Does Former President Trump Deserve Credit For Republican Wins In 2021
NEWS AND OPINION:
Many have pondered President Trumps grassroots support in the nations heartland. Democrats, in fact, still marvel or worry about the 63 million folks who stood up and went to the polls in 2016 and voted for Mr. Trump. It appears they are still out there, and still support the president in a big way.
Though the nations farmers are understandably fretting about their business outcomes, like most folks around America.
But pessimism is not affecting their support for Mr. Trump, according to DTN, a Minneapolis-based research and marketing firm specializing in agriculture, livestock, crops and other related fields.
While farmers confidence is waning in their current and future situations, it is not lessening their support for the current administration. When asked, 90% of farmers polled by DTN said they would vote to keep the current administration, an increase of 15 percentage points from the same survey conducted in December 2019, the organization says.
Its interesting to note that through these challenging times, farmer support for President Trump is at an all-time high. We are seeing that farmers approve of how the current administration is handling the pandemic and its resulting effect on the economy with the recently announced aid packages being distributed to farmers, says John Teeple, senior vice president of agriculture at DTN.
THE DESANTIS METHOD
Safe. Smart. Step-by-step.
PONDERING A MYSTERY
He also is thinking ahead.
Farmers Are Hurting But They Still Support Trump And His Trade War For Now
- Trump won the presidency by winning rural America, in part by pledging to use his business savvy and tough negotiating skills to take on China and put an end to trade practices that have hurt farmers for years.
- While the prolonged fight has been devastating to an already-struggling agriculture industry, there’s little indication Trump is paying a political price.
- But there’s a big potential upside if he can get a better deal and little downside if he continues to get credit for trying for the farmers caught in the middle.
Iowa farmer Tim Bardole survived years of low crop prices and rising costs by cutting back on fertilizer and herbicides and fixing broken-down equipment rather than buying new. When President Donald Trump’s trade war with China made a miserable situation worse, Bardole used up any equity his operation had and started investing in hogs in hopes they’ll do better than crops.
A year later, the dispute is still raging and soybeans hit a 10-year-low. But Bardole says he supports his president more today than he did when he cast a ballot for Trump in 2016, skeptical he would follow through on his promises.”He does really seem to be fighting for us,” Bardole says, “even if it feels like the two sides are throwing punches and we’re in the middle, taking most of the hits.”
As China vowed to “fight to the finish,” Trump used Twitter to rally the farming community.
He added: “The Farmers have been ‘forgotten’ for many years. Their time is now!”
Federal Subsidies To The Rescue
In 2018, the Trump administration created a subsidy program intended to mitigate farmers losses related to the trade war. Breaking from tradition, the administration let the U.S. Department of Agriculture spend the money without first getting approval from Congress.
Under the program, farmers and ranchers received $8.5 billion for 2018 losses and $14.3 billion for 2019. No trade-related subsidies have been distributed for 2020 except for the remaining third tranche of the 2019 payments.
But just as some states were hurt more by the trade war than others, not all states benefited equally from the payments. The subsidies heavily targeted the Midwest, reflecting the political influence of rural constituents in these states. Most of the states that came out ahead such as Iowa and Nebraska tend to vote Republican and have relatively large agricultural sectors.
As Trump put it during a recent rally in Iowa, Some of the farmers were making more money the way I was doing it than working their asses off, all right? They were very, very happy.
Since the costs of the program are financed by all taxpayers, states with large urban populations such as California, Texas and New York are footing the bill and spending more money than they are getting in support. California farmers, for example, received just $106 million in payments despite the $6 billion in losses even as the states taxpayers contributed $2 billion to the program.
