Backing Trump, The Right Sells Out On Trade And Tariffs

As it has in so many other areas, the right has sacrificed it's previously held beliefs on international trade to feckless obedience toward President Trump.

For decades, the Republican Party has been known as the party of free trade, supporting initiatives such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other initiatives designed to lower trade barriers and promote free trade around the world, but that’s all changed now that Donald Trump is President:

The GOP is starting to give up on thwarting President Donald Trump’s trade agenda.

Senate Republicans acknowledge that the president’s latest tariff increase on Chinese imports are harming farm state economies, their own constituents and some of Trump’s most reliable voters. But there’s no plan to stop, or even threaten, the president’s tariff regime — just the latest example of Trump imposing his protectionist will on a party that once celebrated free trade.

So the GOP on Monday stuck to the same message: The tariffs are bad, but at least this time, Trump is taking on China — and not on Canada or Mexico.

“They can feel it. The farm community up ’til now has really supported the president without flinching. But eventually you flinch,” said Missouri

Sen. Roy Blunt, the No. 4 GOP leader whose state is a major soybean producer. Yet he concluded: “If you’re going to have a trade fight, the trade fight to have would be the China fight.”

Farmers are “disappointed but, you know, recognizing that China is the one that is forcing this,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

Trump showed little regard for the GOP’s worries on Monday as he advised Americans to avoid buying products made in China to avoid the tariffs then later bragged that the tariffs are taking in billions of dollars — ignoring that consumers pay those fees, not China.

“I love the position we’re in,” he said. “It’s working out really well.”

Republicans would disagree but apparently have no will to challenge the president over the matter.

Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley has vowed to block the president’s new North American trade deal as long as steel and aluminum tariffs remain on Mexico and Canada, but Trump has ignored his ultimatum.

On Monday, Grassley admitted that Congress has ceded too much power to the White House on trade. But the Iowa Republican declined to say whether his committee would do anything about it, beyond stalled talks about legislation to limit national security tariffs. He offered the gentlest of guidance to Trump, urging him to work with allies on the China fight, and ordered China “to get real.”

It’s a widely held view among Republicans: Past Congresses granted the White House too much authority and now there’s nothing lawmakers can do about it.

“The retaliatory tariffs will have a significant consequence to Kansans,” said Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). He said the Senate can only do so much besides make their case to the White House: “Really this authority rests in the president.”

That’s a view that ignores Congress’ power to rein in the president or confront him through legislation. But the GOP is in no mood to get into it with Trump after blocs of Senate Republicans defied him on his national emergency declaration, criticized his foreign policy and tanked his two Federal Reserve picks. A number of Republicans are up for reelection and sweating potential primary challenges if they cross Trump.

Instead, Republicans seem to be relying on Trump’s conservative base in agricultural states to deliver the president a message. Asked who can determine when the economic pain from retaliatory tariffs is too much to stand, South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said, “It’s up to the producers.”

“They can’t produce soybeans and actually make a profit today. Five years in a row, farmers’ prices are down 50 percent since 2013. This is a very serious thing, and these are the president’s people. They want him to be successful. But there’s a limit to how long they can hang in there,” Rounds said.

The steel and aluminum tariffs on North American and European allies have drawnfar more GOP opposition because they were imposed on the dubious basis of national security. Some Republicans have sought to restrict those “section 232” tariffs, but GOP leaders have declined to consider legislation that would tie Trump’s hands.

The GOP pushback has been far weaker on Trump’s China offensive, even though the results have been just as damaging. Beijing is imposing new 25 percent tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. imports in the face of Trump’s new levies on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

“The president’s right to hold China’s feet to the fire on this,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). “They wouldn’t be negotiating at all if it weren’t for what the president has done. Of course, I’d like to see a deal done.”

As Amber Phillips notes in The Washington Post, this is yet another measure of the extent to which President Trump has remade the Republican Party:

Perhaps no issue highlights how President Trump has remade the Republican Party better than trade.

In the past, Republican politicians staunchly championed free trade, or opening up America’s borders to other countries’ products and services. Now, a Republican president is putting billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese products as a way to close the U.S. to trade practices he deems unfair. And congressional Republicans aren’t even trying to stop him.

