Politics Magazine

Trump's Policies Hurt His Most Reliable Voters (Rural Voters)

Posted on the 13 May 2019 by Jobsanger
Trump's Policies Hurt His Most Reliable Voters (Rural Voters)
Trump's Policies Hurt His Most Reliable Voters (Rural Voters)
These charts reflect the results of a recent Politico / Morning Consult Poll -- done on April 28th and 29th of a national sample of 1,995 registered voters, with a margin of error of 2 points.
It shows that rural voters are the most reliable supporters that Donald Trump has. By a 12 point margin, they approve of the job Trump is doing. Suburban voters disapprove by a 15 point margin, and urban voters disapprove by a 35 point margin.
The same is true when those voters are asked if they would vote to re-elect Trump. Rural voters would reelect Trump by a 7 point margin. Suburban voters would vote against him by 20 point margin, and urban voters would vote against him by a 39 point margin.
One would think that Trump would go out of his way to take care of those rural voters. But just the opposite is true. His policies have hurt rural people worse than either suburban or urban people.
Here is some of how Nobel Prize economist Paul Krugman puts it in The New York Times:
Rural America is a key part of Donald Trump’s base. In fact, rural areas are the only parts of the country in which Trump has a net positive approval rating. But they’re also the biggest losers under his policies. What, after all, is Trumpism? In 2016 Trump pretended to be a different kind of Republican, but in practice almost all of his economic agenda has been G.O.P. standard: big tax cuts for corporations and the rich while hacking away at the social safety net. The one big break from orthodoxy has been his protectionism, his eagerness to start trade wars. And all of these policies disproportionately hurt farm country. The Trump tax cut largely passes farmers by, because they aren’t corporations and few of them are rich. One of the studies by Agriculture Department economists that raised Trumpian ire showed that to the extent that farmers saw tax reductions, most of the benefits went to the richest 10 percent, while poor farmers actually saw a slight tax increase. At the same time, the assault on the safety net is especially harmful to rural America, which relies heavily on safety-net programs. Of the 100 counties with the highest percentage of their population receiving food stamps, 85 are rural, and most of the rest are in small metropolitan areas. The expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which Trump keeps trying to kill, had its biggest positive impact on rural areas. And these programs are crucial to rural Americans even if they don’t personally receive government aid. Safety-net programs bring purchasing power, which helps create rural jobs. Medicaid is also a key factor keeping rural hospitals alive; without it, access to health care would be severely curtailed for rural Americans in general. What about protectionism? The U.S. farm sector is hugely dependent on access to world markets, much more so than the economy as a whole. American soybean growers export half of what they produce; wheat farmers export 46 percent of their crop. China, in particular, has become a key market for U.S. farm products. That’s why Trump’s recent rage-tweeting over trade, which raised the prospect of an expanded trade war, sent grain markets to a 42-year low. It’s important to realize, by the way, that the threat to farmers isn’t just about possible foreign retaliation to Trump’s tariffs. One fundamental principle in international economics is that in the long run, taxes on imports end up being taxes on exports as well, usually because they lead to a higher dollar. If the world descends into trade war, U.S. imports and exports will both shrink — and farmers, among our most important exporters, will be the biggest losers. . . . Trump’s biggest supporters are his biggest victims.

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