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Iowa Farmer Voted For Trump In 2016. Where Does He Stand Now?


The choice for president this year is not clear-cut for some Iowans, including Robb Ewoldt. He's a farmer outside the city of Davenport, and I met him back in January on his farm, just before the Iowa caucuses.


ROBB EWOLDT: Yeah, my parents - they bought this in 1970. It was just bare grass and pasture.

MARTIN: Ewoldt is a lifelong Republican, and he voted for Donald Trump in 2016. When we talked back in January, he didn't know who he was going to support this fall.


MARTIN: Joe Biden - not moderate enough for you?

EWOLDT: Joe Biden - I don't trust him. You know, with what's going on right now with the impeachment, I think Trump got caught and maybe Biden didn't. That's just the way I look at it.

MARTIN: And you trust Donald Trump?

EWOLDT: I didn't say that, either. I didn't say that. And I didn't say that I was voting for him. Right now, maybe I leave the top box empty, to be honest with you, because my family and I are in a worse position now than we were four years ago. So it's very difficult to say, yeah, you got my vote.

MARTIN: So much has happened since I talked with Robb in early 2020, so I gave him a call yesterday.

Do you still plan to leave the top box empty, Robb?

EWOLDT: No, I don't. I'll end up voting for Trump. You know, I've heard it best described as I'm going to vote for the devil I know and not the devil I don't know. I know where he stands on ag policies and how it affects my life. Sometimes I agree; sometimes I don't. But I know what I'm getting.

I'm a little concerned with Biden-Harris, literally because I don't know how far left they're going to go. And I just saw that California - I believe the governor signed - that they don't want to have any liquid-fueled vehicles in California. And if that's the policy that they want to take to the White House, that really affects me in a bad way.

MARTIN: You say it's better to vote for the devil you know, but the devil you know - if we say that's President Trump - dealt you a big blow by allowing oil companies to skirt EPA requirements to include ethanol in their fuels, right? I mean, that was something that you had complained to me about when we talked before.

EWOLDT: Exactly. And that is the one thing that gives me pause. I just feel more comfortable having to deal with - if that's the one hiccup I have with him is how he stood on the waivers and the EPA, I'm going to have to live with that.

MARTIN: And the other critiques of him don't resonate with you - his incessant lying about big things and little things or the way he undermines even his own people in government, his own cabinet picks, his own generals?

EWOLDT: Well, I'm not going to say he's not lying. I just - I'm not privy to a lot of that information. I guess it's my fault for not researching. But I could say the same thing about Biden. Maybe he's made a few lies, too. In my opinion, I guess, if they're both lying, you know, I'm not going to hold that against either one.

MARTIN: What I hear you saying is that even though you are in a worse position now than you were four years ago, you are still willing to take another chance on Donald Trump.

EWOLDT: Yes, we are. With the soybean prices right now - seeing large demand. We're starting to see profitability come back. That was something that was taken away because of the trade issues that Donald Trump put in. And now that we see that coming back, it's given a little glimmer of hope to agriculture in general. Maybe if there was a third box to check, I'd be open to that. But right now with the two choices, I still got to stick with Trump.

MARTIN: Hey, Robb, we so appreciate your time. Thanks for talking with us again.

EWOLDT: My pleasure. Give a call any other time.

MARTIN: That's Robb Ewoldt, a farmer near Davenport, Iowa.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.