New administration promise pro-agriculture policies for U.S. governmentWritten by Emilee Gibb
Laramie – “As I look back at a Reagan quote, Reagan said, ‘As government expands, liberty contracts.’ I think what we’ve seen over the last eight years is the expansion of the federal government,” said American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Director of Congressional Relations Ryan Yates.
He continued, “When we’re looking at how can we interact with this next Congress and with this next administration, we’re going to be looking for ways to come up with smarter government, not bigger government.”
Yates presented an analysis of the presidential election and future implications for the agricultural industry during the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation’s 97th annual meeting on Nov. 10-12.
He noted that the AFBF is “hopeful that we will ensure agricultural and rural resource issues will be front and center within the first 100 days of the election cycle.”
Against the predictions of pollsters across the nation, Donald Trump won several swing states in the Electoral College.
“Looking at just a week before the election, we saw Hillary Clinton favored to win in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Florida. These were states that the pollsters got wrong,” commented Yates.
He noted that while the pollsters were incorrect prior to the election, the data collected about why voters made their voting decisions is useful for determining how the outcome occurred.
“We had a very deeply pessimistic electorate. While we had some very unpopular candidates, the majority of people believed that the country was going in the wrong direction, with only one of three voters thinking that this country was going in the right direction,” Yates continued.
In late October, there was an announcement for ObamaCare, or the Affordable Care Act, that the premiums for next year showed dramatic increases for families that would be enrolling in the exchanges.
“There were several states with over 100 percent increases in those premiums. There was a lot of concern moving into this election cycle concerning the campaign about the Affordable Care Act and the fact that the Act was ultimately not affordable,” said Yates.
He noted that many voters were searching for a change, with it being a top priority over terrorism and the economy.
“Going back to the belief now that the country is going in the wrong direction – people just wanted something different. Donald Trump proved to be that different type of a candidate,” explained Yates.
“Looking at who showed up to vote, ultimately this election cycle was about the base,” said Yates.
It was predicted that there would be an increase in certain demographics including women voters, new voters and Latino voters.
“Ultimately, there was an understanding or a thought that we would see big surges in certain demographics that just didn’t occur,” he explained.
Only 10 percent of voters were new voters this election cycle, with the majority of those voting for Hillary Clinton, and other demographics did not see any major changes.
“The female turnout in this election cycle went down from four years about by about one percent, and Latino turnout only managed to go up by one percent,” said Yates.
The silent voters who tipped the election in Trump’s favor were the rural voters.
“In rural and blue collar parts of the country, Donald Trump did very well. I think that was discounted in some of the early models that the polls looked at,” he continued.
When compared to campaigns in the past two cycles, Trump was more successful with minority groups.
“Trump did better with Hispanic voters than we saw in years past,” said Yates.
AFBF anticipates that President-elect Trump will be a conventional Republican in terms of tax policies.
“He’s come out very strongly in favor of rolling back regulatory pressures that we’ve seen in the last eight years under President Obama’s Administration,” said Yates.
Trade and opening new trade agreements is a critical element of the agricultural industry.
“In terms of Donald Trump’s position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the current TPP, for all intents and purposes, is dead to the extent that new negotiations will come forward,” explained Yates. “Likely, things will be slowed significantly on the trade front.”
The Trump Administration has indicated to AFBF that it is understanding of the challenges facing agriculture in terms of farm labor and immigration.
“We hope to work with the Trump Administration on comprehensive immigration reform,” said Yates.
Federal overreach through regulations such as the Clean Water Act and Waters of the U.S. that have caused significant harm to agriculture and natural resource development is a top concern for the western states including Wyoming.
“The Trump campaign has been very positive in terms of our requests for changes on the regulatory front, so we are excited about the opportunities that we’ll have there,” he explained. “He has been very clear that he will appoint pro-agriculture appointees to these key cabinet positions, and we’re going to hold him to it.”