I was visiting with my 30-something son last night and he was remarking about President Trump’s incredible energy. He also marveled at how Trump simplifies all the issues he deals with to black and white.
There isn’t a lot of nuance about Trump, as anyone who follows President Trump’s exclamation-filled tweets (@realDonaldTrump) fully knows. Here is one:
- “I am sorry to have to reiterate that there are serious and unpleasant consequences to crossing the Border into the United States ILLEGALLY! If there were no serious consequences, our country would be overrun with people trying to get in, and our system could not handle it!”
Is Trump bull-headed for good effect? Will he be “right” in the end?
On the question of whether Trump can deliver on trade policy, farmers are increasingly doubting his path.
Farm Journal editor Anna-Lisa Laca recently penned a story about Trump’s flagging profile in farm country. From her story's first graph:
Almost 70% of farmers voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, yet the latest Farm Journal Research survey shows only 56% would vote for him again and 41% view him unfavorably, while 35%—whether judging him favorable or unfavorable overall—view him “less favorably” than they did before the trade wars. That’s because the trade wars strike the balance sheets of farmers who are already fighting through the fourth year of tough times—with no relief on the horizon.
TK: Yet there are still strong supporters of Trump, even in agriculture and even in the produce business.
One sales representative from a produce company wrote Anna-Lisa with his reaction. I post it here, with the permission of the writer, but anonymously:
No offense to you in anything written below. Just passionate about the subject. In many of the articles I’ve read in many produce publications lately, they only explain the immediate sting of the tariffs on the industry. It has only been three months since they were actually implemented.
Did anyone really think a trade war was only going to take 3 months? Trump did not put tariffs on apples/cherries/and other farmers, China did. We tariffed much bigger industries (Steel etc) because that is where America as a whole was getting hurt. We were losing out big time as Americans.
They retaliated with produce because that is about as big of an industry that they could hit, and try to diminish the American spirit of the farmers in particular as they know many supported Trump.
Which brings up another point, just because a person is a farmer doesn’t mean they support Trump, so there is an element of that poll in your article that I would bet has the same animosity as the mainstream media regarding Trump period. So, of course, they will complain about his initiation of a trade war.
Trump did not establish the policies that allowed the massive imbalances in trade, previous administrations did. And if we look at this trade war through only the prism of a farmer, then yeah, it stings, but not all 325 million people in America are farmers. Some work in the steel industry and have lost jobs to imported Chinese steel and aluminum that was allowed to be shipped here and sold at a much cheaper price than American steel.
And we all know that the main reason that they are able to be cheaper, even with the freight of shipping from China, is the fact that they do not honor any labor laws whatsoever.
During WW2 women went and worked in factories to replace their husbands, car plants were turned into Tank and bomber manufacturing plants, and countless other examples occurred of teamwork that truly unified a country and created the “greatest generation” that my grandfather was a part of, including being a veteran of WW2, alongside all races of people.
That is the spirit that I wish this country would get back to, and it is the spirit of many farmers I know. Which is why the headline of your article being “Farmers support for Trump erodes” strikes me as almost fear mongering. The 45 and younger crowd makes up a MUCH larger percentage of the population vs. the 65 and older crowd.
And he still has 64% support according to your article. And even when it is averaged out with 65 and older he still has 54% support, and this is from the people that are actually taking hits from the tariffs!! Now if you factor that in, and then add in addition the fact I mentioned above that all farmers aren’t Republicans and are going to trash him no matter what, I would say he is doing pretty darn well (last time I checked 54% was still a majority).
So let's hope for the best in this Trade War and help him fix the fecklessness of past administrations, which will no doubt provide a better future for our farmers by opening up a whole new world when it comes to exports and tariffs being fixed or eliminated.
Let’s write some articles uplifting these farmers to show them that hey, we ARE really in the good fight, write an article on aluminum and steel and how domestic companies are and will be recovering due to this. China, who is our worst offender, needs us way more than we need them. They will come to the table over some period of time. But Rome wasn’t built in three months.
TK: Trump’s persistence makes the end game for his trade policy impossible to predict. But to reassure the doubters and bolster the believers, it is time to deliver some wins, hopefully in the next three months.