The idea that rural and working class Republicans often seem to vote against their best interests is not a new one. It has been discussed long enough and widely enough that Thomas Frank had a bestseller in 2004 with his book on the topic, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”
Not much has changed since then. In Kansas, stark cuts by the governor and statehouse have caused an economic downturn, leaving many in pain. Trump carried the state by 20-plus percentage points.
The story is similar across the United States, as white working class Americans got out to the polls and swung enough states to put Donald Trump in the oval office. All are hoping that the businessman would find a way to help put many struggling communities back on their feet. How does Trump repay them? By making it harder for them to put food on the table.
Just days after Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue that there no cuts to the food stamp program, saying that “you don’t fix what isn’t broken,” leaked documents showed that there are some pretty hefty cuts to multiple programs designed to help feed the poor.
According to reports, as much as $193-billion would be cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The SNAP program is accessed by about 44-million people each year, with heavy concentrations in poorer states in the Southeast.
The South belonged to Trump in 2016. Louisiana, Georgia, Mississipi, Alabama and West Virginia all voted overwhelmingly for Trump, yet they are and are among the states at the top of the list of food stamp recipients. All are approaching or surpass 20-percent of its residents relying on food stamps to help feed their families.
In fact, seven of the top ten states in food stamp recipients are red states that voted for Trump. Some argue that the proposed cuts make sense and would return the program’s budgets to their pre-recession levels since we are no longer in a recession.
That logic, however, ignores the fact that Trump was elected by a significant segment of America who wasn’t feeling like the economy had rebounded for them. And those same people are the ones that will suffer most by having to stretch a food budget already about to snap even with the benefit of SNAP.