To Win Senator Heidi Heitkamp Needs Her Constituents to Feel Pain


Today we got news that America’s economy is very, very strong right now.

Quarterly GDP numbers are of limited value in terms of measuring economic growth, but they do have some value. And the news that American economy grew at a 4.2 percent clip in Q2 of 2018 is good for our country.

On the other hand, the news is very bad for Democrats like Senator Heidi Heitkamp.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]…she’s stuck basically rooting against good things happening because it’s not good for her campaign.[/mks_pullquote]

Heitkamp voted against the Trump tax cuts arguing they wouldn’t be all that beneficial for the economy. Back during her 2012 campaign she, in fact, called for higher taxes. During the 2016 election cycle Heitkamp campaigned hard for Hillary Clinton who said that President Trump’s policies “would throw us into a recession.”

And yet the efficacy of Trump’s tax policies seem clear, so far.

He said they would spur economic growth.

They sure seem to be spurring economic growth.

This puts Heitkamp in a pickle. She either has to throw dirt on the strong economic numbers coming out today (I assume her campaign staff is furiously researching talking points as I write this) or admit that she was wrong in against the tax cuts.

It’s not unlike the situation Heitkamp finds herself in on trade. What is political advantageous for her right is for farmers to bleed. She needs them to feel pain, or at least think they’re going to feel pain, so she can capitalize on it politically. That means ignoring the larger problem the Trump administration is trying to solve with China on trade. That means ignoring progress Trump makes on trade with, say, the European Union which seems to be moving toward upping purchases of American products like soybeans.

And when Trump puts in place an aid package to protect farmers from feeling pain while he takes the trade fight to China? Again, Heitkamp needs those farmers to feel pain, so she has to oppose the aid even if it’s something her political mentor actually suggested Trump ought to do.

This is not an enviable position for Heitkamp to be in. She’s trailing in the few public opinion polls we have available to us, and now she’s stuck basically rooting against good things happening because it’s not good for her campaign.