A mystery is stalking newsrooms across America.
Journalists are at a loss to explain why farmers, hurt by illegal, punitive tariffs from China, continue to support President Trump.
Like the astronomers who couldn’t explain deviations in Uranus’ orbit, pundits don’t know why farmers are behaving the way they do.
We don’t need a hypothetical Planet X to solve this mystery. A basic understanding of agrarian reality and the administration’s record explains the gravitational pull of Planet Trump.
As one of his first acts in office, President Trump canceled the EPA’s Waters of the USA rule. President Obama tried to extend the Environmental Protection Agency’s jurisdiction far beyond “navigable waterways,” as it has been since the 1970s, to farm ponds and even ditches or potholes with water in them.
Needless to say, farmers hated the Waters of the USA rule, and they won’t forget President Trump terminated it – just as he promised.
Agriculture is one of the most regulated businesses in America, and President Trump’s regulatory reforms and staunch support for property rights have a lot of fans down on the farm.
The so-called Green New Deal presents the clearest contrast between the president and his radical Democratic opponents – and explains why rural America is sticking with Trump.
In a classic case of overreach, the federal government’s never-ending quest for more power had it reaching for the rear end of cattle. President Trump tells them: Don’t go there.
A U.S. appeals court ruling would have forced tens of thousands of livestock farmers to report “greenhouse gas” emissions from manure on their farms and subjected them to citizen activists’ lawsuits.
It would have – until Trump’s EPA exempted farms from the reporting requirement. Any farmer with one head of livestock is grateful.
Meanwhile, the Green New Deal Democrats have all but promised to regulate “farting cows” out of existence, with the federal zealots looking to ban greenhouse gases and meat eating in their bid to keep the climate from changing.
Of course, eliminating cattle means eliminating feedlots, one of the primary users of corn.
The bad news for corn farmers doesn’t end there. As Democrats march further and further to the left in their climate change jihad, they are attacking ethanol, a biofuel made from corn, once championed as “renewable, clean energy.”
Environmental activists now claim ethanol actually increases CO2 emissions rather than reducing them.
In contrast, President Trump has approved year-round access to gasoline with higher blends of ethanol, boosting demand for corn and, therefore, prices for corn farmers.
Farm groups have long pushed for expanded use of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol, called E15, and President Trump delivered.
He did it while preserving industrial jobs in the Northeast by streamlining the EPA’s cap-and-trade-like system for monitoring biofuel production. Ethanol use has remained steady while the administration wisely continues to exempt independent refineries from onerous regulations.
Farmers understand President Trump’s trade policy is in their interest, too.
He renegotiated the South Korea trade agreement and NAFTA, securing better terms that will boost ag exports, and he is providing trade assistance to farmers targeted by China’s illegal trade retaliation.
As Victor Davis Hanson has written, agrarians – farmers – provided the foundation of our Western civilization, with its values of private ownership, constitutional government and egalitarianism.
The farmers’ knowledge is gained from experience as well as tradition and books; their livelihood depends on hard work and long-term thinking. They work for the future not just the present. While academics enjoy life-long tenure and the captains of industry, we are told endlessly, clamor for “certainty,” farmers gamble and battle every day against the uncertainties of nature and the elements. When they take out a loan to plant a crop, they have no “certainty” the rains will come.
Farmers embrace uncertainty and know there is no guarantee against hardship, but hardship is worth enduring for something greater – independence.
They feel President Trump’s approach to China is long overdue. And they know it is necessary if they – and we as a country – are to have a future.
The farmers’ allegiance to President Trump is explained not just by aversion to his opponents.
It’s also one of affinity and attraction to his ideals.
This ideal, this powerful force, widely disparaged by the self-styled sophisticates in the elite media, is called patriotism.