Political Theater

While many of us are tired of politics there’s no denying that we are living in historic political times.  Decisions that will be made this year will have long lasting impact on our country. The political theater we are watching now is both comedy and tragedy.  Some of the positions and rhetoric on both sides would be laughable if not so serious.  The deep divisions in our country are dangerous and seemingly growing.  In these days leading up to one of the most important elections many of us have seen in our lifetimes, agriculture finds itself right in the center of the political storm.  Funding for the Commodity Credit Corporation threatened to hold up a bill to keep our entire government open.  Criticism and scrutiny over USDA spending is not new but seems to be at a new level.  Recently USDA has almost become a more controversial agency than EPA!  These are indeed strange times.  EPA and agriculture usually have an adversarial relationship but recently we have seen EPA push through a new WOTUS rule, approve continued use of atrazine and deny gap year waivers for oil refineries, all to the delight of much of agriculture.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t still concerns and disagreements but it’s a big difference from years past.  Four years ago many farmers told me their two biggest issues that they considered when voting for President were the Waters of the US rule and selection of judges, especially Supreme Court justices.  Four years later we have a new WOTUS rule (although being challenged in court) and an opening on the Supreme Court that has made a hot election campaign even more combustible.  Add in COVID 19 and social unrest and you have an election like no other.  We’ll soon see which issues will have the most impact on the outcome of this election.  Has President Trump done enough to keep his base in rural America that supported him four years ago?  Will CFAP 1 and 2 plus MFP and strong sales to China keep his base intact or will Trump fatigue allow Biden to make enough of a dent in that base to win the election?  Those who ignored rural America’s impact on the election four years ago should know better this time around.  Ironically a lot of those people who overlooked rural America four years ago are now looking to move there.