President Donald Trump’s inability to get a trade deal done with China, which has resulted in tariffs that have crippled American farmers and manufacturers, has set off alarm bells within the GOP with the 2020 election just around the corner.
According to a report in the Washington Examiner, Republicans attending a convention in Georgia openly expressed dismay that the president is making their election prospects more difficult with voters they desperately need.
“When trade slows down, we definitely feel it in Savannah harbor, and so it’s not just the ag,” explained GOP activist Joseph Brannan while describing the major shipping port of Savannah. “At some point, it could become politically unpalatable.”
While many expressed a belief that Trump might still pull out a deal, they worry he may have already done damage to the party that may linger due to the devastating loss of income from the still-ongoing trade war.
“Trump is a dealmaker,” Ginger Howard a Republican national committeewoman said. “He’s going to realize later on, that if [his policy] is not in the best interest of … the business community, there will be a change.”
John Watson, who served as chairman of the Georgia GOP during midterm elections, agreed, adding, “Whenever you’re dealing with people’s pocketbooks, it’s an unknown as to how long the pain threshold can be withstood.”
Georgia, which just saw a Republican hold onto the governor’s seat in the highly contentious and controversial 2018 election, is a major player in China trade, with the Examiner noting, “China is one of Georgia’s top trading partners in an export industry that, overall, is worth more than $40 billion annually. The Port of Savannah generates more than $20 billion.”
The report adds, “Trump is favored to retain Georgia’s 16 votes in the Electoral College, but the state is an emerging battleground that won’t be defended without an aggressive grassroots push, and many Republicans are wary of messing with this humming economy.”
You can read more here.