The lessor of two evils
We get an up close and personal view of the Democratic presidential candidates because of our Iowa caucuses. There are frankly not a lot of rural Democrats where I live in the state and unless something dramatic happens Iowa will not be in play for the general election. Iowa gets dismissed as an un-diverse state but that didn’t stop Iowa from choosing Obama first. While Iowa Democrats were interested in what the candidates had to say, the decision process of who they choose for the Democratic nomination will primarily come down to who they think can beat Trump. Democrats test out candidates and flirt with those that they like what they hear or how they say it but the final choice will be based on who they think can take Trump down.
I am not surprised that Bernie Sanders has climbed to the top of the polls with good timing ahead of the caucuses. I was asked which candidates that I would favor and I would say from an ag perspective, Buttigieg or Klobachar because they have more in touch with the Heartland, but none are fabulous ag candidates. Buttigieg is the smartest running but being gay kills his electability. I am not aware of any mainstream church that embraces racism. Obama got a fair shot at the presidency. Our Lutheran synod and now the Methodists are splitting over the gay issue so church theology is not settled over gay acceptance and it is a big step for some to accept a gay president. I do not share such a mindset but it is out there and I do not think that the country is ready to move past it.
That is despite the fact that the current president worships only himself. Elizabeth Warren looks like Hillary-lite to me. That is not the same as Coors-lite which is better. Her candidacy went up the flag pole and then back down very quickly. Trump would crush her. Then there is Joe Biden who says he would take Trump out behind the house and beat the crap out of him…or was it like a drum? My perception is that Trump achieved what he had intended in Ukraine, casting aspersions that will stick to Biden with people who know no better. I talk to smart people who have their facts mixed up on Biden so Trump won. How about fear over Trump blowing up the mid-east? So far, Trump won those optics too. He killed a very bad guy and then Iran backed down.
Who can beat Trump? It is hard to gain confidence that anyone can but my bet would be the Dem with the best shot is Bernie. Bernie is old but so is Trump. Trump is tough but so is Bernie. I see him as the toughest Dem. Most doubt that there will be a face to face debate but Bernie can debate Trump on his own. They both have old baggage. Bernie is a socialist and Trump is an un-convicted criminal. That sort of equals out in the political world. Trump will rail about Bernie being a socialist and Bernie will rail about Trump being crazy and I doubt either attack will change any votes. For some reason DJT has spoken to rank and file low-middle class Americans having a tone they found appealing. The fact that his policies did nothing for them has not changed that. Bernie is the only Dem that appears to be able to seriously connect with the Trump base. The end game for both Trump and Bernie on foreign policy is not far different…get home and stay there. How they would do that would differ. Bernie is pushing domestic policies that would actually benefit the Trump base that Trump just gives lip-service to. The Iowa caucuses should sort out as to who they think can beat Trump, or not if there is no clear winner.
To me, the 2020 election is shaping up as a re-play for the choice between the lessor of two evils like the last election. The difference is that Trump has defined himself since 2016. Last election Trump guarded an ambiguity as people hoped he was the lessor evil and he has since clarified what that means so folks cannot hide behind illusions. I am not a Democrat and have never been to a Democratic caucus before but was pondering whether to attend this time.
From my ag perspective I think that Trump’s trade, ethanol and immigration policies are bad for the sector. Yet Bernie is a bigger protectionist than is Trump, not expected to vote to confirm the USMCA. Trade is important to the ag sector and Bernie has never seen a trade deal he liked. I see Dems as a threat to livestock industries so, do I go to vote against Bernie and who would I vote for? The idea of having Ben of Ben and Jerry’s as Bernie’s Secretary of Agriculture could be even worse than what we have now. They embrace climate science but reject GMO science. As I said, given their support for gun bans and hate for CAFOs, I do not see Iowa in play for the Dems in the fall. In fact, I think that the Democratic presidential campaign in Iowa has hurt the overall political prospects of other Democrats in the state.
If J.D. Scholten loses, this will be why. Anti-meat candidates, like Cory Booker, who had no chance of catching on here in Iowa and hence dropped out, may have poisoned this election for the Dems in general. They would have been better off if he had never shown up here. I find their opposition to and degradation of commercial livestock production as inconsistent with known reality. I believe that none of the candidates have ever set foot on a CAFO to have any sound ideas what they are talking about. Their advisors are the fringe idiots. I have tried to explain things to them but the Dems are not good listeners. They think that they know Ag without ever having set foot on our place. I am already hating this election. No one running really represents me.
David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.
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