Trump Administration Looks to Cut Back on Food Stamps — Which Would Hit His Voters Hard

Dawn breaks on Main Street in Kimball, W.Va., a coal town that has suffered several setbacks over the years including mine closings, shuttered businesses and floods.
MICHAEL S. WILLIAMSON/THE WASHINGTON POST

If Republicans succeed in their multi-front campaign to cut back on food stamps, the burden will fall heaviest on the working-class, rural white voters on whom President Trump has staked the future of their party.

House Republicans on Thursday passed legislation that would require Americans ages 18 through 59 to either work part time or spend 20 hours a week in workforce training to receive food stamps.

On the same day, the White House unveiled a proposal to consolidate the public safety net — including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — under a revamped health department. The program, The Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein and Caitlin Dewey write, “has an explicit aim of building standardized requirements that people must work or prepare for jobs to qualify for government help.”

On the surface, these efforts seem like they will affect Democratic voters the most. The highest rates of food-stamp assistance tend to be in the most Democratic areas. But that’s a superficial reading of the numbers.

Yes, the most Democratic-leaning 20 percent of counties tops the rankings in terms of reliance on food stamps. Fourteen percent of all households got SNAP assistance, based on 2012-16 data. But the most Republican-leaning 20 percent runs a close second at 13.5 percent of households receiving assistance. All groups are adjusted for population so that they’re not distorted by the large Republican advantage in thousands of low-population counties.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Andrew Van Dam