Making a case to women: Trump female defenders go on offense
DES MOINES, Iowa — The Trump campaign has a message for its female supporters: It’s time to come out of hiding.
“There’s a lot of people that are fearful of expressing their support, and I want you ladies to know it’s OK to have felt that way, but we need to move past that or the Democrats win,” said Tana Goertz, a Trump campaign adviser, at an Iowa “Women for Trump” event on Thursday.
The Iowa event, held in the back room of a barbecue joint in a Des Moines suburb, was one of more than a dozen in battleground states nationwide as part of a push to make the president’s case on the economy and train volunteers.
The move is a recognition of the president’s persistent deficit with women — an issue that has the potential to sink his chances for reelection. Over the course of his presidency and across public opinion polls, women have been consistently less supportive of President Donald Trump than men have. Suburban women in particular rejected Republicans in the 2018 midterm by margins that set off alarms for the party and the president.
Trump himself called into a gathering of hundreds in Tampa, Florida, and insisted, to cheers: “We’re doing great with women, despite the fake news.”
But polling suggests his challenges persist. The most recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found just 30% of women approve of the way the president is doing his job, compared to 42% of men. Notably, there was no gap between Republican men and women — 80% of both groups said they approved of his job performance in the August poll.
At an event in Troy, Michigan, a Detroit suburb viewed as key contested territory, Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Cox acknowledged that Trump’s style is a turnoff for some female voters. But she told the audience of 100 women to focus instead on what Trump had accomplished during his first term.
“I get it. I say, ‘Listen, you never wonder what he thinks about people,'” she said. “Some people may not like what he says. But he delivers and has a very good track record of deliverables. And that’s what’s important. I try to get people focused on that, not the personality.”
In Iowa, Goertz listed a number of ways that she said women are benefiting from Trump’s presidency, including low unemployment, job creation and “safety” — and she said his immigration policy was a winner there.
“When I lay my head down at night, I want to know that my children are safe, that a terrorist is not going to come into our country,” she said.
Similar events were scheduled in 13 battleground states, including North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Ohio. The events, led by surrogates including White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, sought to train attendees to be volunteers and what the campaign describes as “ambassadors” for the reelection effort.
Among the women in attendance in Troy was Cara McAlister, a sales representative from the nearby suburb of Bloomfield Township. She said Trump’s 2016 candidacy inspired her to get more involved politically, and she became a GOP precinct delegate and canvassed door to door for him.
She has friends who were afraid to reveal their support for Trump because they fear backlash. So she invites them to meetings like Thursday’s gathering.
“They really enjoy being in an atmosphere where they feel free to express their support for the president,” said McAlister, who was wearing a white “Make America Great Again” cap and blue Trump-Pence shirt and who described herself as “middle age.” ”They tend to want to go to another event.”
In Iowa, Joyce Lawson, a 30-year-old barbershop owner from Norwalk, said she finds herself targeted by friends for her conservative views.
“I’m afraid of people saying off-key stuff, like you’re racist, you’re with the Klan, just random uneducated stuff, and name-calling. So I want to have facts to stand up for my views,” she said.
Trump has turned off higher-income, college educated and younger women “because of how he speaks, how he tweets,” said Republican pollster Frank Luntz, while retaining the support of older women and women with lower incomes and without college degrees.
That contrast is evident in Iowa, a state Trump won by more than 9 percentage points in 2016, but one that has historically been seen as a potential swing state.
Some Republican women here, like Des Moines resident Pat Inglis, have become more fervent Trump supporters over his first term.
“He’s helped this country more than anybody else in the last 20 years,” the 70-year-old retiree said. She added that Democratic attacks against the president, and the leftward tilt of the Democratic Party, have made her all the more enthusiastic toward Trump.
Others like Mary Miner, a lifelong Republican and small-business owner from rural Iowa, were driven away from the GOP by Trump.
“I’m astonished anyone could support him,” the 61-year-old Miner said. “If my party is going to support that, I’m done with ’em. I’m a Democrat and that’s it.”
Recent focus groups show that women have dug in on their views, suggesting there are fewer women open to being persuaded, Luntz said.
