(CN) — Mike Krondak has been busting his hump nearly every day of the week for upwards of three decades.
“This body has had enough,” he said.
Krondak, in his late 50s, works for SLC Inc., a California-based company that specializes in the construction of cellular communication towers so critical to the wireless communication infrastructure in the United States.
He pours concrete, runs heavy machinery, digs trenches and spends his day doing the type of hard manual labor that would send most able-bodied young people to the infirmary after a couple of days.
He doesn’t like politics.
“I try and stay away from all that nonsense,” he said. “It doesn’t interest me at all.”
Sometimes Trump will come up on the job site, but it’s rare. Most of all, people are too busy for idle chit-chat.
But for all his aversion to the political fracases of the day, Krondak is a consistent voter. He grew up in a Catholic household with a passel of older sisters who were all crazy for John F. Kennedy.
He inherited a lean toward the Democrats until Ronald Reagan arrived on the scene.
“I shook off the full-on Democrat approach and started picking the president based on who is the best one,” he said.
In 2008, that was Barack Obama. But come 2016, Krondak elected to sit the whole thing out.
“They both kind of sucked in my mind,” he said.
But as one of the persuadable voters from the working class, Krondak is squarely in the sights of both Joe Biden’s and Donald Trump’s campaign for president, as both camps attempt to craft rhetoric they think will appeal to the working man.
Perhaps chastened by Hillary Clinton’s poor performance in the Midwest, where Trump won traditionally blue states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania on his way to a decisive electoral college victory, Joe Biden has repeatedly sought to appeal to working-class people who wear boots to work.
The former vice-president spent much of the past month unfurling a three-pronged plan aimed at revitalizing the American economy with a weather eye toward enhancing economic opportunities for working-class people who have been shouldered out of the tech-based service-oriented economy that tends to rely on overseas manufacturing.
Biden’s plan, which his campaign has dubbed “Build Back Better,” promised a comprehensive infrastructure bill that would put Americans to work to rebuild decaying roads and bridges, while helping to refurbish America’s energy grid to a more clean energy-centric model.
The plan also focuses on caregiving, for children and for elderly parents, citing the immense burdens working men and women endure as they juggle the necessity to make a living with family requirements.
But Biden has also stressed at nearly every speaking event that he wants to bring back manufacturing to America’s shores, saying the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the need for America to ensure critical supply chains exist within the nation’s borders.
“I do not accept the defeatist view that the forces of automation and globalization render us helpless to retain well-paid union jobs and create more of them here in America,” Biden said. “I do not buy for one second that the vitality of U.S. manufacturing is a thing of the past.”
Erik Loomis, a professor at the University of Rhode Island who has focused on the history of labor relations in the United States, said such rhetoric is clearly aimed at appealing to American workers.
“If you are talking to voters in Erie, Pennsylvania or Youngstown, Ohio, these are effective talking points because manufacturing jobs have not come back to those places under Trump,” Loomis said.