A few weeks ago when the Chinese regime and the Trump administration were trading trade threats it was pretty clear that Democrats saw an opening.
North Dakota is Trump country, and nowhere in the state is that more true than in the rural, farming communities. So when the farmers felt some unease about Trump starting a trade war – an understandable feeling given how much of our state’s agricultural production gets exported – the Democrats stepped in to fan the flames of anxiety.
It’s good politics. If liberal politicians like Senator Heidi Heitkamp, and U.S. House candidate Mac Schneider, want to win in North Dakota they have to tip-toe around Trump. The potential for a trade war gave them an opportunity to be critical of the President – painting him as reckless in a way that could hit rural Trump voters squarely in their wallets – in a way that would resonate in a red state.
The Democrats are so invested in this tack they’ve been attacking dissenters on social media. Witness Heitkamp for Senate Press Secretary Sean Higgins, and campaign Communications Director Julia Krieger, taking to Twitter to attack Bismarck-based commodities trader Eugene Graner for suggesting (on my radio show and in a letter to the editor) that some of the hysteria over Trump’s trade fight was based more on politics than market realities.
Graner must be wrong, they argue, because nearly a decade ago he gave some money to Republicans:
— Sean Higgins (@smhigg) April 16, 2018
Coincidence that the one voice whistling the same 'not to worry!' & 'hysteria' tune as Cramer on the president's tariffs is…a campaign contributor & major GOP donor? https://t.co/3PePFqf0mo pic.twitter.com/zhsvuutok6
— Julia Krieger (@jnkrieger) April 16, 2018
That’s quite the argument for two people who work for a Senator who postures herself as someone who eschews partisan politics, but I digress.
My point is, Democrats have invested themselves heavily in the idea that Trump is mishandling trade to the detriment of rural voters.
So what, then, happens if things work out? That might already be happening. “China Loosens Foreign Auto Rules, in Potential Peace Offering to Trump,” a headline in the New York Times states today.
If the end result of Trump’s bullying of China on trade is bringing that country to the table to negotiate trade deals that are better for America that’s not just a win for the American economy but a win politically for Republicans.
And a big, big loss for Democrats like Heitkamp and Schneider who bet big on Trump losing.