Trade is the president’s toughest test in ND, other key states

After almost a decade when “Red” states or “flyover country” were all but overlooked, minimized, or outright derided, it has been a relief to see the important North Dakota and other agricultural states on the front burner again in the Trump administration.

That’s not random of course, nor does it have to do with a president who openly represents the best nature of rural America. Instead, it is a result of a coalition of the disaffected, the ignored and the insulted supporting a president who re-set the national view on agriculture, energy and traditional rural sensibilities.

That’s why Trump’s gambit with trade and tariffs might be his riskiest move to date – and that’s saying something. If Trump fails on this front, ag states are likely to soon turn their backs on the president, costing him support he cannot afford to lose headed into the midterms and then his re-election campaign in 2020.

This week, the GOP members of the state’s delegation expressed patience for the president’s policies, a willingness to give him time to bring back better trade deals than the U.S. enjoys, even with allies. At the same time, these same politicos expressed the common mantra that farmers want to work, not collect aid. It is clear that somewhere clocks are ticking and eventually, agriculture producers will run out of patience and abandon the president.

Barring success on trade, the president risks becoming a footnote in history – a colorful one for sure – but still a footnote.

Recent news tends to lead one to believe that there is hope of movement on ag-related tariffs. For the president’s sake – and that of North Dakota – let’s hope this is a successful maneuver.

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