You have to give your supporters nice things. The last year hasn’t been a good one for many U.S. farmers. Between flooding and a trade war, they have been hit hard. In fact, there was a time when some farmers were turning against Trump. But he understands something too many Democrats don’t–you help your supporters when they’re in trouble (boldface mine):
Donald Trump is boasting that he’s made farmers “really happy.” He’s not wrong, but it’s not just the trade deal that’s left farmers optimistic for 2020.
Analysts are saying the accord signed this week mostly just takes trade back to normal for American agriculture. China has committed to $32 billion in additional purchases over two years, but that buying will be market dependent and retaliatory tariffs are still in place. Even the status quo is still a welcome relief after more than a year of escalating tensions.
The thing that’s really moved the needle for farmers is Trump’s $28 billion farm bailout. The trade aid meant incomes rose in a year when they were widely expected to fall.
Even better news: U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue just confirmed he’s expecting the administration will make the third and final payment for the aid package, even with the China deal. Perdue said those checks should be coming “imminently.” That extra income boost underscores why farmers are feeling good in places like Iowa’s Sioux County, the top agricultural producer in a state that’s No. 1 for corn and hogs.
“I’m really optimistic,” said Chris Ten Napel, who farms 2,500 acres (1,012 hectares) and raises 15,000 hogs a year in a family operation with his father and brother in Sioux County. “Things are looking up, you might say.”
…In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects national net farm income for 2019 will be up more than 10% to the highest since 2013, with the bailout payments accounting for the increase….
“Without the trade aid, almost no one would have made money,” said Eric Walhof, president of Northwest Bank in Sioux Center, Iowa. About half the bank’s farm borrowers turned a profit last year, and the rest had what he called “manageable” losses….
“He understands we’re at the front lines of the trade war. He’s taken care of us,” Brad Den Herder, who grows corn and soybeans and raises hogs with his brother and father, said of Trump before trade deals were finalized this week. “We don’t feel forgotten.”
If it weren’t for the aid — the $28 billion sum ringing in at more than twice as expensive as the 2009 bailout of automakers — many Iowa farmers would’ve likely posted losses last year.
Most people aren’t policy wonks–they use heuristics. One of those heuristics is ‘am I doing better because of something Politician or Party X did?’
Democrats are going to have to learn to stop worrying about HOW WILL WE PAY FOR IT?!? and start shoveling money towards their supporters, instead of the ‘eat your vegetables’ philosophy of valuing austerity over nice new things–and, Sweet Baby Intelligent Designer, no goddamn Social Security cuts. Regardless of the specific Green New Deal plan, along with many of Sanders’ and Warren’s other plan, their policies would disproportionately funnel money to Democratic-aligned institutions and voters.
You dance with them that brung ya.