Republican senators say they aren’t happy with the tariffs, both on principle and because it puts American farmers in their states in financial jeopardy. But as Politico’s Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine smartly detail, Republican senators aren’t planning to do much about it.

“The retaliatory tariffs will have a significant consequence to Kansans,” Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) told Politico. But he went on to say there’s not much the Senate can do about it. “Really this authority rests in the president.”

(…)

The Republican-controlled Senate could pass legislation led by Grassley taking back some of its authority to approve or deny tariffs. (Right now the White House can basically unilaterally impose tariffs.) It would probably be vetoed by the president if it passed, but it would demonstrate that Republicans are willing to challenge their own president.

They could vote on a resolution of disapproval, as they did for Trump’s national emergency declaration at the border. It’s symbolic, but at least it would register for the history books that the Republican Party under Trump is not entirely a pro-tariff party.

But Republicans right now have no plans to do any of that.

One reason is timing. They are a year and a half out from elections where the base is their party has largely aligned with Trump on trade. Stand up to Trump on trade, risk getting a primary challenger, is the logic. 4

But that doesn’t explain why the Republican Party has shifted so much on trade under its congressional leaders’ feet. To some extent, that requires a deeper analysis than the present moment can provide. The reasons likely align with Trump’s rise: Americans’ growing sense of economic inequality, the feeling that globalization has left them behind, and Trump’s simplistic prescriptions that closing America’s borders — from China and Latin immigrants — can staunch the tide.

During the 2016 campaign, Republican voters’ opinions of free trade seemed inversely proportional to then-candidate Trump’s rise. Toward the end of the campaign, Republican voters’ opinions of free trade were at their lowest since 2009.

A June 2016 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution found that a majority of Americans said free-trade agreements were more harmful than helpful — with Trump supporters the group most inclined to say they are harmful.

There are some murmurs that farmers who have stood by Trump in states he won in 2016 are starting to break. Soybean farmers, pork producers and cherry producers in particular have said they’re struggling with the tariffs already in place, Paletta reports.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) warned as much to Politico: “They can feel it. The farm community up ’til now has really supported the president without flinching. But eventually you flinch.”

But for now, Republican lawmakers are stuck inside a party that, when it comes to a consequential economic issue directly affecting many of their constituents, they don’t recognize. It’s just one of many ways the Republican Party has been remade to the party of Trump.

None of this comes at a surprise, of course. If anything has become self-evident that the Republican Party is now effectively the party of Donald Trump. This is a process that started when it became clear Trump was going to win the nomination, picked up steam after he won the nomination, and became a fait accompli when Trump won the General Election. At each of those moments. former opponents for the nomination and other Republicans who had previously been vocal opponents of the President’s became obsequious toadies that have made it their mission to push the Administration’s agenda, to deny the outrageousness of the President’s behavior and comments about a wide variety of issues, and to essentially do the President’s bidding by joining him in attacking everyone from former Director of the F.B.I. James Comey to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. They have also joined the President in denying the seriousness of Russian interference in the Trump campaign and appear to be fully supportive of his ongoing efforts to effectively sabotage the efforts of House Democrats to investigate the swirl of ethical, criminal, and other allegations surrounding the President and his Administration.

Beyond that, though, pretty much every Republican on Capitol Hill, and no small amount of the conservative pundit class that appears on cable news on a daily basis has basically fallen in line behind the President even when it means sacrificing long-held Republican beliefs. This is as apparent in the area of international trade policy as it is anywhere else. Trump’s tariff policies should be an affront to any principled conservative and if they had been enacted by a Democrat then it would be Republicans and conservative pundits who were at the lead denouncing those policies and pointing out the extent to which they will harm American businesses and consumers and the American economy. Because they have been put forward by a Republican President, though, what we get is some minor lip service to the self-evident economic truths about how disastrous these policies will be if we continue down this road and then, well, nothing. In reality, there is plenty that Congress could do to try to block the President’s disastrous policies, but the GOP in general, and GOP Senators in particular, show no inclination to take any action at all or even to be very loud in their denunciations of these policies. Whether they believe what they are saying is immaterial, the fact is that they are saying it and they have effectively surrendered to Trump on this issue just as they have on so many others.

