Even though polls overwhelmingly indicate that Hillary Clinton will win California and its 55 electoral college votes in the presidential election, Donald Trump is returning Tuesday to the Valley for a second time in three months.
Savvy observers might note that the Republican businessman is swiping a page out of President Obama’s book. Obama has paid scant attention to California’s challenges while treating the state as a political fundraising ATM.
Trump’s visit to the Tulare is a private $2,700-a-person affair. No media will be allowed inside. We presume that he will have something to say outside the venue, but with the Trump campaign you never know.
Anthony Ratekin, chief of staff for Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, said Trump will discuss federal regulations dealing with agriculture and water.
We hope that he’s learned a little bit more about Valley issues since his visit May 27 to Fresno’s Selland Arena.
It was clear from his remarks that he knows little or nothing about solar energy, which he strongly criticized, or the growing role that green energy plays in the Valley economy.
But we’ll give Trump this: Someone told him how to win over farmers. He got big applause for saying, “We’re going to solve your water problem. You have a water problem that is so insane. It is so ridiculous where they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea.”
If only it were that simple. While we believe that federal and state regulators can do a better job of moving irrigation water to the Valley while still protecting endangered fish species, the runoff that spills every year from the Sierra and flows to the Pacific Ocean isn’t, to use Trump’s word, “insane.”
That water nourishes habitat and wildlife. It restores overdrafted groundwater tables. And it prevents the advance of the ocean’s saltwater into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. When the Delta’s water turns too salty, drinking water for millions of Californians is endangered.
Finally, we wonder what Trump will have to tell farmers about immigration. As agricultural interests often bemoan the shortage of people willing to do the hot, back-breaking work of picking crops, we can’t imagine that local farmers will applaud Trump’s proposals to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and to deport America’s estimated 11 million undocumented residents.
It could be, however, that the farmers won’t ask about immigration. Perhaps they are single-issue voters and donors. Trump has said there is no drought and that as president he will deliver all the water they need.
For ag, that is music to the ears. And it’s matters not that Trump’s promises aren’t grounded in science, or the law of the land.
We warn farmers not to get their hopes up. The Republican presidential nominee’s position on water sounds like a lot like a sale pitch for Trump University.