Monday, April 09, 2018

GOP politicos try to calm farmers' trade war fears

"Many of the farmers who helped propel Donald Trump to the presidency fear becoming pawns in his escalating trade war with China, which threatens markets for soybeans, corn and other lifeblood crops in the Upper Midwest," David Weigel reports for The Washington Post. That's putting Republican politicians in the difficult position of needing to listen to constituents' concerns while supporting their president and chief of their party. And though "many of the Trump administration’s economic documents have been laughably sketchy and amateurish," Fareed Zakaria of CNN writes in an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Trump is correct on a fundamental point: China is a "trade cheat" and is violating World Trade Organization principles.

So Trump and GOP politicos have a tricky line to walk in an election year. "While the battle for control of the House will be waged in large part in the suburbs, rural districts in Southern Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas and Missouri could prove important," Sheryl Stolberg and Ana Swanson report for The New York Times. "And control of the Senate could come down to Republican efforts to unseat Democrats in North Dakota, Indiana, Missouri and Montana — all states staring down the barrels of a trade war’s guns."

In a statement last week, Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation (arguably the nation's most influential farmers' group), released a statement pleading with President Trump to end the trade war, William Watts reports for MarketWatch. In a visit last week to Kentucky, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sought to calm farmers' fears, promising that American farmers won't be "the tip of the spear" in the escalating trade war, Greg Kocher reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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