What does Sussex County love about Trump that the rest of us don’t get?
Listen, I went to high school in Dover and spent many of my formative years in the conservative confines of Kent County, so it isn’t that I’m unaware folks below the canal tend to lean a bit more to the right in their political views.
But Trump isn’t a Republican. He certainly isn’t a conservative. He may pretend to be. He may even want to be one (though that seems unlikely). The truth is he’s just taking advantage of well-meaning people, like his most ardent supporters in southern Delaware, in order to enact an agenda that doesn’t appear to live up to the populist rhetoric he espoused on the campaign trail.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at his supposed tax cuts to the middle class, the ones he was touting on Wednesday night to truck drivers making $50,000 a year. Trump proposes eliminating the estate tax, which won’t do much to help rural Sussex County farmers (the tax doesn’t kick in under $5 million) but it will help pad the pockets of old money inheritors hanging out in the country clubs of Greenville.
Folks in the hills of Hockessin will also appreciate Trump’s proposal to eliminate the alternative minimum tax, the one mechanism of the loophole-ridden tax code that actually forces many wealthy individuals to actually pay taxes (like the $31 million Trump would have otherwise avoided paying in 2005). Folks in Georgetown? Not so much.
Then there’s the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the bipartisan and much-beloved program that provides low-cost health care to millions of children across the country. With Trump asleep behind the wheel, funding for the CHIP program wasn’t extended by Congress, meaning 19,000 kids in Delaware could face cuts as soon as February.
I know what you’re thinking, Sussex County, and no – this isn’t health care for poor families in Wilmington. CHIP provides funding for children who don’t have health care coverage and don’t quality for Medicaid because their parent’s make too much money. So yes, that means the kids of lower middle-class families that are spread across southern Delaware are the ones that will be hurt if Congress doesn’t come through. Don’t count on Trump to help – he’s too busy tweeting about the national anthem to notice.
This brings me to Obamacare. On Thursday, Trump signed an executive order that will allow individuals to buy health care across state lines. This may sound like a good deal, but in reality it will allow healthy people to buy barebones plans and force sick people to pay even more for the better coverage Obamacare mandates.
So how does this impact Sussex County? Well, low-income individuals could see their rates increase in Delaware, but under Obamacare the subsidy the government provides also increases. So the ones that could really get socked are the individuals and families who earn too much to quality for a subsidy in the first place. It’s not people in North Star that are worried about affording health care – it’s people in Milford and Seaford, the ones already struggling with Obamacare premiums, that could get walloped.
Infrastructure? Trump pledged that infrastructure revitalization would be among the top priorities during his first 100 days in office. We’re now approaching month 10, and Sussex County’s roads are no closer to being worked on. Does anyone even remember when “infrastructure week” was at the White House?
No days off? I know many in Sussex County criticized President Obama for playing golf, but Trump has far outpaced the former president’s penchant for the green. So far, Trump has made 67 visits to golf clubs since his inauguration for an estimated cost to taxpayers totaling over $73 million. That’s your tax money, Sussex County.
C’mon Southern Delaware, you know I love you. I’ll even forget you enabled local non-witch Christine O’donnell to win a Republican primary and cost the party a decisive seat in the Senate. Just admit Trump is the flimflam man you know in your heart that he is. Take down your Trump flags. Remove your Trump stickers. You can still hate liberals if you want – you’ve just got to stop supporting Donald Trump, because he’s hurting all of Delaware, including you.
Rob Tornoe is a cartoonist and a WHYY contributor. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobTornoe