By Gary Joiner
The presidential election has a lot of us worried. We’ve never had two presumptive nominees for president with such high negative ratings among the public.
Can the country rally behind the November winner? It’s a good question. Some aren’t so sure of the answer.
What’s losing in all of the election hype? Free trade. And it’s losing big. That’s not good for Texas farmers and ranchers. Or our country.
National political commentator Charlie Cook recently explained the political reality of trade. He said there is a viewpoint right now in this country that the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was a mistake and a disaster. That perception has been allowed to build up. It’s resulted in a negative predisposition towards any trade deal with almost any country of consequence.
He said it’s pushed Hillary Clinton into a more anti-trade position. And Donald Trump, he added, is “completely off the reservation” on the issue.
That’s frustrating. But the candidates reflect what’s going on in the country.
Agriculture must step up and counterpunch. There is simply too much at stake to not answer the bell. Our farmers and ranchers need market expansion like never before.
It’s a global economy. Agriculture is a growth business. If farmers and ranchers want to grow their business opportunities in the future, they need good deals to remove trade barriers and open up new markets. Agriculture can work with whichever candidate becomes president, but blowing up trade would be a disaster for farm and ranch families.
Saying “no” to trade may be good presidential politics, but it’s absolutely the wrong position for Texas agriculture.