“It’s become more pronounced where those who don’t like him are overtly hostile and those who do like him will stand up for him aggressively,” Luntz said. “They are even more outspoken than men. They are even more dismissive. It’s spoken with attitude and with venom. And I think it’s because they take it personally.”
As a result, he said, the election is likely to come down to a very narrow demographic — married professional mothers with teenagers, he says — who credit Trump for a booming economy but are turned off by his style.
“They like what he’s done, but they don’t like how he’s done it,” he said. “Do you want to focus on the ingredients, or do you want to focus on the casserole?”
Colvin reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Hannah Fingerhut and Josh Boak in Washington and David Eggert in Troy, Mich., contributed to this report.
NORPAC farmers’ co-op to be purchased
SALEM, Ore. — Agribusiness entrepreneur Frank Tiegs will expand his Northwest food processing empire with the planned purchase of most of the assets of the NORPAC farmers’ cooperative for about $149.5 million.
The transaction is expected to close in October as part of NORPAC’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, which will allow the company to remain operational while restructuring debt, the Capital Press reported .
Tiegs, whose Oregon Potato Co. is acquiring NORPAC, said he was drawn to buy the processor because of the “premium” green beans grown in the Willamette Valley, as well as the broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, squash and other crops.
“We’ll probably add back some of the crops they discontinued and maybe some additional,” Tiegs said. “We will try to buy as much as we can and process as much as we can and be a grower-friendly company.”
The Willamette Valley Fruit Co. in Salem is already one of the 15 processing companies owned by Tiegs and he expects to use NORPAC’s facilities to process blackberries, Marionberries, blueberries and strawberries grown in the valley.
The purchase will include NORPAC’s Oregon facilities in Brooks and Salem as well as its plant in Quincy. Tiegs said he’d like to buy the Stayton facility as well but is still conducting financial and environmental evaluations of the operation.
As a farmer with more than 100,000 acres under cultivation, Tiegs said he’s looking forward to working with the cooperative’s members to turn the business around.
“I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think it would work fine,” he said.
Over 140 farmer members own the NORPAC cooperative, which was founded in 1924 and is the biggest frozen fruit and vegetable manufacturer in the Northwest with about $310 million in annual sales.
The company contracts with 220 growers across more than 40,000 acres in the region and has about 1,125 full-time employees and 1,100 seasonal employees during peak harvest season.
Shawn Campbell, NORPAC CEO, said the co-op was pleased to find a partner who “shares our vision and will ensure the best possible future for our growers, employees, customers and partners.”
“Our business operations will continue as normal through the bankruptcy process,” Campbell said in a written statement. “Our 2,700 employees will continue to receive their wages and benefits.”
As global economic picture dims, solutions seem out of reach
WASHINGTON — As global leaders gather on two continents to take account of a darkening economic outlook, this is the picture they face:
Factories are slumping, many businesses are paralyzed, global growth is sputtering and the world’s two mightiest economies are in the grip of a dangerous trade war.
Barely a year after most of the world’s major countries were enjoying an unusual moment of shared prosperity, the global economy may be at risk of returning to the rut it tumbled into after the financial crisis of 2007-2009.
Worse, solutions seem far from obvious. Central banks can’t just slash interest rates. Rates are already ultra-low. And even if they did, the central banks would risk robbing themselves of the ammunition they would need later to fight a recession. High government debts make it politically problematic to cut taxes or pour money into new bridges, roads and other public works projects.
“Our tools for fighting recession are no doubt more limited (than) in the past,” said Karen Dynan, an economist at Harvard University’s Kennedy School.
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have downgraded the outlook for world growth. On Thursday, Moody’s Investors Service said it expects the global economy to expand 2.7% this year and next — down from 3.2% the previous two years. And it issued a dark warning: Get used to it.
“The new normal will likely continue for the next three to four years,” the credit rating agency said.
Concerns are rising just as central bankers meet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and leaders of the Group of Seven advanced economies gather this weekend in the resort town of Biarritz in southwestern France. A spotlight will shine, in particular, on whatever message Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell sends in a speech Friday in Jackson Hole.
