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Hillary Clinton's troubles with blue-collar voters

Hillary Clinton's troubles with blue-collar voters Mashable We're using cookies to improve your experience. Click Here to find out more. Mashable Mashable Mashable Australia Mashable France Mashable India Mashable UK Sign in Like Follow Follow Mashable see more  > Search Videos Social Media Tech Business Entertainment World Lifestyle Watercooler Shop More Channels Videos Social Media Tech Business Entertainment World Lifestyle Watercooler Shop Company About Us Licensing & Reprints Archive Mashable Careers Contact Contact Us Submit News Advertise Advertise Legal Privacy Policy Terms of Use Cookie Policy Apps iPhone / iPad Android Resources Subscriptions Sites Mashable Shop Job Board Social Good Summit World Like Follow Follow Hillary Clinton's troubles with blue-collar voters 931 Shares Share Tweet Share What's This? Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is greeted by Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio as she arrives to speak at the Ohio Democratic Party Legacy Dinner on March 13.Image: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster By Cameron Joseph 2016-03-14 17:59:43 UTC COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hillary Clinton has a problem with blue-collar voters. And she knows it.  The question is how — and whether — she can solve it. After a surprise primary loss in manufacturing-heavy Michigan last week, Clinton has been hammering on bread-and-butter economic issues in Ohio and across the Midwest this week, hoping to shore up her support with the white working-class voters who are abandoning her for Bernie Sanders on the left and Donald Trump on the populist right. SEE ALSO: Bernie Sanders wins Michigan primary in big upset Clinton crushed Barack Obama with white blue-collar voters in the 2008 primaries, powering her to big wins in Ohio and other big Rust Belt states that kept her campaign alive deep into the primary season. But she's currently struggling mightily in the region of the country where economic anxiety runs the deepest and hatred of free trade deals resonates the strongest. And that's a huge problem for her as she looks to knock out Sanders and prepare for a general election against Trump. "She has to no choice but to keep trying to fix this because she recognizes that in order to win both the primary here in Ohio as well as the general election, particularly if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, she has to start speaking very explicitly about trade," former Ohio Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro (D), a Clinton backer, told Mashable. "We’re savvy voters and we know when people are pandering. And I think that’s the risk she runs. But I don’t think that she has a choice." Clinton addressed the issue on Sunday night at a banquet hosted by Ohio Democratic Party, taking direct aim at concerns over her past support for some free trade agreements including the North American Free Trade Agreement, one that's particularly hated in the industrial Midwest. Sanders has been pounding her on trade, and Trump has made a big break with his party to attack trade agreements, part of what's fueling his campaign. "I know there’s been a lot of discussion in the last week or so about trade. And I’d like to take the opportunity tonight to set the record straight," she said. "To every worker in Ohio and every worker across America let me say this: If I am fortunate enough to be your president I will stand with you and I will have your back and I will stop dead in its tracks any trade deal that hurts America and American workers." Clinton highlighted her vote against the Central American Free Trade Agreement while she was in the Senate, and while she admitted she'd waited long before opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a trade deal currently up for debate that she'd originally championed as Secretary of State — she pointed out that she came out against it as soon as the details of the deal were public. "We need a president who is not just opposed to trade, we need a president who knows how to compete against the rest of the world and win, win for America and win for American workers," she argued. And Clinton acknowledged the populist fury that is tearing through both parties. "If you’re doing the same job your parents did but for less money and fewer benefits... it is no wonder many Americans are concerned, frustrated, even angry," she said. "That’s why the test of this election has to be whether we can actually create good-paying jobs here in America." . @HillaryClinton : "We have a president who is not just opposed to trade, we need a president who knows how to compete… and win!" — Cameron Joseph (@cam_joseph) March 14, 2016 Clinton's campaign said she wanted to "set the record straight" on trade after weeks of attacks from Sanders, while arguing she'd be better at actually handling complex trade policy than either Sanders or Trump. "The government has an important role in how you can shape not just trade deals but competition globally. She's better prepared to do that. That's an important point for voters here a