ELKHART, Ind. — The tables were filled at the Chubby Trout restaurant and the local craft beer flowed. The Flippin’ Cow was packed too, with diners overlooking Simonton Lake. Small manufacturing companies were advertising for workers, offering health insurance and retirement accounts.
But Elkhart, with about 55,000 residents and a 2.3 percent unemployment rate, is also a bit nervous. This city near the Michigan border has long been used as a political prop — first by President Barack Obama, then by President Trump — to express concern for the downtrodden and to make a claim on newfound property.
Now, Elkhart may be sending a message that no politician wants to hear.
The city calls itself the “RV Capital of the World” — more than 80 percent of the vehicles sold in the United States are made in Elkhart and the surrounding area, according to the RV Industry Association — and Mr. Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are increasing costs, diminishing demand and causing concern that a 10-year boom cycle could be waning.
(Excerpted from The NY Times)