As I’ve said before, the modern Republican Party is basically now made up of Trump supporters who are beyond reason, sycophants who are cozying up to Trump because they think it will advance their careers, sellouts who had sold themselves to a man with no principles, and cowards who know what they’re seeing is wrong but are too afraid to speak out against it. The result is that the GOP is moving further and further into the Trumpidian populist category in a way that will have a lasting impact on the GOP long after Trump is gone. Hopefully, the American public will stand up against it, but after what happened in November 2016, I’m not particularly optimistic about that.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Economics and Business, International Trade, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. They are also supposed to be anti-tax, but tariffs are taxes.

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  2. Teve says:

    The result is that the GOP is moving further and further into the Trumpidian populist category in a way that will have a lasting impact on the GOP long after Trump is gone. Hopefully, the American public will stand up against it, but after what happened in November 2016, I’m not particularly optimistic about that.

    McCain got 59,948,323 votes in 2008. Romney did marginally better in 2012, getting 60,933,504 votes. Romney got 985,181 more than McCain. But then Trump, in 2016, got 62,984,828 votes–2,051,324 more than Romney. Add in the historically high inter-party approval rating, and I conclude that Trump is way more who the GOP voters actually want, than we’d like to believe.

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  3. mattbernius says:

    The NPR news programs have been having a steady stream of interviews with governors and senators from red, farming states. It’s been pretty remarkable how consistent the messaging has been across interviewees — in particular going back to this being about “intellectual property protections” and that “their constituents are fully in support of the president’s actions.”

    There is an incredible amount of discipline right now among interviewees. It will be interesting to see if/when that starts to fracture. If they’re still in lock-step a month from now and nothing has changed (or things have escalated further) on the negotiation front, its a sign they are most likely in for the long haul.

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  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    They are also supposed to be small Government…but they want to be in every woman’s bedroom.

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  5. All of this show how in presidentialism the leader shapes the party, while in parliamentary systems the party shapes the leader (at least as general principles).

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  6. grumpy realist says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: hell, in every fertile woman’s uterus!

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  7. michael reynolds says:

    Republicans never believed in 90% of what they claimed down through the years. They are the party of liars, evidence provided daily. The GOP since the ’60’s has been a racist, misogynist, nativist and theocratic party. Power and money. That’s all they’ve ever cared about, everything else was bullshit. Trump did not remake the GOP, he just revealed it.

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  8. Kathy says:

    The difference between el Cheeto and his predecessors in the Oval Office, is that they didn’t strike hard and publicly at any and all criticism, either by politicians in their party, in the other party, or at the news media. Maybe Nixon, but he didn’t have Twitter.

    No other occupant of the White House has had self-esteem so low, such deep insecurity of their self-worth, or such petty vanity as to require all opposition be crushed.

    What’s poisonous about Dennison, is that he’s also massively popular with the GOP base. This explains why no Republican politician will speak out against him.

    Maybe when he manages to tank the economy, he’ll lose support. Until then, all we can do is hope he doesn’t get reelected.

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  9. Kylopod says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    They are also supposed to be anti-tax, but tariffs are taxes.

    This really gets me, because the “Tea Party” movement named itself after a historical event that was a protest against a tax–yet they seem to forget the tax was in fact a tariff.

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  10. @Kylopod: Indeed.

    @Kathy:

    Maybe when he manages to tank the economy, he’ll lose support.

    I fear that the tanking will actually hit after he is out of office, and the simpletons will blame the next president.

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  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    For anti and lukewarm Repugs that hoped they could take the party back after Tiny, well you’re out of luck.

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  12. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “I fear that the tanking will actually hit after he is out of office, and the simpletons will blame the next president.”

    Oh, come on. That will never happen. It’s like saying Republican voters will believe that Obama was responsible for the terrible economy created by W’s policies… and surely even Republicans in the South and Midwest aren’t that stupid.

