2016 March 25 Friday
Weak American Support For Free Trade

An article how whether Donald Trump can win the election has an interesting section about American views of free trade. The support is not so strong.

Trump's attacks on trade have the potential to win over voters. According to the Bloomberg Politics poll, 65 percent of Americans prefer more restrictions on imported goods to protect U.S. jobs, while 22 percent favor fewer restrictions. Forty-four percent said NAFTA, which took effect while Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, was in office, has been bad for the economy.

Trade and immigration are both subjects where the elites and masses differ in their views. The elites want more. The masses want less.

I do not think that Trump can win the election on immigration alone. He has to appeal to the lower classes more on trade. If he manages to win election will he put up trade barriers. My sense of it is that the President has very limited room for raising trade barriers. Legislation and treaties would hem him in pretty well. I suspect he would have more power to cut immigration than to raise tariffs.

Trump would have a lot more leeway in non-trade foreign policy. Primarily he'd be free to not do all the stupid sorts of things the last 3 Presidents have done abroad. So he'd make fewer mistakes by doing fewer foolish things abroad.

I think Trump still faces an uphill fight to win the Presidency because Hillary has striong support from the press, academia, billionaires, blacks, and Hispanics. Can the master persuader make inroads among women? Among the lower classes? It remains to be seen.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2016 March 25 09:49 PM 


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