North Dakota Democrats Have a Point About Trump’s Trade Fight With China


Mike Dahlen holds a sample of soybeans from his Northwood, ND, farm. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

News this morning is that China has fired back at President Donald Trump’s aggressive trade movies, threatening tariffs on 106 American products including (perhaps most importantly for North Dakota) soybeans.

Our state is one of the top soybean producers in the state. And, doing the political calculus on this situation, soybeans are grown perhaps most predominantly in the Red River Valley in eastern North Dakota. Which just so happens to be where most of North Dakota’s voters are.

So it’s not surprising that, with China threatening a trade war which could hit an important North Dakota crop, a Democrat hoping to get elected to Congress sees an opportunity.

Former state Senator Mac Schneider, endorsed Democrat candidate for the U.S. House, is making political hay:

The thing is, this is more than just savvy politics. Schneider has a point. If President Trump’s trade maneuvering backfires and hits rural voters in the pocketbook the collateral damage may well be Republicans trying to defeat Democrats like Schneider.

Some of the Democratic rhetoric about this is going to be hyperbolic – I mean, we’re talking about politicians – but behind the smoke there really is a fire.

This is, potentially, a disaster for Republicans. We can take some solace in the fact that both sides – China and the Trump administration – are just making threats at this point. Maybe nothing will come of it. But even the fear or a potential outcome could have ugly political ramifications for Republican candidates.