President Trump is about to get his Fifth Avenue moment.

If you don’t remember the significance of Fifth Avenue in the Trumpian mythos, here’s a refresher: It came early in the 2016 presidential campaign, when the future president was riding high in the polls and already demonstrating an ability to shrug off controversies that would have destroyed other, more normal, candidates.

And so he exulted in Iowa: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

It was an alarming claim.

Unfortunately, there has been little since then to prove him wrong. Trump has insulted veterans, survived the Access Hollywood tape in which he bragged about forcefully groping women, disparaged minorities, and equivocated about Nazis. Yet he has survived, unscathed. Sure, his approval rating is still well below 50 percent in most polls, but he has 90 percent support from Republicans. Given how he won the presidency while losing the popular vote, he may figure that’s all he needs to stay in the Oval Office. The uglier Trump gets, the more the GOP rank and file seem to love him.

But there is one thing that could crack Trump’s political support: his trade policies.

He isn’t opening fire on Fifth Avenue, but through his trade wars — for which he reportedly has no end game — Trump could very well inflict pain and suffering on many of his supporters. Their jobs and lives are in danger, and this might be the clearest possible test of their loyalty to him.

Where this might be most clear is in the agriculture sector. Much of Trump’s support comes from big, but sparsely-populated, rural states. Farmers, in particular, love Trump: A poll earlier this year put their support of the president at 77 percent. Here’s the thing about farmers, though: They love free trade. They’ve been among the biggest beneficiaries of NAFTA, and they despaired when Trump tore up the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty. And they’ve been hugely vocal about their alarm at the prospects of a trade war.

This would seem to present a political problem for Trump. Iowa and Ohio, for example, are both bellwether states that went Republican in 2016. They’re also among the country’s top six producers of soybeans, the leading agricultural export in 2017.

Soybeans are also on China’s list for retaliatory tariffs.

“The math is simple,” said John Heisdorffer, …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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How this dumb trade war could crack Trump’s political coalition

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