A pair of newspaper articles make for an interesting contrast on the response to President Trump in rural America.
In Loyalty, unease in Trump’s Midwest, the Washington Post's Dan Balz reports:
After eight years of displeasure with the presidency of Barack Obama and faced with a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Dennis Schminke of Austin, Minn., didn’t have to think hard about how he would vote in 2016. A retired corporate manager, a staunch conservative and a county Republican official, he supported the New York businessman.
The Post mentions later that Schminke was an occasional candidate; in fact, Austin DFLer Jeanne Poppe defeated him 54.10 percent to 45.80 percent in 2016 for the local state house seat. Balz continues:
Since then, there has not been a day that Schminke wished that Clinton, rather than Trump, were president. But week by week, month by month, as he has watched the events of Trump’s presidency, he has become increasingly conflicted and concerned about what he has seen. The turmoil, he said, has often left him feeling “motion sick.”
By early spring, he expressed a different sentiment. He had not fully broken, but he was no longer as emotionally invested in the president or a reconstituted Trumpian Republican Party. “I find myself drawing back a bit,” he said.
Schminke lives in a section of the Upper Midwest that responded enthusiastically to Trump, as a candidate and an incoming president. In this region, the Trump presidency is viewed as both reassuring and exhausting, a welcome poke in the eye at elites and the Washington power structure coupled with endless and often self-inflicted distractions. What is also apparent is that, 16 months into Trump’s presidency, many voters here have recalibrated their feelings and intensity of support for the man they backed in 2016. . . .
Read the rest at the Washington Post.
There's a different feel at the Marshall Independent, published in more conservative Lyon County, Minnesota--which doesn't seem to have voted for a Democrat for president since Trix's great-grandmother was a pup. In Area farmers refuse to blame Trump for China canceling soy deliveries, Jody Isaakson reports:
While some southwest Minnesota farmers are frustrated with the increasing tariff war with China, they are not ready to blame the Trump administration for any agriculture downturn.
The trade dispute with China is now escalating as Chinese buyers started canceling orders for U.S. soybeans. That’s a trend that could threaten the financial stability for area farmers if it continues.
At the same time, farmers in China are being encouraged to plant more soy, apparently to help offset any shortfall from the United States.
“I’m really disgusted with the way things are going,” Roger Dale, Hanley Falls Farmer and Yellow Medicine County Soybean Growers Association director, said Wednesday. “Some people blame President (Donald) Trump, but just look at what the Chinese have done to us.
“It irritates me that so much stuff (our citizens use) is made over there and only our ag products are shipped over there,” Dale said. “The tariffs should benefit everybody in the U.S., even produce more jobs for our people who need them. The cost of living might go up a little, but if we don’t sell our ag products, we could lose a lot of farmers. . . .
“The Chinese aren’t willing to buy U.S. soybeans with a 25 percent tax hanging over their head,” said Dan Basse, president of AgResource, an agricultural research and advisory firm. “You just don’t want the risk.”
China typically buys most of its soybeans from South American nations such as Brazil and Argentina during spring and early summer. It shifts to U.S. soybeans in the fall. As a result, for now, the cutbacks from the United States are relatively small.
But should they persist, it could cause real pain to U.S. farmers. Roughly 60 percent of U.S. soybeans are shipped to China.
There might also be a political impact: Three of the top five soybean-exporting states — Iowa, Indiana and Nebraska — voted for Trump in 2016. Illinois, the top soybean exporter, and Minnesota, the third-largest, backed Hillary Clinton. . . .
It's a hyper-local look at the soybean growers' dilemma, but the farmers and ag industry employees seem to lay fault at the feet of their customers, rather than their president.
Bonus: There's a quote in the WaPo article that made us pause as the amber wave of self-pity gushed around us:
That evening, the members of the local Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party gathered for their monthly meeting. With a reporter present, they replayed what had happened in the 2016 election. Many opinions were offered, including that the news media weren’t as rigorous in covering Trump as it was Clinton. One activist offered a conclusion shared by many Democrats in the Midwest. “The 60-year-old white male has been forgotten,” he said.
How quickly even the Mower County Democrats forget Clinton's running mate. Who even remembers that the now 60-year-old white male was born in St. Paul? Had he just been two years older in 2016, history might have been different in Mower County.
Photo: A soybean field.
If you appreciate our posts and original analysis, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen, 600 Maple Street, Summit SD 57266) or use the paypal button in the upper right hand corner of this post. Those wishing to make a small ongoing monthly contribution should click on the paypal subscription button.
Or you can contribute via this link to paypal; use email firstname.lastname@example.org as recipient.