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  13. Scott F. says:

    …the modern Republican Party is basically now made up of Trump supporters who are beyond reason, sycophants who are cozying up to Trump because they think it will advance their careers, sellouts who had sold themselves to a man with no principles, and cowards who know what they’re seeing is wrong but are too afraid to speak out against
    the modern Republican Party is basically now made up of Trump supporters who are beyond reason, sycophants who are cozying up to Trump because they think it will advance their careers, sellouts who had sold themselves to a man with no principles, and cowards who know what they’re seeing is wrong but are too afraid to speak out against it.

    Not to nitpick, Doug, but with the exception of the beyond reason true believers, the Trump sycophants and sellouts are both subsets of the cowards who know what they’re seeing is wrong. This dynamic is what I find so mystifying about the current state of the GOP. This is a party that has prided itself on strength as a virtue for as long as I can remember. Yet these same people are now laying supine at the foot of this clown of a president. You’d think at some point self respect would kick in.

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  14. Guarneri says:

    You are all so cute when you stomp your feet and hold your breath.

    BTW – what is this “free trade” of which you speak.

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  15. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I fear that the tanking will actually hit after he is out of office, and the simpletons will blame the next president.

    It’s possible. If I could predict the future, I’d be very rich. But Trump seems to be doing everything possible to wreck the economy:

    1) Tariffs are choking off exports and driving up the cost of several goods.
    2) The larger deficit will require either more borrowed money or more printed money. If the former, that will require higher interest rates. If the latter, it will result in inflation.
    3) By picking fights and imposing sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, Dennison may drive oil prices up.

    Add all this up, and you should at least get a slow down, if not a recession. Wither way, wage growth should also slow down or stop altogether.

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  16. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    No other occupant of the White House has had self-esteem so low, such deep insecurity of their self-worth, or such petty vanity as to require all opposition be crushed.

    I think you were not paying attention after 9/11 and during the run up to the Iraq War. There was a consistent message that you were either in favor of a war, or you weren’t really patriotic.

    Trump just does it more directly.

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  17. Gustopher says:

    @wr: A surprising number of people think the 2008 crash happened during the Obama administration, and was therefore Obama’s fault.

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  18. @wr: Silly me.

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  19. gVOR08 says:

    From the Amber Phillips piece,

    But that doesn’t explain why the Republican Party has shifted so much on trade under its congressional leaders’ feet. To some extent, that requires a deeper analysis than the present moment can provide.

    For which see Identity Crisis, John Sides et al, 2018. Saw somebody call this the definitive study on what happened in 2016. Mostly race. But they make a strong point that there’s long been a disconnect between GOP voters and GOP elites. They claim 30% of Republican voters are “economic liberals” who want better health insurance, support SS and Medicare, and like higher taxes on the wealthy. And many GOP voters feel that free trade costs US jobs. The base didn’t shift, the elites were out of step with the base.

    In sum, there have always been voters, and especially Republican voters, whose views could make them susceptible to a heterodox primary candidate like Trump. Such candidates usually struggle to succeed, however, because party elites and activists, who tend to be stronger ideologues, will not support them. But when Republican elites failed to derail Trump’s candidacy early on, Republicans who had not adopted every plank of the party platform had their own candidate.

    GOPs have depended on being able to con the base into voting for them. But now Trump has shown himself to be the champion at conning their base, and he’s the incumbent. They see Trump as their only chance at winning. In return for winning, they’ll sacrifice free trade.

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  20. Mister Bluster says:

    …free trade…

    It is what Pud was talking about when he said:
    “You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
    This is the only thing that REPUBLICAN MAN cares about.

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  21. gVOR08 says:

    @wr: In 2009 I had conversations with a couple of conservatives to the effect of:
    The economy sucks under Obama.
    Well yeah, the financial system collapsed last year under Bush.
    What’s Bush got to do with it? You’re just making excuses for Obama.

    I find conservatives are big on the cum hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.

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  22. Kylopod says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I fear that the tanking will actually hit after he is out of office, and the simpletons will blame the next president.

    I think it’s almost a certainty there will be a recession sometime in the next few years. I see three possibilities in how that will pan out:

    (1) The recession hits sometime in the next year, making it very likely Trump loses reelection.

    (2) There’s no recession by 2020, and Trump wins a second term largely on the strength of the economy. Then the recession strikes during his second term.

    (3) There’s no recession in 2020, but a Democrat manages to beat Trump anyway–and then the recession strikes on the Democrats’ watch.

