Trump doomed himself

EDITORIALS

BY ART CULLEN

Unless President Trump changes course quickly and dramatically he will not win Iowa in the 2020 general election. Because of the trade wars, the largest manufacturer in Iowa, John Deere, will reduce production by 20 percent. That means fewer hours for production workers who might have voted for Trump in 2016. Just as bad, or worse, politically was Trump’s waiver of ethanol blending rules to nearly all small petroleum refiners. Sen. Chuck Grassley said he felt “screwed” by the administration.

“This thing is gettin’ personal now. I can’t recall Chuck Grassley using this kind of salty language in public, certainly not directly aimed at the Prez. I still don’t understand the political strategy of making someone as important as this in Iowa so angry,” tweeted Scott Irwin, a well-known ag economist from the University of Illinois.

The Iowa Corn Growers are mad. The Iowa Soybean Growers already were mad over the trade wars. Trump has managed to get his most loyal supporters mad at him over taking away their export markets and trying to kill the biofuels industry. Trump also has assailed the wind industry, which has been a pretty good deal for agland owners and rural communities.

It is hard to imagine how Trump beats any of the leading Democratic presidential contenders in Iowa right now. You can’t rip the rug out from underneath the state’s basic industries — agriculture and manufacturing — without paying for it politically. Ted Cruz learned that about Iowa.

Ethanol is the third rail of Iowa politics. You do not touch it. Especially now, when it is perceived to be firming up the price of our basic commodity, corn. Trump was willing to touch it because the oil companies wanted him to.

The Democratic candidates, meanwhile, have been making the obligatory ethanol plant tours with Patty Judge and talking about renewable energy is the future. Even if corn ethanol is a transition to something else. If you can eliminate corn ethanol now, you can kill hope for any new biofuel in the future.

Trump can do awful things to women. He can make piggish remarks and make people laugh. He can stand at the brink of war and get people to shake their fists. But in Iowa, a key swing state, you cannot disrespect ethanol plus cut off soy trade to China and expect to carry the state in the next election. Trump handed Democrats a huge gift.

King fears Storm Lake

Rep. Steve King said he doesn’t come to Storm Lake much because he gets so much bad publicity. Gee, it is hard to understand why, when he talks the way he does. Whatever small role we helped to play in keeping the riffraff out of town we shall not take too much credit for. When he makes things up, or just plain lies, like he did at the middle school on Saturday, you realize that his public appearances are not that useful. He denied, for example, comments about rape and incest reported by The Des Moines Register taken directly from a video of his recent speech in Urbandale. He also denied quotations in The New York Times about white nationalism that echoed comments he has made routinely over the past two decades. He probably will make the same sort of idiotic remarks in the next week or two. It’s who Steve King is.

Just one person, a Democrat, showed up at his town hall meeting in Grundy County. Some gun rights advocates where there to cheer on King in Storm Lake last weekend, but most of the people upbraided him for not being a credit to the Fourth District. King defended the sanctity of the fetus in any circumstance, a position he always has held and which is the broad basis of his support in this religiously conservative district. It is his absolute position on this singular issue that wins him elections. He probably will win a contested primary election next June because of it. It also is probable that King’s basic supporters could care less what he said in Urbandale since they believe whatever he says is shooting straight.

Most people are fed up with his antics. They showed it in Storm Lake, where his Neanderthal ideas on immigration and race were ridiculed. He is a fool and a blowhard. Fortunately, JD Scholten, a Sioux City Democrat, can beat him. Scholten will not be afraid of Storm Lake or its people. He talks about bringing communities together and making them stronger, not ripping them apart.

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