Rural voters helped President Donald Trump win Iowa in 2016. And despite rising concerns about the economic impact of several rounds of tariffs, they’ve been willing to endure the ill effects of his trade policies, trusting he’ll ultimately deliver.
But the president’s sudden announcement this week that he’ll give $12 billion in subsidies to farmers is setting off a new wave of anxiety — a deep sense of apprehension over Trump’s unpredictability on trade and questions over whether the White House has any plan at all.
“I think the hope was that the tough talk, even with some of our allies, would translate into real results on trade,” Iowa Farmers Union President Aaron Heley Lehman said of Trump winning over rural voters in Iowa in 2016. “And instead, there really hasn’t been a plan. I don’t think that farmers feel like there’s a plan to get out from where they are now. I think that there’s a lot of people who feel like they’re floating out here at the whim of the tariffs and the trade talk, not knowing what direction we’re going to go.”
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