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Election 2020: Truckers rate Trump on transportation, trade issues

Truckers said infrastructure, trade and Trump's response to COVID pandemic were top issues in 2020 election. Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

While polls show Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the lead with five days remaining until Election Day, 53% of truck drivers FreightWaves polled on LinkedIn say they plan to cast their votes for President Donald Trump.

FreightWaves also asked truckers what transportation issues they would like the elected president to address during the next four years. 

Chad Boblett, the owner of Boblett Brothers LLC of Lexington, Kentucky, said he would like to see a president tackle the issue of possible implementation of a minimum wage requirement for company drivers currently paid per mile. 

“Company drivers should be compensated equivalent to minimum wage,” Boblett told FreightWaves. “I think this would fix many problems in the trucking industry. I think detention would be less of a problem. Shippers and receivers would be more aware of the driver’s time if they are paying for it.”

Others say they want details from both candidates about their infrastructure plans.

Industry analyst Mark Montague said Trump failed to deliver a “badly needed infrastructure bill,” calling it “just empty talk” during his almost four years in office. 

“I give this president a failing grade and will be voting for Biden,” Montague told FreightWaves. 

“Hopefully he gets an infrastructure bill done. We need reinvestment into our economy.”

Truck driver Billy Foster said he won’t be voting for Trump in the 2020 election. 

“[Trump’s] inability to get [a] infrastructure [bill] done is hard on my equipment,” Foster said.

Trump’s economic and trade policies

FreightWaves asked truckers if they believe that President Trump’s economic and trade policies have benefited them or hurt their company’s bottom lines over the past four years.

Truckers were divided on this issue.

“I think Trump’s trade policies have done nothing but make what we purchase much more expensive,” said truck driver Eric Shoup. “We keep giving corporate cuts and incentives just to have them outsource jobs. The government bends over backward for corporations to the point that I feel their needs are put before citizens. I’m ready for a change.”

Tim Philmon of Middleburg, Florida, disagrees. Under Trump, the economy is thriving, he says. 

“When the full effect of the Trump economic plan comes around, boom, especially, with concerns to the manufacturing sector and trade with China,” Philmon told FreightWaves.

Texas trucker Ubence Escobar said he doesn’t support Trump’s trade policies.

“Trade wars trashed the industry for 2018 and 2019,” Escobar said. “When he announced the tariffs on China in late 2018, the market declined almost immediately. In 2019, hundreds, if not thousands, of carriers went out of business.”

A Reuters report found that U.S. companies primarily paid for U.S. tariffs at the cost of nearly $46 billion, which Escobar said is something he didn’t forget when he went to vote. 

“Overall Trump has been careless and reckless and unstable in his decision-making, and the current state of the country reflects its management,” he said.

Steve Lapp of Jacksonville, Florida, said Trump has done an excellent job for the trucking economy.

“I don’t really care who a president hates, or doesn’t hate, or how much money he has,” Lapp said. “I don’t care about soaking the rich or what government programs are created or increased. The best thing the government can do for the economy is to get out of the way and let people succeed or fail on their own.”

COVID-19 response

Truck drivers, considered essential workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, had mixed reviews regarding Trump’s handling of the deadly virus that has sickened nearly 8.7 million Americans, killing around 227,000, according to The New York Times.

Truck driver Bob Stanton of Batavia, Illinois, said he won’t be voting for Trump on Tuesday.

“Trump’s abysmal handling of COVID has hurt my bottom line,” Stanton said. 

Stanton said there has been no effort by the current administration to create a plan for long-haul drivers who may contract COVID on the road but are too far from home or may not be sick enough to be hospitalized.

Truck driver Foster said he contracted COVID-19 as an essential worker and Trump didn’t do enough to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

“His [Trump’s] response to COVID remains pathetic at best,” Foster said.

Philmon disagreed with other truckers’ criticisms of Trump’s handling of the COVID crisis.

“I submit to you that your president has handled this China plague with the utmost importance,” he told FreightWaves.

FreightWaves polls truckers on social media

FreightWaves recently polled truckers on social media about which candidate they planned to vote for in this year’s presidential election. 

Around 53% of the 343 LinkedIn voters who responded to a question about whom they would vote for gave Trump the nod, while 31% said they would cast their vote for Biden. 

On Twitter, 42.5% said their pick was President Trump, compared with 40.6% who stated they are voting for Democratic nominee Biden.

Chart: FreightWaves’ graphics and social media teams

With just five days remaining until Election Day, Americans have already cast more than 77 million early ballots, putting the 2020 election on track for historic voter turnout levels.

The U.S. Elections Project, a voter turnout database founded by Michael P. McDonald, an associate professor of political science at the University of Florida, is closely tracking the daily numbers as voters cast their ballots.

Inside the Election 2020 series

Oct. 26: Road ahead for trucking infrastructure hinges on Nov. 3

Oct. 27: OOIDA says Trump a net positive for small-business truckers

Oct. 27: Infrastructure, legal battles among top issues for ATA, TCA

Oct. 28: Survey: Truckers largely plan to vote in person on Nov. 3

Oct. 28: What the US presidential election could mean for trade with Mexico

Oct. 29: Truckers rate Trump on transportation, trade issues

Oct. 29: Economy is runaway top issue in carrier survey

Oct. 30: Is Canada ready for an U.S. administration change?

Oct. 30: In 2016, Trump promised trucking things would change. Have they?


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Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to [email protected]