant. He said he does it because he feels he’s making a difference.
From Hoytville, I headed another seven miles west to Deshler, Ohio (pop. 1,801). At the city limits is a big sign that reads: Welcome to the "Corn City!" I put up a campaign card on the post office bulletin board that said. “I’m Pro-Corn!” [That’s right, we continue to do all this without a paid political consultant.] And then while the mainstream candidates were doing extravagant $1,000 a plate dinners, and such, I stopped at Subway for a 6” veggie sandwich.
In the last couple weeks, I continue with a relatively big house painting project (Joe the Painter, cont.)… I’m also continuing to do interviews for my wife Liz’s magazines. Of particular note is an interview I did with a 13-year- old boy for a “Young Achievers” column we run. The boy said that among his various hobbies, he likes to open the dictionary once a day — at random — and learn a new word. “Do you know what incendiary means?” He asked. [Maybe I should be doing that.] During this time, I also interviewed a PGA member who was the Head Pro at a local country club. He said in the “old days,” before X-Box golf, kids used to just practice, well: “golf, golf.” What a concept, huh… Also, as the mainstream Party candidates started to fan out in the swing states — me too. I chose Ohio because, well, I live here so it was close.
On another day recently…
I headed north out of Bluffton, stopping first in Rawson, Ohio (pop. 576). After commenting on a family picture she has on the counter, she said she had extended family in Kalida and Glandorf. I gave her a signed campaign card and asked her to tell people in both cities that I’m out here. She smiled. I then put up a campaign card on the bulletin board in the post office there that read: “Go Hornets!” (HS mascot.) Clever, huh.
I then traveled north to Benton Ridge (pop. 303). I taped a campaign card to the take out menu box at Paradise Pizza. I noted that a vote for me would mean, not that America would just be great again, but that every day would be another day in ‘Paradise.’ I’ve got a million of ‘em! Also while in Benton Ridge, I passed on a campaign card to Jim Insley who was out walking his dog. He spoke of yet another ‘Paradise.’ That is, he said the election might not matter much because, well, he anticipated many would be ‘Raptured’ soon.
On Rural Rte. 12, I saw this flag flying in the wind. Didn’t notice any SCHRINER flags (signs, bumper stickers…)
I didn’t notice any SCHRINER bumper stickers, of course except on the back of my car – which I parked in front of Ted’s Market. After putting up a campaign card at Ted’s, I went to the Lunch Box Diner in downtown Pandora (pop. 1.400) where I stumped at a table of patrons. One woman initially asked what office I was running for. I said: “President.” She asked: “President of what?” And so it goes. On the back roads… Stay tuned.
Unswayed by the polls, I continued on on Ohio's back roads. For instance, I stumped with some "morning regulars" at a used car lot office in Columbus Grove, Ohio (pop. 2,082). The setting was right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
At a McDonald's in Galion, Ohio (pop. 10,273), I passed out campaign cards to the ladies at this table. When I said I was running as a 'concerned parent,' she said she was 'concerned' about today's immodest fashions. She said that when she went to Tiffin University in the mid 1950s, cheerleader skirts had to be below the knee. Not anymore!
Also while in Galion, I stopped for dinner at Granny's. That's right, while the other candidates were doing $1,000 a plate fundraiser's and such, I was 'doing the $7.99 Meatloaf Special. How's that for populist?
In Forest, Ohio (pop. 1,434), I put up a campaign card on the downtown gas station bulletin board that read: "Can't see the 'forest' for the trees anymore this election? Then: Vote Joe!" Apt, I thought.
When not on the road, I was in Bluffton doing various painting projects (aka: "Joe the Painter"). Here I'm finishing up the exterior of a restaurant in the downtown.
In the final week, in the evenings, I continued to stump on the back roads, try to finish up an outside painting job (before the weather turned) -- while all the time cheering the Cleveland Indians on during the World Series. I've been painting the house of a Bluffton University economics professor. During breaks, we've been talking the economy and politics -- and I've been taking yet more notes for our position paper on the economy. He's been quite insightful per: our talks on moving the country to more of a Main Street Economy again. *See our position paper on the economy. [Incidentally, I've been painting his house in a "Pioneer Green," the same basic color we're talking about painting the White House when I get there. Symbolically, of course, of our urgent need to turn the country "green" in the face of potentially catastrophic climate change.
In Columbus Grove, Ohio, I stopped into a local pizzeria to catch a few innings of the Indians game. On the walls were a number of pictures from the 1950s ere. Looking at this Coca-Cola picture, I couldn't help but think how much better it would be for our kids if the country went back to a much more wholesome orientation.
In between mini back road tours, I stopped to, well, check the oil. Okay, do you think either of the mainstream candidates are checking the oil on their jumbo jets? NO! Populism is alive and well in our campaign.