The dour global outlook partly reflects U.S. President Donald Trump’s combative trade conflicts with China and other countries. A realization has taken hold that Trump will likely keep deploying tariffs — and in some cases escalating them — to try to beat concessions out of trading partners.
“The trade uncertainty is here to stay,” said Madhavi Bokil, senior credit officer at Moody’s.
Squeezed by protectionism, global trade is likely to grow just 2.5% this year, its slowest pace in three years, the IMF says. Manufacturers, whose fortunes are closely tied to trade, are struggling. J.P. Morgan’s global manufacturing index dropped in July for a third straight month, hitting the lowest level since 2012.
The global funk also reflects the pull of gravity: The economies of Europe and Japan, fueled by central banks’ easy-money policies, overexerted themselves a couple of years ago and are now returning to their more typical state: Sluggishness.
The IMF expects China’s economy, the world’s second-biggest, to grow 6.2% this year — the weakest since 1990 — and just 6% next year. Trump’s trade war is certainly a factor. The president has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports and is set to tax nearly $300 billion more before year’s end. China’s slowdown is also being orchestrated in part by the officials in Beijing, who are trying to contain lending to control the country’s runaway debts.
And an economic chill in China sends shivers into the many countries — from copper-producing Chile to iron ore-making Australia — that feed Chinese factories with raw materials.
Then there’s Europe. In the 19 countries that use the euro currency, growth slowed in the second quarter to an anemic annual rate of 1.1%, or 0.2% from the quarter before. The eurozone, which maintains close trade ties with the U.S. and China, has been sideswiped by the collision between Trump and President Xi Jinping. And Trump has threatened to impose significant tariffs on European auto imports.
Even more than the tariffs, uncertainty over trade disputes is chilling investment and purchasing. Despite cheap borrowing costs from central bank stimulus, investment in new plants is lagging, an ominous sign that bosses don’t foresee a pickup.
In Europe’s economic powerhouse, Germany, the economy shrank 0.1% in the second quarter from the quarter before. If output should fall for a second straight quarter, Germany would find itself in a recession.
Some of Germany’s troubles originate closer to home. Major automakers have had to sink billions into technology to meet stricter emissions tests. BMW lost money on its car business for the first time in a decade in the first quarter. Daimler posted its first net loss since 2009 in the second quarter.
Brexit is another risk for Europe. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the U.K. will leave the 28-country European Union and its free-trade zone on Oct. 31, with or without a divorce deal. Not knowing what will happen is a nagging source of uncertainty.
Facing such risks, the European Central Bank has signaled it could launch new monetary stimulus as early as next month. As recently as December, the ECB had been confident enough in the economy to halt a nearly four-year, $2.6 trillion-euro ($2.9 trillion) bond purchase program. That optimism has vanished.
The U.S. economy, now enjoying a record-breaking 10-year expansion, still shows resilience. American consumers, whose spending accounts for 70% of U.S. economic activity, have driven the growth.
Retail sales have risen sharply this year, with people shopping online and spending more at restaurants. Their savings rates are also the highest since 2012, which suggests consumers aren’t necessarily stretching themselves thin.
But Trump’s tariffs loom over the U.S. economy. The import taxes he plans to impose on China on Sept. 1 and again on Dec. 15 are likely to hit Americans more than the earlier rounds of tariffs.
Already, companies are delaying investments because they don’t know where to put new factories, seek suppliers or find customers until they have a better idea where the trade disputes are going. “Uncertainty is high,” said Eric Lascelles, chief economist at RBC Global Asset Management. “Businesses everywhere are sitting on their hands.”
For all the gloom, Lascelles said policymakers aren’t without options. Even with short-term interest rates near zero, central banks can aggressively buy bonds to pump money into the financial system –it’s what the Fed, ECB and Bank of Japan did to revive growth during and after the financial crisis.
And even with the heavy debt burdens, governments could capitalize on low rates to borrow cheaply if they decided to stimulate their economies with tax cuts or new spending.
McHugh reported from Frankfurt, Germany.
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