President *gag* Trump *gag* is *gag* mostly *gag* right *gag*.
Soybeans are at the heart of this dispute with China, and while they may seem like a niche issue, they're actually a major part of the American economy—especially in areas that voted for Trump. Don't believe me? Take a look.
According to a Brookings analysis, the share of jobs affected by soybean tariffs in at least seven states that voted for Trump is pretty dramatic (the larger the circle, the higher percentage of jobs affected by tariffs).
Trump is hyperbolic and dramatic here, but he’s not crazy to be paranoid about this. As I wrote back in June when it became clear that we were entering a trade war with China, the EU, Mexico and Canada, they are all targeting GOP constituencies with their retaliatory tariffs. This isn’t a secret. Per Bloomberg:
Harley-Davidson Inc. and bourbon are both on the [EU]’s list of goods that could be hit, pressuring Republican speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan, who hails from the Wisconsin home of the motorcycle maker, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, from Kentucky, where the whiskey is made.
This isn’t “meddling,” per se—it’s countries looking out for their best interests. China makes a lot of money off trading with us (and vice versa), and the Republican Party is threatening that gravy train, so they’re doing what they can to remove power from the party taking money out of their pocket. Sure, it’s “meddling” in an election, but only in the sense that China is making sure that the people who these tariffs are designed to hurt actually get hurt by them. New York doesn’t produce soybeans—Iowa, North Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma do. The more voters who are aware of the damaging impacts of GOP policies, the better it is for China (and America). If Trump wants them to stop “impacting and changing our election,” perhaps he should introduce a set of policies actually designed to help the populace, instead of a needless trade war that’s mostly about boosting his immensely fragile ego.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.