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Hullabaloo


Monday, July 15, 2019

 
Take his racism seriously but not literally -- or should we take it literally but not seriously?

by digby



Roy Edroso unpacks Salena Zito's latest Trump voter whispering:

The latest This Is Good News for Trump story from White Working Class Whisperer Salena Zito is "Why America’s tariff-hit farmers still support Trump." The farmers she quotes are eloquent about how hard they work, but not so great at explaining why they love the President ("I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with a lot of the policies and a lot of the actions that he’s taken" is typical). And it's not even clear from Zito's stats that dairy farmers really are hanging in with MAGA:

In 2016, rural Americans, a category that includes all of America’s farmers and ranchers, overwhelmingly voted for Trump; he earned 62 percent of the vote compared to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 34 percent, according to Pew Research analysis...  
Yet, despite a flurry of national stories warning that farmers are moving away from Trump because of his trade policies, a recent Gallup survey showed that 53 percent of rural residents approve of the job the president is doing.


Not sure exactly how 62 percent of "farmers and ranchers" supporting Trump in 2016 correlates to 53 percent of "rural residents" supporting Trump in 2020, but it looks like a drop to me.

That's not even the weirdest part. Zito writes:
The 32-year-old [dairy farmer] also manages the crew of 40 to 50 employees who make sure those of us at home can pick up a bottle of fresh milk, aged cheese or tangy yogurt at our local grocery. 
That is, of course, unless you have bought into the latest dietary fad and don’t consume dairy — a shift that has hit farmers’ bottom line with as much force as weather patterns and President Trump’s trade war with China.

A fad -- like avocado toast! Maybe Millennials are killing the dairy industry, as they have so much else.

Where's Zito getting this idea of fad diets killing the dairy industry from? Not from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, which shows that between 2016 and 2017, the last two years for which it has data, dairy product consumption went down a mere two pounds per capita -- from 645 to 643 pounds -- while over a ten-year period (2007-2017) consumption of dairy products actually went up 30 pounds per person, 613 to 643 pounds.

Zito may be thinking of fluid milk consumption (no cheese, no yogurt, etc.). Sales of fluid milk are down year-on-year, and down over ten years -- and in fact down since the 1980s, which would be a weird definition of "the latest dietary fad."

Zito may have been relying on a 2018 Fox News story which talked about the drop in milk sales ("Just three decades ago, America was a milk guzzling nation") and cited "more milk substitutes on the market offering less fat and more flavor" and "the medical debate over milk's health value" as factors. I could see how someone might look at that and say, "sure, fad diets are killing the dairy industry, not verkakte trade policies" -- though I can't imagine that same person thinking for more than a few seconds after that, remembering Mexico's recent 10 percent retaliatory hike in its tariff on American cheese, and not thinking better of the idea. But then, maybe that person would have a reason for portraying a big hit to a major American business as the fault of silly almond-milk-slurping hippies.

A disheveled and confused Salena Zito appeared on CNN on Sunday to try to explain why it's no big deal that Trump just blurted out his most racist statement yet on twitter. She said she wished she had stayed in church although it really appeared as if she might have had a very long night. And she tried to go with the White House line that Trump wasn't saying they should go back to their shithole countries as an insult --- he sincerely meant they should fix the problems in their homelands and then come back here to tell us all how they did it --- but even she couldn't quite deliver such a fatuous line.

I'm surprised she didn't reprise her famous line, "they take him seriously not literally" but with racism that distinction doesn't really fly does it?