    The third possibility is probably the only way Trump escapes blame by the public at large. And it wouldn’t be good for Dems long-term, because it increases the chances that Republicans take over again in 2024.

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  23. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    There was a consistent message that you were either in favor of a war, or you weren’t really patriotic.

    Yes, but that was both consistent with prior GOP rhetoric, and a view widely shared by the whole party and by some in the Democratic party as well. I don’t recall Bush the younger unleashing vicious attacks on opponents on that issue.

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  24. Andrew says:

    It would not be Trump and Co. or anyone Trump helps, nor Republicans in Congress that suffers or has to pay for all these policies. The Republicans in power have zero consequences to worry about. In office or not. National Debt? That is entirely hung around the Democratic Party’s neck. Always.
    Getting voted out of office? Maybe, even then they go work for the Saudi’s or Russians or whomever. The future Dust Bowl II states going Democrat? Doubtful.

    Here is a whole list of things rhetorical questions.
    Why should the GOP care if they do or do not support Trump’s Terrible Tariffs?
    What has the last 50 or so years taught us about the ethics and goal post moving of the rule of law by Republicans? Did it not work so well the first time around with Barr making up law out of thin air, they rehired him?
    What exactly did people expect of the most corrupt President in U.S. history that came from serial bankruptcies and failed businesses? What exactly did people expect when you added that ball of fail to the political party that lied to the country into the Iraq War II? Or Valerie Plame? Or Iran/Contra? Noriega? Their reactions to Katrina/Puerto Rico? Etc.
    Why are people still scratching their heads regards to the GOP being devoid of humanity?

    This is a massive money grab, has been, always will be. That’s what the Republicans do when they take power. Raid the coffers, start wars to fund their military complexes, cut taxes, cut social programs, sell secrets, sell weapons…
    And here we are in a thread in which people “should not be surprised” the GOP is following Trump.
    No shit.

    “Oh, Trump says we never nuclear bombed Japan? It’s a liberal conspiracy?
    Well, I’m not sure if I agree with the President, but I support our President. And I am not a history professor. “
    Can anyone tell me that is too hyperbolic of a response to expect from this Republican Party?

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  25. wr says:

    @Gustopher: Oh, Gustopher — One thing I like about this site is that no one feels compelled to label sarcasm for the other readers. Don’t make us start!!!

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  26. An Interested Party says:

    You are all so cute when you stomp your feet and hold your breath.

    Certainly cuter than you are when you’re fluffing for Dear Leader…your jaw must hurt…

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  27. The abyss that is the soul of cracker says:

    Trump’s tariff policies should be an affront to any principled conservative

    That’s the problem in a nutshell. Where are you going to find a principled conservative among the holders of office? For office holders, the only principle is reelection.

    I think we also need to be clear on one other thing. Republicans are not anti taxes; they are anti paying taxes. If someone else wants to pay taxes, they have no objections at all. Consider that Republicans have no problems at all with the poor paying higher taxes, for example. Republicans are always advocating that everyone should be paying taxes and that the poor don’t pay enough. Their main complaint about immigrants is that they don’t pay enough taxes. They’re not anti tax, they’re anti paying them.

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  28. Lounsbury says:

    @michael reynolds: Charming your sweeping frothy at the mouth rhetoric, considering the OTB authors political histories.

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  29. grumpy realist says:

    An analysis of the possible strategic moves by China.

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  30. Perhaps you are exaggerating a bit the characterization of the Republicans as traditionally pro-free trade? Many Republicans/conservative heroes were protectionists, like Taft or, I think, even Goldwater (who is usually portrait as a quasi-libertarian).

    And, even in recent years, probably the average Democratic politician was probably more protectionist than the average Republican politician but extreme protectionism (in the sense of being the main campaign issue) was more common, I think, from (dissident) Republicans, like Buchanan than from Democrats (in other words, the average of protectionism could be higher in the Democratic Party, but the standard deviation was higher in the Republican Party).

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  31. Even about Republican/conservatives and protectionism – perhaps the Republican/conservative opposition to wealth redistribution never was really much about freedom and small government but more, in the best case, about a puritan glorification of hard work (then, against taking from the hard workers to give to lazy people) or, in the worst case, about self-interest.

