The Populist Revolt Against Trade Liberalization is Over – Trump Killed It

Posted August 27, 2018

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues

(Daniel Drezner – Washington Post)

The hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts has been deeply skeptical of the Trump administration’s approach to trade. And though it always tough for the staff to admit error, as the boss I must admit that there was one area where I underestimated Trump’s positive effect on trade.

I mistakenly presumed that Trump’s repeated use of the bully pulpit would cause Americans to turn against trade liberalization. The populist revolt against international trade has been an underlying narrative that allegedly helped Donald Trump win the 2016 election by minus three million votes or something. The point is, as president, Trump has repeatedly railed against existing trade deals such as NAFTA. One would have thought that he would have persuaded some folks of the merits of his case.

The has completed its 2018 survey on American attitudes toward trade (full disclosure: I serve on board of advisors for the Chicago Council survey), and a funny thing happened to U.S. opinions on the subject. As Dina Smeltz and Craig Kafura write in their latest policy brief, Americans love trade way more than they love Trump... Click here to read more.