Monday, July 09, 2018

Trump Trade War Agenda Breathes New Hopes Into Democratic Hopes To Capture The Senate-- Tennessee


Trump Devours The GOP by Nancy Ohanian

Trump beat Hillary in Tennessee gigantically, 1,522,925 (60.7%) to 870,695 (34.7%)-- winning ever one of the state's 95 counties but 3. Today there aren't many states where Trump has an approval rating of 20 or above-- but Tennessee is one of them (along with Louisiana, Alabama, West Virginia, Mississippi and Wyoming). Tennessee clocks in at exactly 20-- but when he first took office, Tennessee was much Trumpier than it is today. His favorability rating has crashed from 33% when he first moved into the White House-- down 13 points, a bigger decline than any of the other Trump-worshipping states. But Trump disapproval hasn't reached bottom yet in Tennessee-- and his growing toxicity could help the Democrats take the U.S. Senate away from the GOP in November.

As we've seen, former 2-term Democratic Governor Phil Bredensen has been leading Republican Marsha Blackburn in every Senate poll since he announced-- by an average of 5 points. As unlikely as it sounds, Bredesen could actually win in a state no one thought could be a problem for the GOP. But, in a state as red as Tennessee, 5 points is too close for comfort. Steve Peoples and Jonathan Mattise, in a report for Associated Press over the weekend, suggested how things might get even better for Bredensen, courtesy of Señor Trumpanzee... and his trade war agenda that is killing Tennessee hog farmers. They spoke with Jimmy Tosh who has a huge hog farm 2 hours west of Nashville, in the middle of Trump country. "Tosh," they wrote, "a third-generation farmer who almost always votes Republican, said he’s voting this fall for Blackburn’s Democratic opponent, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, in part because Trump’s trade wars are hurting his family business-- a sizable one with some 400 employees and 30,000 pigs. The cost of steel needed for new barns is up, Tosh said, and the expanding pork market stands to suffer under new tariffs. "
“This tariff situation has got me very, very, very concerned,” Tosh told The Associated Press. “I just think Bredesen would be better on that situation.” He said Blackburn has shifted “toward the center” on tariffs, “but in my opinion, it’s a little late and not far enough.”

Similar concerns are roiling high-profile Senate contests in Missouri, Indiana, Pennsylvania and North Dakota and forcing GOP candidates to answer for the trade policies of a Republican president they have backed on almost every other major issue.

In 2016, populist attacks against free trade defined Trump’s political rise. Now, as he sparks an international trade war four months before the midterm elections, few policies could be more problematic for Trump’s allies in pivotal Senate contests.

The Trump administration imposed a 25 percent tax on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports on Friday, and China is retaliating with taxes on an equal amount of U.S. products, including soybeans, electric cars and pork. The administration has penalized steel and aluminum imports from allies such as Canada and Mexico, leading to retaliation against American-made products such as blue jeans, motorcycles and whiskey.

The tension has reshaped the race to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN). Blackburn, an eight-term congresswoman, has been one of the president’s biggest boosters for the past two years, yet with the business community up in arms, she’s dramatically softened her support for Trump’s trade policies, at least... Still, Blackburn opposed a proposal by Corker that would have given Congress new authority to check the president’s trade moves. She called Corker’s approach “a little bit too broad.”

Instead, Blackburn helped write a letter urging Trump’s commerce secretary to reconsider broad tariffs so as to avoid harm to Tennessee’s economy.

An estimated $1.4 billion in Tennessee exports are threatened by Trump’s trade moves, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a longtime Republican ally. Those exports are linked to more than 850,000 jobs in the state related to farming, steel, baked goods, car manufacturing, whiskey and more.

Nationwide, the U.S. Chamber reported that $75 billion in U.S. exports will soon be subject to retaliatory tariffs. Many of the hardest hit states are those that backed Trump and feature top-tier Senate races in November.

...Blackburn has been backed into a corner by the state’s business leaders.

Tennessee whiskey maker Jack Daniel’s, for example, sends roughly 60 percent of its business out of the country.

Jack Daniel’s parent company was forced to increase prices across Europe as a result of tariffs imposed by the European Union in response to Trump’s tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum. Shares of the company dropped sharply last month after Mexico announced plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on whiskey in response to Trump’s moves.

“Tariffs such as these, they can only do harm,” said Jack Daniel’s general manager Larry Combs.

Another major Tennessee employer, home appliance maker Electrolux, continues to delay a $250 million expansion in Tennessee “given the uncertainty of U.S. trade policy,” said company spokeswoman Eloise Hale. “These tariffs are directly increasing our costs,” she said.

The Democrat in the Senate race, former Gov. Bredesen, has seized on the issue. Even in a state Trump won by 26 points, he’s betting he can use Blackburn’s loyalty to the president against her because of the tariff-related fallout.

“She clearly is very loath to do anything contrary to what the Trump playbook is,” Bredesen said.

“The way I’ve read her expression is, ‘We elected Trump president. I’m here to make sure he gets his agenda passed,’” Bredesen continued. “What I would like to do is say, ‘Look, I’m there to be with the president on stuff that makes sense for Tennessee, to be against him on stuff that is not.’ And that’s true whether it’s a D or an R president.”

Blackburn is eager to change the subject.

But back at the hog farm, Tosh is worried about the family business.

“The pork producers in the country are probably being impacted more so than any element of the economy right now,” he said. “We’re probably going to scale back some plans that we had, at least put them on hold.”
If the Democrats hold onto all their seats and win the Republican-held states they're leading in-- Nevada, Arizona and Tennessee-- it's bye-bye for Mitch McConnell running the U.S. Senate. The current partisan makeup-- 51 Republicans v 49 Democrats flips to 52 Democrats v 48 Republicans (and with McCain not voting, that effectively makes it 52 Democrats v 47 Republicans). Combine that with a likely Democratic House... and Trump will either be marrying his veto pen or will be compromising with Democrats to get anything done at all.

Trump Jumps Ship by Nancy Ohanian

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At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With 6 republicans and likely 3 more added, the democrap caucus won't have any majority at all. We saw the same thing in 2008 when the democrap number was 60, but effectively only 48 or so. Harriet reid never tried to enforce any kind of unity to address the 2008 voter mandate so we can't know how many total sellouts there were. But nelson, bayh, Baucus, Lieberman, scummer and reid himself make 6 who behaved far more like republicans than democrats.

only scummer remains from that list. But the DSCC has recruited well. Manchin will also be gone. But DWT has nicely ID'd some particularly horrible potential newbies.

They may capture the senate, barely. But they'll still behave like an inept minority... by design.

And Trade policy isn't something the senate has tried to have any influence over in decades. The senate, both "parties", have ceded most of their constitutional mandates since 1980. It hasn't declared war since 1941 in spite of all our wars since then.

If you think scummer has a ball and will lean on trump wrt trade or anything else, you've not watched scummer for the past 3 decades. ditto Pelosi.

and scummer and Pelosi are the only ones who matter since they each rule their caucus tyrannically.


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