You never get all you want from any politician or political party.
But a number of Idaho Republicans – especially farmers and ranchers – who voted for Pres. Donald Trump and still stand by him, are dealing with mixed emotions these days.
According to a USA Today study, Idaho has the 9th best economy among the states, and overall is a great place to live.
The employment rate in Idaho is below 3 percent.
The median family income is around $50,000 a year.
Inflation remains low.
Next year, two Idaho housing markets could lead the nation in growth – Idaho Falls and the Boise-Nampa area.
Yet at the same time, Idaho is one of the nation’s farming/ranching centers that has been knocked around by Trump’s tariff program, especially the China tariffs.
In fact, it’s been hit hard by the economic punishments.
In a poll for Idaho Politics Weekly six months ago, Dan Jones & Associates found 61 percent if Idahoans approved of the job Trump was doing with the economy, with 88 percent of the Republicans liking what he’s doing with the economy.
And 53 percent of all Idahoans approve of the job Trump is doing; 85 percent of Idaho Republicans approve of his job performance.
These numbers are way above how Americans as a whole see the president.
Almost assuredly, if Trump is the Republican nominee next year, he will carry Idaho in 2020 and win its four Electoral College votes.
Trump visits Idaho almost yearly – as he skips other Mountain West states like Utah and Nevada -- and is well received here.
But there must be a sense, growing as the tariffs impact Idaho farmers and manufacturers, that there’s some black clouds on the horizon.
Can this economy continue to grow?
Are some of our international markets turning against us?
It would be helpful, obviously, if the U.S., Canada, Mexico trade deal is approved by Congress. And if Trump can pull off a good trade agreement with China, that would be good for great for Idaho.
Idaho’s two U.S. senators – Mike Crapo and Jim Risch – are still in the majority in the Senate.
But GOP Reps. Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher are now in the minority in the U.S. House. And that is a bitter place to be.
Especially for Fulcher, who is a freshman. You can’t be any lower on the ladder rung than a freshman minority in the 435-member House.
And with some swing-state GOP senators having to defend their seats in 2020, there is a chance, especially if there is a blue wave across the country, of Idaho really being on the outs in Washington, D.C., come 2021.
And if tariffs cause Idaho to need some economic help, well, with all the delegation being Republican, and if there’s a Democrat in the White House, don’t look for a lot of friends there.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that Trump’s tariffs are costing Idaho’s economy $239 million.
Among the state’s top five exports are fertilizer and agricultural products, some of which normally go to China.
Right now, Idahoans, especially Republicans, are standing Trump. And he will certainly win the state again next year.
But it would be a good thing for the state’s economy if trade agreements are reached and the tariffs would go away.
And that could only drive the president’s popularity numbers even higher in Idaho next year.