Although much attention remains focused on the Ukraine scandal as revealed through the ongoing House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, he’s also still enacting his chaos through other means. That includes his trade war with China, which he’s kickstarted and kept going with repeated rounds of harsh tariffs. China has responded to these import taxes by dialing down their own purchases of U.S. goods, which is hitting farmers like Pennsylvania’s Bill Boyd hard. This week on CNN, Boyd — who is a Republican and voted for Trump in 2016 — called the president’s trade war “back-stabbing.”
As correspondent Vanessa Yurkevich explained:
‘Farmers have had a tough couple of years between bad weather and this trade war that has persisted. Nationally, farm bankruptcies are up 20 percent in just the last year and, here, dairy farms in Pennsylvania are dwindling. We spoke to some farmers who supported the president but say they’re rethinking their vote for 2020.’
Boyd was one of those farmers. He said that his business is “barely profitable” and the trade war was, quite simply, a “bad idea.” He added that local farmers have lost essentially their entire profit margin in the struggle enacted by Trump’s trade war and explained:
‘I think he’s sort of back-stabbing the main people who got him into office in the Midwest, all those midwest states helped to vote him in and also Pennsylvania, and he just left us out.’
It’s true — Trump’s winning margin in the electoral college came from victories in the heavily weighted states of the Midwest. More directly, Trump has claimed that he’s in office to represent the “forgotten” people of the United States — whatever that’s supposed to mean — but in this farmer’s perception, that’s just not happening.
Boyd allowed for the possibility that he would vote for someone other than Trump in 2020, but indicated he’d lean towards Trump despite the trade war. He said:
‘Unless they come up with a better alternative, I’m going to vote for him again.’
Local farmer Jesse Poliskiewicz is one of those who went from Obama to Trump when 2016 rolled around. There were a number of counties that made that flip. He said:
‘Right now, I would not vote for him. I don’t know who I’m gonna vote for. I don’t see a good candidate, on either side, in my opinion.’
Talks between U.S. and China about ending the trade war have stalled over and over again, with the accompanying seesaw in the stock market. At one point, authorities claimed that a “phase one” trade deal had been agreed to in principle, but that was never actually made official. At present, the trade war seems like it could easily stretch into next year — an election year, obviously. In the meantime, China did announce recently that it would be exempting some U.S. agricultural products from its retaliatory import taxes.
Trump has consistently refused to acknowledge the negative impacts of his trade war on Americans. He wouldn’t even acknowledge that Americans doing the importing paid the tariffs when he imposed them.