Dear President Donald J. Trump,
I received the letter and “Urgent: Confidential 2020 Critical Issues Survey” you sent to my home address. The mailing obviously was intended for someone else.
Inside the envelope were notes written by you and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel that identify me as a top supporter. I’ve never donated to or volunteered to work for any political campaign, including yours.
I’m an independent. I vote for candidates based on their individual characteristics and their stands on issues affecting my country, state, community and life now and in the future.
I live in a majority Republican state, so I usually register as a Republican for primary elections to have a voice in partisan races. Then, I change my registration back to independent.
Your note’s first sentence is another obvious sign that I shouldn’t be on your mailing list. It says the RNC is working hard to get “our America First message past the Fake News Media.”
You seem to see all media — large, small, independent or with obvious political leanings — as the same and all reporting as fake if it has information counter to your opinion or corrections to things you have said or tweeted.
So I’m sure you didn’t intend to correspond with a journalist at a small daily Nebraska newspaper whose media career started in 1978.
Among the things I learned from my upbringing on a family farm, in a tiny country church and at a K-12 public school in a small Nebraska town that have served me well as a journalist are: tell the truth, work hard and own up to mistakes. I also know that people who disagree with me aren’t necessarily bad or stupid.
When I recite the National Federation of Press Women code of ethics, I pledge to never consciously mislead a reader and to “uphold the right of communicators to express unpopular opinions as well as to agree with the majority.”
I don’t answer political surveys, but I will respond to the issue of free markets you mention. I’m concerned about farmers and ranchers who are struggling economically because of floods and/or low commodity prices that are the result of your tariff-for-tariff trade war with China.
If trade issues making U.S. ag products much less competitive in the vital China market aren’t quickly resolved and other free trade agreements, particularly one with Mexico and Canada, aren’t finalized soon, some of these small family businesses won’t survive.
Ag producers don’t want special USDA programs to cover trade-related losses. They want and need free (or at least freer) trade agreements so they can sell more corn, soybeans, beef, pork and other products as exports.
Their hardships will be greater soon when new tariffs take effect and drive up the costs all U.S. consumers will pay for more things made in China.
You also give mixed messages on renewable fuels.
You announced year-round E15 use and touted your support of ethanol in June. Two months later, Renewable Fuel Standard waivers were approved for 31 refineries, which adversely affects demand and prices for ethanol and corn.
Nebraska Corn Board Chairman David Bruntz of Friend called the waivers “truly a slap in the face” and said, “Farmers are hurting and it just keeps getting worse.”
That’s not a survey question answer, but it describes in a nutshell the huge concern for Nebraska ag producers and the rest of us who depend on the economic strength of our state’s No. 1 industry.
Lori Potter is a Hub staff writer.