By Vito J. Racanelli, August 29, 2019

There’s a narrative in markets—fueled by headlines—that soybean farmers could cost President Donald Trump the 2020 election. I beg to differ. He might indeed lose the election, but it won’t be the beans.

In trade wars and headlines, facts sometimes get in the way of the story. A reasonable review of the agricultural and electoral data, as we’ll see below, suggests the likelihood of Trump losing a meaningful portion of the farm state vote that he won in 2016 is a low percentage bet. Simply stated, in the most important soybean states that went for Trump in 2016, they did so in such a big way that it would have to get very bad to cause a switch of allegiances. 

In 2020, the reversal necessary to cost him electoral votes—remember that’s what elects presidents—is going to be a tall order for the Democratic candidate, whoever he or she is. Trump’s average margin of victory in the soybean states he won was over 20%.  

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It’s true that some farmers are hurting, hit by a double whammy of reduced soybean sales to China and lower commodity prices. According to the USDA, U.S. total soybean exports this year at August 1, 2019, were 42.0 million tons, down 11.3 million from the year ago period. Much of t...

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