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Cutting The Postal Service
Although the U.S. Postal Service is a critical fixture in rural communities, Trump has repeatedly targeted the agency, even proposing to privatize it in 2018.4 Now, the coronavirus pandemic is pushing the Postal Service to the limit, as Americans have increased their reliance on deliveries in lieu of venturing outside the house.5
Despite the importance of post office services, Trump threatened to veto the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act if it contained any aid to the agency.6 Meanwhile, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a close Trump ally with no experience in public service, severely limited overtime for postal workersa move that the Postal Service acknowledged would cause delays.7 He has also consolidated his power over the agencys operations, recently reshuffling almost 25 top officials.8
Iowa Farmer Voted For Trump In 2016 Where Does He Stand Now
NPR’s Rachel Martin speaks with Robb Ewoldt, a soybean and corn farmer in Iowa, who plans to vote for President Trump in November despite his numerous reservations about the president.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
The choice for president this year is not clear-cut for some Iowans, including Robb Ewoldt. He’s a farmer outside the city of Davenport, and I met him back in January on his farm, just before the Iowa caucuses.
ROBB EWOLDT: Yeah, my parents – they bought this in 1970. It was just bare grass and pasture.
EWOLDT: Joe Biden – I don’t trust him. You know, with what’s going on right now with the impeachment, I think Trump got caught and maybe Biden didn’t. That’s just the way I look at it.
EWOLDT: I didn’t say that, either. I didn’t say that. And I didn’t say that I was voting for him. Right now, maybe I leave the top box empty, to be honest with you, because my family and I are in a worse position now than we were four years ago. So it’s very difficult to say, yeah, you got my vote.
Do you still plan to leave the top box empty, Robb?
EWOLDT: No, I don’t. I’ll end up voting for Trump. You know, I’ve heard it best described as I’m going to vote for the devil I know and not the devil I don’t know. I know where he stands on ag policies and how it affects my life. Sometimes I agree sometimes I don’t. But I know what I’m getting.
EWOLDT: My pleasure. Give a call any other time.
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Illinois Farmers Voice Support For Trump Despite Hardships
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US Farmers Prepare to Vote Amid Record Government Aid
When he set out to plant his crops earlier this year, Illinois farmer Ron Moore was preparing for another year of trade uncertainty with China, one of the largest purchasers of the more than 300 hectares of soybeans he grows on a family farm he has tilled since 1977.
The year 2020 would prove to be unlike any growing season Moore had witnessed. A global pandemic upended the food supply chain, pushing down wholesale prices for livestock and the foodstuffs they consume.
They are not going to eat a lot of corn and theyre not going to eat a lot of soybean meal, Moore explained to VOA during a break in this years harvest. So that decimated demand for the grains that provide the feed for the livestock.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a 35% drop in soybean prices that coincided with a multiyear trade war with China that saw Beijing turn increasingly to Brazil and other U.S. competitors for the staple. The pandemic reduced Chinese purchases even further.
It was a double whammy, so to speak, and we were terribly affected by the pandemic in the livestock and grain industry, Moore said.
For many, the challenges continue. Some 30 kilometers from Moores operation, farmer Wendell Shauman has seen prices for corn, one of his primary crops, fall 44% since 2014. Hopes for a rebound in 2020 have been dashed.
‘It was a big help’
Hoping for a semblance of normalcy
Why We Wrote This
Farmers are an important rural constituency, whose support for President Trump has held up despite his trade wars that dented exports.
Republicans can count on Terry Hocks vote. Hes a Wisconsin dairy farmer who applauds President Trump for standing up to China. Hes the only one that ever stood up against it, or any foreign country, he says. I also like the fact that hes a businessman.
The Trump administration has also ensured that a generous amount of federal aid flows to farmers whose exports have suffered. Last year payments from the federal government made up an estimated 40% of farmers incomes.
But there are other reasons why farmers back Mr. Trump and are wary of his challengers agenda. Brigette Leach, a vegetable farmer in Michigan, worries about the Democrats Green New Deal proposals. Anything that looks or sounds like the Green New Deal I see nothing in any of it that bodes well for agriculture, she says.
In the war of signage, theres no contest along the back roads of Wisconsin. As combines cut down the last standing corn and flocks of geese crease the gray sky, the countryside blossoms with blue Trump Pence 2020 signs that promise to Keep America Great.
Farming has been less than great in recent years. Buffeted by trade wars and the disruptions of COVID-19, many crop and livestock farmers have struggled.
