By Vakkas Dogantekin
ANKARA (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump's trade war against China might cost him his reelection in 2020 because the soybean-producing states that voted Republican in 2016 might rethink their decision after suffering the dire consequences of the tariffs, said a senior GOP politician on Wednesday.
The "2020 Republican electoral map looks a lot like a map of the nation’s soybean production. Donald Trump now has a net negative rating in Iowa and Ohio, two of the top ten soybean-producing states that he won in 2016," said Dave Dodson, a former Senate candidate of the state of Wyoming, in an opinion piece for Cleveland.com
Dodson added that Trump's net approval ratings in North Dakota and Nebraska, two other Western states that he won, have dropped 17%- 22% since his election in November 2016.
Emphasizing that American farmers will feel the "long-term legacy of the trade war" for generations, Dodson, now a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, said: "If America’s farmers vote their pocketbook, Donald Trump may have a hard time reaching 270 electoral votes in 2020."
Dodson criticized Trump for miscalculating China's response to the trade and tariff war, saying that the giant soybean consumer lost no time in turning to other markets such as Russia, Brazil, and Kazakhstan to meet its needs.
He said those countries are now taking advantage of Trump's prolonged trade feud with China by using their geographical proximity to the Asian giant and by the sheer size of their soybean industries.
Brazil is the largest exporter of soybeans to China.
Dodson said by miscalculating "that he could tweet out a 280-character tariff threat and bring China quickly to its knees," Trump has caused global competitors to expand their soybean production capacity, which “will permanently change global production and prices" at the expense of American farmers.
- Trade in the balance
U.S. and Chinese trade delegations met in Shanghai for trade and tariff negotiations on Tuesday and Wednesday, the first face-to-face meeting between the delegations since May.
Both countries have slapped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of each other's goods, and Trump threatened to impose duties on $300 billion worth of additional of Chinese imports in May after trade negotiations faltered that month without a long-sought deal.
Last month, some 600 American retailers, farmers, and manufacturers, including Walmart and Levi Strauss, signed a letter urging Trump to forego tariffs on Beijing amid the ongoing trade war between the two countries.
Trump has derided and withdrawn from trade deals negotiated by his predecessors.
Critics, however, fault his continued threat of tariffs and lack of clarity over trade goals with hurting U.S. manufacturers and farmers, as well as the international trade system.