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LETTER: Considering SD voters and trade concerns

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To the Editor:

The looming trade war with China raises some disturbing questions about South Dakota's congressional delegation in Washington, and perhaps even South Dakota voters.

Candidate Trump's campaign message consistently, vociferously included promises of trade tariffs on Chinese imports. It doesn't take a geopolitical genius to figure out that China would retaliate with their own tariffs on American goods, and that such retaliation would be designed to cause intense pain. For South Dakotans, that means agriculture.

As concerning as a potential trade war is, the more troubling aspect of all this is why did South Dakota's political leaders fail to sound the alarm about how candidate Trump's oft repeated promise of Chinese tariffs could harm South Dakota's farm families? Tariffs were a significant contributor to the Great Depression (See Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930). Indeed, trade

tariffs historically backfire because of the escalating retaliations that often accompany them. Representative Noem, and Senators Thune and Rounds surely knew this history (or should have), and what such a backfire would look like. In spite of this, they sold us on the idea Trump would be good for South Dakota agriculture.


Did our political leaders willingly imperil South Dakota farmers? Or did they simply lack the political acumen to anticipate the historically proven consequences trade tariffs can have on American agriculture? Either way, it brings into question either the competency or loyalties of South Dakota's congressional delegation.

But perhaps it's also a failure of South Dakota voters to have the courage to honestly examine what candidates truly represent. For example, how many South Dakotans voted for Donald Trump because they wanted him to build a wall on our southern border, without considering his promises about trade tariffs?

Some believe President Trump is playing a brilliant game of multi-dimensional political chess, but the overwhelming evidence suggests he's actually playing a very scatterbrained and dangerous game of Russian roulette. The gun he's holding, however, is pointed squarely at South Dakota agriculture.

Kevin Doby