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Awash In Relief Money Ohio Valley Farmers Reflect On Trump Promises And Their Ballots
Rick Murdock drives past his neighbors on rural back roads in southwest Calloway County, Kentucky, most days in his pickup truck, where hell pass by some signs of the season Trump 2020 flags and signs.
Murdock said hes never been the type to put up signs or banners himself supporting a particular candidate I would not want to offend my brother, or my neighbor but he does consider himself to be a conservative, a Christian. He recalled a past Election Day when he took his then 8-year-old daughter with him to the voting booth to show her what the process was like. He voted for former President George W. Bush that year.
The curtain came around us, and she was standing there with me. And when I voted for Bush, she stomped her foot, he said with a laugh. So, my eight-year-old daughter thought I made a bad choice that day.
Rick Murdock, sporting a hat with the brand of his corn variety he grows.
Lately, it seems, theres a lot more foot-stomping when people talk politics, and its not just from kids. With weeks before the election, hes finding it nearly impossible to talk with his western Kentucky neighbors, many of them also farmers, about politics, about the election, about President Donald Trump. Any attempt feels like wasted breath to him.
Rick Murdock climbs back into his truck after showing catfish ponds on his farm in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Trump Winning Farm Vote Despite Pinch Of Trade Policies Pandemic
After a chaotic several years for the agriculture industry, many farmers say they will vote for President TrumpDonald TrumpIsraeli officials say US should open consulate for Palestinians in West BankVirginia loss lays bare Democrats’ struggle with rural votersSunday shows preview: House passes bipartisan infrastructure bill Democrats suffer election loss in VirginiaMORE again, even as his policies have hurt their bottom line.
Trumps trade wars with China, Canada and Mexico rocked the industry, closing markets for farmers and pushing commodity prices down further. His pendulum swing on ethanol policies has also irked corn growers, while the coronavirus pandemic has delivered the latest gut punch.
Yet despite his support among growers being tested over the last four years, Trump is still expected to win the farm vote.
Ive lost so much money under him it’s really a crime, and COVID really took another chunk out of me, but I’m voting for Trump because I’m worried about the country, said Tim Burrack, who grows corn and soybeans on a 2,000-acre farm outside Arlington, Iowa.
Burrack said his concern over law enforcement issues, immigration and “liberal policies,” as well as what he sees as media bias toward the president, have pushed him toward Trump again after he questioned whether he would do so last year. That’s despite losing an estimated $265,000 in 2019 due to Trumps trade war and ethanol waivers given to refiners.
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Trump Administration ‘playing With Trade’
But Kristin Duncanson, a Minnesota soybean and corn farmer, said that while this year had seen prices improve, Mr Trump’s trade approach was costly and had upset many farmers.
“Playing with trade the way that the Trump administration did during these past few years is really dangerous,” she said.
She said many farmers acknowledged the fact the trade war cost them financially, but they were prepared to overlook it because of the subsidies and the hope of better trade deals in future.
“The majority of farmers realise that the subsidies are a big play to keep voters that were attracted to Trump in 2016 happy in 2020,” Ms Duncanson said.
“The things that farmers were hearing from Trump in 2016 were very enticing, and they’re not willing to abandon it yet and want to give him more time.”
She said subsidies had helped her farm keep ticking over, but only just.
“The trade payments that we got were enough to get our bills paid, but they certainly weren’t adding to our operation at all,” she said.
Ms Duncanson said half of her cropping income this year had come from subsidies and while she found the money helpful, she did not like relying on it.
“It’s just not sustainable. The combination of the trade and COVID payments that we got to keep us in business are something that we take into consideration, but we can’t do that long term,” Ms Duncanson said.
Two Ways To Read The Story
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Its been a tough few years for farmers. Milk and livestock spoiled or went unsold during the initial pandemic lockdowns. And President Donald Trumps bruising trade wars have led to retaliatory tariffs and bans on U.S. agricultural exports.
Yet in Wisconsin, a battleground state in next weeks election, farmers remain among the presidents strongest supporters, just as they are in states like Ohio and Michigan. While their numbers are modest farmers make up 9% of eligible voters in Wisconsin their votes are eagerly courted by Republican campaigners seeking to offset their expected losses in suburban districts.
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