Soybean farmers in the American heartland largely stood by President Donald Trump in this year's midterm elections, despite the economic pain inflicted on many of them by an ongoing trade war with China.
But while only a handful of farm belt House districts flipped from red to blue, Democrats narrowed the margin of victory in what have been reliably Republican strongholds, according to a CNBC analysis. And that shift to the left could give Democrats a head start as the 2020 political cycle gets underway.
"Much revolves around this remarkable bean," said Jim Leach, a law professor at the University of Iowa. "Farmers and their local communities will not forget if Trump reduces their access to markets and instead increases their indebtedness to banks."
For now, Republicans have held on to most of the congressional districts that produce the bulk of U.S. soybeans, according to an analysis of the voter turnouts and the latest data available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.