Saturday, August 31, 2019

Trump's Agenda-- And Personal Insecurities-- Are Hammering Rural Voters From Every Angle


Jason Butler is the newest candidate Blue America has endorsed. He's running for a North Carolina seat (NC-02) that is about half suburban and half rural. The incumbent, George Holding, is just a good-for-nothing corporate shill and Trump rubber-stamp and enabler. Butler was fuming the other day because Holding had voted against HR 265, this year's Agricultural and Rural Development Appropriations Act. The Act includes:
Appropriates $1.3 billion to the Agricultural Research Service for salaries and expenses (Title I).
$2.8 billion for guaranteed farm ownership loans
$1.5 billion for farm ownership direct loans
$1.9 billion for unsubsidized guaranteed operating loans
$1.5 billion for direct operation loans
$37.7 million for emergency loans
"Trump," said Butler, "doesn’t seem to understand that he’s not on a television show any more-- this is a real life reality show and he’s killing the American farmer with his reckless ego competition with the Chinese. That’s because he’s completely out of touch with the reality of hard working Americans. He’s lived in a penthouse his whole life. His local minion, George Holding, is no different. Holding recently voted against that Agriculture and Rural Development legislation which allocates desperately needed funds to agencies which directly assist our American farmers. Half of Holding’s district is rural farming communities. It seems these two won’t stop at anything until all the wealth in America belongs to the rich."

The Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association sent out a scorching press release this week-- and it was Trump who got scorched. Trump did very well in Nebraska in 2016. He won 91 of Nebraska's 93 counties and beat Hillary 495,961 (58.75%) to 284,494 (33.70%). It was even better for Trump in the most rural counties. The massive 3rd congressional district takes up over three quarters of the state and is bigger than New York state. It is 86% rural. Trump won NE-03 with 74.9% of the vote, one of his biggest wins anywhere in the country. Those corn farmers bought into the Times Square hustler hook line and sinker. "As harvest approaches after an extremely difficult year for agriculture," wrote the Nebraska Corn Board team, "many Nebraska corn farmers are outraged by the Trump administration’s lack of support for the American farmer. The Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association call upon the administration to fulfill its promises and to abide by the law and uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)." NE-03 isn't going to abandon Trump in 2020. He'll win that district and ridiculous closet queen Adrian Smith (R) will be reelected to Congress. But NE-01 is probably lost to Trump and NE-02 is teetering.
President Trump’s administration continues to erode the RFS by granting 31 unjustified refinery waivers, destroying demand for corn and ultimately choosing to bail out the oil industry rather than helping American farmers. Corn farmers are already suffering from ongoing trade disputes, uncertain weather and continued low prices.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “All we’re getting is lip service. At one moment, we think President Trump is on our side, and then the refinery waivers come through. It’s truly a slap in the face. Farmers are hurting and it just keeps getting worse.”

Along with undermining the RFS, the U.S. has made little progress in trade. A new deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada still has not been reached and tensions continue to escalate between the U.S. and China.

“Many of our corn farmers have stood with Trump for a long time, but that may soon change” said Dan Nerud, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Dorchester. “Trump needs to uphold the law and his commitment to our nation’s corn farmers by making the RFS whole and bringing trade agreements to the finish line.”

Nebraska Corn urges you to stand up for our state’s corn and ethanol industries by telling the Trump administration to stop stripping the RFS. Rural America is under attack and now is the time to act.
Goal ThermometerOne of the few congressional districts as Trumpified as NE-03 is the equally rural south east Missouri district occupied by-- what a coincidence-- another closet case, Jason Smith. Progressive activist Kathy Ellis is taking him on this cycle and this morning she told me that "In the past year, Missouri has seen a 96% increase in farm bankruptcies. Our local economy is suffering in the 8th District, and while Jason Smith visits farmers and takes pictures on his 'farm tour,' he isn't working towards any real, sustainable solutions for our agricultural economy. Perhaps Rep. Smith could have less photo opps and instead ask farmers what they'd like to see change in the district. They know best, and Smith has continually ignored them to instead be a rubber stamp for Trump's damaging policies."

J.D. Scholten is running in the Iowa equivalent on NE-03, Steve King's beleaguered IA-04. The district is 75% rural and gave Trump a 60.9% to 33.5% win over Hillary. Last year, though, rural communities were beginning to catch on. J.D. made a persuasive, progressive case against Trump and King and-- with no help from the DCCC whatsoever-- came close to winning, holding King down to just 50.4% of the vote. Of the 39 counties in the district, J.D, won 5 and fought King to a tie in 5 others. J.D. won the first, second, third and fifth most populated counties: Story, Woodbury, Cerro Gordo and Webster and came within a tiny handful of voters in some of the most rural farming counties in the state, like Buena Vista, Hamilton, Winnebago, Greene, Emmet and Audubon. The soy bean farmers in these counties know Trump has destroyed the soy bean market forever and that it's never coming back. They voted for Trump and he ruined their lives.

