The 8th Congressional District of Minnesota, which borders the Canada-US border, has one of the highest concentrations of iron miners in the country. Republicans took it from the Democrats in Tuesday's mid-term elections amid a skyrocketing industry, partly propelled by President Trump's China tariffs.
The 2nd Congressional District of Minnesota, which extends south from the twin cities, includes a large concentration of soybean producers. The Republicans lost this district on Tuesday after the Democratic candidate campaigned on the idea that the president's trade policy was devastating its farmers.
"Family farmers in our district have seen reliable markets disrupted by impulsive and unpredictable business decisions," said Democrat Angie Craig, who toppled representative Jason Lewis (right). "I have heard many similar things: they want a representative who listens to their concerns about the instability arising from the trade war."
Democratic candidates across the country have tried to raise concerns about Trump's trade policies in their election speeches. In the Senate races, most Democrats who tried to run on these feelings lost. But in the elections to the House, these candidates did much better and perhaps even helped to get control of the House to Democrats, highlighting the heterogeneous political ramifications of one of the main economic policies of the House. administration.
"It is very clear, given the loss of seats in the Upper Midwest, that the decline in agricultural markets has likely resulted in the overthrow of the majority of the GOP in the House," said Cabinet Economist Joe Brusuelas. RSM international accountant. "It's hard to imagine that these seats would have returned anyway."
In March, Trump applied 25% tariffs on steel and aluminum imports into the United States, followed by two separate sets of duties – one on $ 50 billion worth of products and the other on 200 billion products – about China.
China, Mexico and other foreign governments have retaliated by imposing their own tariffs on US exports, often in areas where they could harm the president's political fortune.
They targeted Midwest farms that export to Chinese markets, Harley-Davidson motorcycles made in the Rust Belt and even bourbon produced in the state of Kentucky, the majority of the Senate, in the majority of senators, among the companies of States under Republican control.
In several major races, including at the state level, these efforts have not caused serious prejudice to the president or his party. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Who tried to align with Trump on immigration and other issues, said the administration's trade policy had "gone too far" and was hurting Indiana companies. He lost by 8 points.
Other Democrat senators have experienced the same fate. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who has repeatedly decried the impact of the trade war on the many soybean producers in her state, has lost double-digit numbers. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) Expressed her concern that White House tariffs were about to put a nail manufacturer out of business but were easily defeated by the Attorney General of Canada. State, Josh Hawley (R). In addition, a New York Times analysis revealed that Republicans retained control of 17 of the 25 most agricultural-dependent districts.
"It was a very rational effort on the part of foreign governments to penalize areas of the country that had supported Trump, but that just did not work," said Jock O'Connell, an economist at Beacon Economics. "These areas, in general, have stuck with the president and their Republican members of Congress."
But in other races, several analysts, candidates and campaigners have said that frustrations over the trade war may have helped push Democratic candidates to the top. They notably highlighted the breeds along the Upper Mississippi Valley, which encompasses northwestern Illinois, northeastern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota and southwestern of Wisconsin.
Two of Democrat House's pickup trucks arrived in Iowa, where Abby Finkenauer defeated incumbent Rod Blum (right) and Cindy Axne defeated incumbent David Young (right). J.D. Scholten, a Democrat running against Rep. Steve King (R), has lost but has come closer to the Democrats in recent rounds against King, a 15-year incumbent.
Farmers in Iowa districts who had previously voted for Republican and supported Trump were "discouraged and less motivated to vote" because of the tariffs, said Aaron H. Lehman, president of the Iowa Farmers Union.
"In Iowa, detractors of the administration's trade policy have done very well in this election," said Lehman. "Some Republicans were very critical of the president's position, but they had to be very sensitive in their criticisms – this was finally revealed on polling day."
In northern Illinois, 32-year-old Democrat Lauren Underwood criticized the impact of Trump's trade war on local soybean producers and caused a surprise surprise to a Republican in office. In Minnesota, Democrat Dean Phillips beat Erik Paulsen, outgoing GOP member, in the 3rd district, while Democrat Craig beat Lewis in the 2nd district after losing to him in 2016.
"I think this has helped her a lot in supporting agriculture," said Kevin Paap, president of the Minnesota Bureau of Agriculture Federation, about Craig's victory over Lewis. "I've heard members say," I like that she understands and supports the business. "
Soybeans are a major export to the United States, especially to China. The tariffs made Chinese demand "anemic", according to an analysis by the Ministry of Agriculture. US soybean exports to China increased from more than 2.5 million tonnes in September 2017 to 67,000 tonnes in September 2018, he said.
About 61 percent of voters said in a Gallup poll last week that US trade and tariff policies were "extremely / very important" for their vote, although this is well below health care, the polls show no signs of slowing down. economy, immigration, etc. Post-polling polls consistently revealed that health care, rather than trade, was the most important issue for voters.
Trump's rates may have helped, rather than hurt, party candidates from his party. The Minnesota Iron Range, in the north of the state, is in the midst of an "economic recovery," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported this summer, in part because Trump's tariffs have led to an increase in the cost of electricity. national steel and profits. The revival played an important role in helping Republican Pete Stauber win a seat the Democrats had occupied since 2011, according to Stauber staff.
"The president's agenda has found an echo in this mining district," said Caroline Tarwid, Stauber's press officer.
Anne Schwagerl, a 33-year-old soybean farmer in Minnesota, said farmers who are "hard-core" Trump supporters have been little used to voting for Democrats because of trade issues. In general, she said, Trump's voters were convinced by the president's speech that the trade war was a temporary measure needed to create better trade deals.
But this argument was less convincing for those who already had doubts about Trump.
"For some moderates who will soon have to repay their operating loan to the bankers, it may be difficult to see beyond the next six to eight months," Schwagerl said. "For those who are moderate, it was hard to buy the argument of" short-term pain for long-term gain. "