The sparsely populated U.S. heartland has remained loyal to the Republican president even as farmers from Iowa to Wisconsin to Pennsylvania bear the brunt of his tariff war with China. His advisers insist Trump’s projection of toughness against China will only delight, not alienate, his base.
Democrats seeking to face Trump in the November 2020 election challenge that presumption, pointing to farmers reeling from plunging prices and unsold crops during what is now more than a year-long trade war with China. Farmers and ethanol producers are also upset with the administration’s latest decision to allow more oil refiners to skirt biofuel laws and use less corn-based ethanol.
From front-runner Joe Biden to U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, many of the more than 20 Democratic presidential candidates have highlighted the economic damage caused by Trump’s trade war and biofuel waivers as the central plank of their pitches to rural America.
At various campaign stops in Iowa since June, Biden has said the trade war was “crushing” American farmers. “How many farmers across this state, across this nation, have to face the prospect of losing everything, losing their farm because of these tariffs?” Biden said in Warren County, Iowa, last week.