Capturing on rising Farm Belt disappointment with President Donald Trump’s economic agenda, Democratic competitors are improving their push to take back part of provincial America, whose remarkable support for Trump helped launch his upset 2016 election triumph.
The sparsely populated U.S. rural land has remained loyal to the Republican president even as farmers from Iowa to Wisconsin to Pennsylvania bear the burden of his tariff war with China. His advisers request Trump’s prediction of toughness against China will only relish, not alienate, his base.
Democrats seeking to face Trump in the November 2020 election challenge that assumption, pointing to farmers reeling from jumping prices and unsold crops during what’s now over a year-long trade conflict with China. Farmers and ethanol makers are further upset with the administration’s newest decision to permit more oil refiners to ignore biofuel laws and use less corn-based ethanol.
From front-runner, Joe Biden to U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, many of the more than 20 Democratic presidential hopefuls have highlighted the economic injury caused by Trump’s trade conflict and biofuel waivers as the central board of their pitches to rural America.
In recent weeks, a few other candidates, such as Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, have rushed to introduce plans for rural America, touching on everything from farm grants to rural healthcare and broadband.
They’ve already been campaigning heavily in rural Iowa, the state that starts the party’s nominating contest in February and is the biggest producer of ethanol and corn.
Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, mentioned in a statement last Friday: “Between burning bridges with all of our greatest trading associates and undermining our domestic biofuels trade, President Trump is making issues worse, not better.”