The New York Times published an interesting report over the weekend on the real-world effects of Donald Trump’s trade war, highlighting some of those who feeling the greatest pinch. Of particular interest, the article noted an electronics company in Michigan, which is “mulling the possibility of moving its production to Mexico to escape the tariffs that President Trump has put on imported components.”
The Times quoted the company’s chairman, Pat LeBlanc, a Trump voter who now believes the president’s policy will slice his profits in half. “I just feel so betrayed,” he said. “If we fail because the company is being harmed by the government, that just makes me sick.”
The quote came to mind this morning, reading a new article from the New York Times today on Jackson County, Fla., in the state’s panhandle, which was already struggling in the wake of Hurricane Michael, but which is now also feeling the adverse effects of Trump’s government shutdown. The piece included this anecdote:
A few miles away, another prison employee, Crystal Minton, accompanied her fiancé to a friend’s house to help clear the remnants of a metal roof mangled by the hurricane. Ms. Minton, a 38-year-old secretary, said she had obtained permission from the warden to put off her Mississippi duty until early February because she is a single mother caring for disabled parents. Her fiancé plans to take vacation days to look after Ms. Minton’s 7-year-old twins once she has to go to work.
The shutdown on top of the hurricane has caused Ms. Minton to rethink a lot of things.
“I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” she said of Mr. Trump. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”
I’ve seen plenty of memorable quotes from Trump voters over the last couple of years, but “he’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting” is among the most striking.
It captures an amazing perspective: some Trump voters expected the Republican to punish some people if elected, but they assumed they’d be spared. Trump would hurt those people, the sentiment went, but not us.
But those assumptions were mistaken. Trump’s health care agenda set out to hurt many of his own supporters; Trump’s tax gambit ignored many of his own supporters; Trump’s tariffs are undermining the interests of his own supporters; and now Trump’s shutdown is making life harder on some of his own supporters.
Polling suggests many of these voters are standing by their president anyway, but it’s hard not to wonder how many will end up feeling like Pat LeBlanc and Crystal Minton by the time Election Day 2020 rolls around.