End the duopoly

Elizabeth Warren’s trade plan is bad politics and worse policy

As noted yesterday in this space, Donald Trump’s trade policies are a real drag on U.S. economic growth. Don’t just take my word on it — economic papers confirm that Trump’s escalating series of trade wars have exacted an escalating cost on the American economy.

One of the interesting questions is whether Trump’s antediluvian trade policies will cause him to lose votes in 2020. As my Post colleague Greg Sargent noted recently, it would seem that Trump’s racist attacks on the Squad, and Elijah Cummings seem designed to retain voters “who continue to feel left behind despite the strong economy.” As Sargent notes, the implication here is that a lot of swing voters are not feeling the Trump economic boom: “his ineffectual trade wars are causing his own constituencies real pain, requiring a taxpayer-funded bailout.”

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Polling data also suggests that Trump’s brand of protectionism is not a winning formula. The 2018 Chicago Council on Global Affairs data is pretty clear on Democrats being big fans of trade, and I’m reasonably confident that the 2019 data will show that to be the case as well. This finding even extends to the Rust Belt states that are allegedly hotbeds of protectionism. According to Vice News’ Cameron Joseph, Michigan residents are not exactly disciples of David Ricardo but they have tired of Trump’s trade wars. He linked to a Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce statewide poll that suggested Trump’s tariffs are not exactly a vote-getter: […]

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