Farm Support for Trump is Highest Ever Ahead of Impeachment
On the same day that President Trump praised soon-to-be Republican Representative Jeff Van Drew, a straw poll of farmers gave Trump an approval rating of 82%, his highest tally yet. Polling began on the day the House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against Trump and ended on Monday.
“Of the 1,225 farmers and ranchers who responded, 82% either strongly approve or somewhat approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president. That is up from 78% in the previous month,” said Farm Journal in announcing the results on Tuesday. 17% of respondents disapproved of Trump’s job performance. Producers were contacted via text messaging. The House is expected to vote today on impeachment.
Van Drew, a first-term Democratic member of the House Agriculture Committee from New Jersey, has said he will vote against impeachment and will switch parties, to Republican, around the time of the vote. Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson told dairy farmers over the weekend that he would oppose impeachment, barring revelation of new and persuasive information. He told radio station KFGO that he recently received “overtures by the highest levels of the Republican Party” to change political affiliation. “I’m staying in the party, in spite of some of the stuff that’s going on that I don’t agree with. I am not going switch parties at this stage of my career,” said Peterson, who is serving his 15th term.
Trump continued a string of supportive messages for Van Drew on social media. “Congressman Jeff Van Drew is very popular in our great and very united Republican Party. It was a tribute to him that he was able to win his heavily Republican district as a Democrat. People like that are not easily replaceable!”
Van Drew’s name and photo have disappeared from a list of members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of fiscally conservative, centrist Democrats. The Hill newspaper quoted a coalition aide as saying members voted on Tuesday to oust Van Drew because he was leaving the Democratic Party.
Farmers voted in landslide numbers for Trump in 2016 and remain steadfast supporters despite the impact of the Sino-U.S. trade war on ag exports. Trump ran on a platform of tax cuts, regulatory relief, and support for corn ethanol. Farm Belt lawmakers have complained that the EPA is undercutting the Renewable Fuel Standard by issuing waivers to small refineries and have repeatedly asked Trump to intervene.