J.D. told us that "King has left behind the renewable fuel folks for years. It didn’t shock anyone when he endorsed one of the biggest anti-ethanol folks in D.C., Ted Cruz, for president in 2016. The corn growers and the renewable fuels industry are looking for solutions and leaders. If we are going to get carbon-neutral or decarbon, renewable fuels are a part of that equation. But instead, Trump’s EPA is rewarding oil giants like Exxon Mobil and Chevron with RFS waivers, saving them hundreds of millions of dollars while corn growers and folks who work in the renewable fuels industry are struggling just to get by. Trump and his cronies like King will keep lining the wallets of the oil industry at the expense of our farmers."

Audrey Denney's opponent is Trump enabler Doug LaMalfa in the northeast corner of California, one of the most rural districts in the state. Today she told us that "the Trump Administration policies are directly hurting farmers all over the country. According to the American Farm Bureau, farm bankruptcy filings for 2019 through June were up 13 percent from 2018 and loan delinquency rates are on the rise. North State farmers are asking for trade policies that expand markets and immigration reform that helps them get the labor they need. Congressman LaMalfa-- a farmer himself-- has failed to be an advocate for the industry he represents. I’ve worked in agriculture education my entire career and can’t wait to fight for North State farmers and ranchers when they send me to DC."

But rural support for Trump isn't just about soybeans and corn. In his Washington Post column yesterday, Michael Gerson wrote about why white evangelicals should panic. "Much white evangelical support for President Trump," he wrote, "is based on a bargain or transaction: political loyalty (and political cover for the president’s moral flaws) in return for protection from a hostile culture. Many evangelicals are fearful that courts and government regulators will increasingly treat their moral and religious convictions as varieties of bigotry. And that this will undermine the ability of religious institutions to maintain their identities and do their work. Such alarm is embedded within a larger anxiety about lost social standing that makes Trump’s promise of a return to greatness appealing... But this is not, by any reasonable measure, the largest problem evangelicals face. It is, instead, the massive sell-off of evangelicalism among the young. About 26 percent of Americans 65 and older identify as white evangelical Protestants. Among those ages 18 to 29, the figure is 8 percent. Why this demographic abyss does not cause greater panic-- panic concerning the existence of evangelicalism as a major force in the United States-- is a mystery and a scandal. With their focus on repeal of the Johnson Amendment and the right to say 'Merry Christmas,' some evangelical leaders are tidying up the kitchen while the house burns down around them."

Gerson further explains that there is, ironically, an allergic reaction to the religious right. One of the main rationales for the very existence of this movement was to assert the role of religion in the public square in America. And, instead, what’s happening in that very movement has actually driven an increasing share of Americans out of religion. This alienation preceded the current president, but it has intensified during the Trump era.
If evangelicals were to consult their past, they would find that their times of greatest positive influence-- in late-18th-century and early-19th-century Britain, or mid-19th-century America-- came when they were truest to their religious calling. It was not when they acted like another political interest group. The advocates of abolition, prison reform, humane treatment of the mentally disabled and women’s rights were known as malcontents in the cause of human dignity.

Today, far too many evangelicals are seen as angry and culturally defensive, and have tied their cause to a leader who is morally corrupt and dehumanizes others. Older evangelicals-- the very people who should be maintaining and modeling moral standards-- have ignored and compromised those standards for political reasons in plain view of their own children. And disillusionment is the natural result.

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At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're still American, rural and mostly white. They'll either vote for trump or not vote at all.

But so what. If trump wins every state he won last time by 1 vote each, he still takes, what was it, 306 electors? And he could lose CA by 10 million, NY by 8 million..

he WILL lose the popular vote by maybe 12 million and COULD lose it by 20 million... and still "win" the election. The final tally depends only on how terrible the democraps continue to be.

He knows this. And do you know how he will guarantee winning his states again? Doing exactly what he's doing. Stupid shit to look tough wrt china; fomenting hatred; border wall; concentration camps; military fetishism...

The democraps got nuthin. haven't had since LBJ's time. just ask the 70 million who never vote but still poll favoring MFA,GND and so on.

At 6:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition to the list presented by 1:58, voter suppression and electoral fraud efforts are being accelerated. Los Angeles just pushed through a massive purchase of unverifiable voting machines, and the registrar of voters refuses to discuss the issue when approached. What this reveals is that both Parties are now in the business of telling the voters who THEY decide to put into office.

So it isn't just the rural voters, the ones the Democratic Party seeks to woo away from the Republicans. It's also the urban dwellers whom the Democrats have abandoned in their quest to claim the portion of the political spectrum where the Republicans once lived before they rushed to the edge to jump off as Nazis.


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