I wouldn’t be so sure about farm country coming out in droves for Donald J. Trump in 2020. Many farmers wanted Trump to get tough on China, but the guy who mysteriously lost money running casinos surprisingly has no idea what he’s doing when it comes to complex trade agreements.
And farmers are increasingly desperate and pissed off about it.
“The President of the United States owes farmers like myself some type of plan of action,” John Wesley Boyd Jr., a soybean farmer in Baskerville, Virginia, told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Monday.“Farmers were his base. They helped elect this president … and now he’s turning his back on America’s farmers when we need him the most,” he added.
Needless to say, if Trump starts losing support among farmers in purple states such as Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, the nest he’s made out of spent McMuffin wrappers in his White House teevee room will have to be disassembled prematurely … or sent to the Smithsonian … or sold on eBay for pennies on the dollar. Either way, it will mark a big setback for the Ocher Abomination.
But the ongoing trade war that Trump singlehandedly started is not going well, and there appears to be no end in sight. And that’s freaking out our farmers — who are getting killed by historically low soybean prices, among other grim developments.
On Friday, the leading wheat, soybean and corn grower industry groups put out a joint statement expressing their opposition to Trump’s move to escalate tariffs. The three commodities represent about 171 million acres of farmland in the United States.“Farmers have been patient and willing to let negotiations play out, but with each passing day, patience is wearing thin,” said National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp in the statement. “Agriculture needs certainty, not more tariffs.”
It’s hard not to feel some empathy for our farmers in the heartland (and everywhere else, for that matter), but what were they expecting? Again, the guy lost money running casinos! Casinos! Owning a casino license is like being given your own printing press for Christmas. Losing money on a casino is the business equivalent of getting your head stuck in a wrought-iron fence. It’s just not done, unless you’re a total moron.
Which Trump, of course, is. And he’s brought that special panache to the Sino-American trade negotiations.
As Eugene Robinson noted in a recent Washington Post column — aptly titled “Trump has no idea what he’s doing” — Trump likely blew up these negotiations all by himself because he doesn’t know the difference between negotiating with a middle-class cabinetmaker and an ascendant world power:
The administration’s trade talks with China had reportedly been going well and were supposed to be nearing an end. Trump accused the Chinese of trying to renege on concessions at the last minute, but the president’s history suggests otherwise. Veterans of the high-stakes world of New York real estate have told me about what they described as Trump’s standard negotiating practice — pitching some kind of fit at the very last minute, when the other party thought things were settled, in hopes of bullying his way to a better deal.
Sorry, farmers. But this is what (many of) you voted for.
Goodnight, and good luck.