Tom Steyer has a message for Iowa farmers: Donald Trump screwed you.
That’s how his new TV ad in the lead-off caucus state opens, with a clip from Sen. Chuck Grassley on Iowa Press saying, “They screwed us.”
The quip from Iowa’s senior senator in August was in reference to the Trump Administration’s granting of 31 waivers to oil refineries to circumvent the blending of ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply. Those waivers drastically cut down on the amount of ethanol getting sold, shuttering several ethanol production plants in Iowa in recent weeks.
Those actions have infuriated Iowa corn farmers and ethanol producers, putting Trump’s reelection hopes in jeopardy among his core rural base in this Midwestern swing state.
“Iowa deserves economic leadership, not lies,” Steyer, the former California businessman, says in the ad. “Together, we can beat Trump and make government work for Iowans.”
The ad also cites Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s joke that farmers were a bunch of “whiners,” something that obviously only aggravated farmers more.
There may be a deal announced in the coming days on some sort of White House deal to reinsert billions of gallons of ethanol into the next RFS, but even that may be too little, too late for many Iowa farmers. Trump has reportedly indicated that he’s “tired” of dealing with the issue central to many Iowans’ livelihoods.
"The president is tired of dealing with this. He's more or less said so, many times,” Iowa’s Chuck Grassley this a.m.
He says corn-state senators reached tentative deal with Trump at Sept. 11 mtg.
“When we left the White House, there was a feeling there was that agreement.”
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) September 17, 2019
The new Steyer TV ad will be running during this busy Iowa Caucus weekend, which features one of the largest Iowa gatherings yet of the cycle, with 18 presidential candidates gathering in Des Moines for the Polk County Democrats Steak Fry. The field fans out to many forums and events in the days before and after.
Steyer has kept a heavy rotation of TV ads up on the Iowa airwaves since his campaign launch in July, helping him get on the board in some recent polls, even if he’s still outside the mid-tier of candidates in this crowded field. He also recently qualified for the October debate stage.
Something else that should be noted: in Starting Line’s conversations with Iowa farmers, some have suggested they haven’t heard much from Democrats on the ethanol issue (even though they’ve been active on it). Regardless of Steyer’s presidential hopes, this will be a statewide TV message reminding rural Iowans that Trump hasn’t actually been helpful at all to their way of life since entering the White House.
by Pat Rynard