As Trump escalates his trade war with China, and China now saying it will no longer buy any crop imports from the US, American farmers are letting the GOP know just how much they stand to lose at the ballot box next year.
Farmers’ discontent over President Donald Trump’s escalating trade war with China erupted into the open Wednesday as his agriculture secretary was confronted at a fair in rural Minnesota.
Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, drew applause as he leveled criticism of the administration’s trade policy at a forum with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in front of thousands of farmers gathered in a metal barn for a panel discussion.
American farmers took a fresh financial hit from Trump’s trade war over the weekend as China announced a halt to all U.S. agricultural imports after the president threatened Beijing with another tariff increase.
Wertish criticized Trump’s “go-it-alone approach” and the trade dispute’s “devastating damage not only to rural communities.” He expressed fears Trump’s $28 billion in trade aid will undermine public support for federal farm subsidies, saying the assistance is already being pilloried “as a welfare program, as bailouts.”
Others joined in. Brian Thalmann, president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, complained about Trump statements that farmers are doing “great” again. “We are not starting to do great again,” he said. “We are starting to go down very quickly.”
Joel Schreurs of the American Soybean Association warned American producers are in danger of long-term losses in market share in China, the world’s largest importer of soybeans.
Perdue sought to soothe the crowd as he defended the president’s policies. “Obviously this is a popular opinion. A lot of applause,” he joked after the audience reacted to Democratic Representative Angie Craig saying aid is not substitute for a strategy on trade. “There is a lot of stress out there.”
If farmers are laying into Sonny Perdue out in the open like this, then Trump may have badly miscalculated the support of farmers heading into 2020. They're no longer willing to wait 15 months to vote for Trump if the China trade war explodes and their farms go under in six. By no means does it mean farmers will start voting for Democrats in 2020, but they're not going to vote for Trump much either if the man's personally responsible for wrecking their farms.
One major miscalculation by either the US or China on this and it's global recession time anyway.