    The people who are against welfare and taxes because it offends the work ethics don’t have much reason to be against tariffs, because tariffs don’t have the alleged impact of giving money to people who don’t work (if anything, at least the rhetoric is in the sense of protecting the sectors more associated with hard – even “manly” – work); and the people who are against welfare by self-interest have perhaps some losses with tariffs (depending in the industry where they work) but probably less than the gains from tax cuts.

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  32. Kylopod says:

    @Miguel Madeira: Conservative Republicans used to be almost exclusively protectionist. At the turn of the 20th century the tariff was actually called “the sacred temple of the Republican Party.” Smoot-Hawley was the work of Republicans. It made sense at the time: tariffs were the original source of government revenue before income taxes were instituted, and they were a way of trying to protect American businesses (hence the name “protectionism”). Ironically, it was populists like William Jennings Bryan who were most likely to be free-traders.

    This changed by the late 20th-century as we moved toward a more global economy and the flaws of protectionism came to be more widely understood by economists. Pat Buchanan in the 1990s was seen at the time as an outlier, and he was heavily criticized by other conservatives for his stance on trade. Limbaugh even called him a fake conservative and tried to excommunicate him from the movement. Support for free trade was often described as practically a defining feature of conservatism, connected to the idea of free markets and unfettered capitalism.

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  33. Jim Brown 32 says:

    80% of why Trump is President is his boldness to change the status quo on Trade. The reason why we have a robust Prison Industrial Complex is directly related to free-trade policies that shipped the majority of the decent paying jobs the “C” High School graduates could work to earn a living.

    Stumping for policies that would pull back even a modest amount of light manufacturing to the States would be the easiest win ever for Democrats but they are too stupid—and take money from the same wallets Republicans do. All the benefits of Globalization went to shareholders and Wall Street–regular workers got it fast and hard with no vaseline.

    Its pure comedy to hear the Democrats claim to be the party of working families and the only 2 bullets they have in their Derringer is about Health insurance and $15 starting wages at McDonalds and Walmart. Globalization can look perfect on a whiteboard and in economics books–it doesn’t pass the human factors test. Its Betamax. Regular people want VHS. As long as a critical mass of Americans are underemployed in the service sectors for the 10% of earners –there will be unrest and political upheaval.

    The American ethos associates Jobs with DIGNITY–so very few blue collar people are going to give a flying F–K that the finance and import communities that sent their dignity overseas now have to pay a premium to do business. I not even mad at Trump on this one. The race to the bottom for lowest consumer prices is the trigger that destroyed the middle class. So boo hoo if walmart has to pay more money to import their cheap crap. At least if they bought it from Vietnam–the Vietnamese arent in direct opposition to us around the globe.

    Think about it–WE DONT HAVE TO DO BUSINESS WITH CHINA. Why would we continue do unfettered business with a Communist country that is a blatant human rights violator and is making moves on the global scene to challenge American interests on almost every continent? It only make sense if you have the best foreign policy money can buy.

    Stop being stupid Democrats and come up with at Trade policy that addresses the elephant in the room. Trump has put you on the side of importers, finance, and shareholders–the people responsible for lost pensions, .00003 interest on savings accts, and disposable everything. That’s not good company to be in for 2020.

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  34. Slugger says:

    @Guarneri: I don’t know much about “cute.” I have never been thought cute. However, I agree with you about “free trade.” At best it is a hypothetical construct to help us understand economics, but there has been very little of it in real life. Farmers have received price supports since forever. Petroleum extraction gets favorable tax treatment. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, and other professionals get licenses that severely limit possible compeitors. There are a thousand examples. Politicians swear they believe in Heaven and free trade, but none wants to die nor stop making laws that favor some interest group.

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  35. gVOR08 says:

    @Guarneri:

    BTW – what is this “free trade” of which you speak.

    Why ask us? It’s been mostly a Republican cause.

    On economic issues, Trump ran against the policies of the Republican establishment: gutting or privatizing SS and Medicare, low taxes on the rich, free trade, etc. But he, and other Republicans, smeared the policies onto “elites” in general and then redefined elites as liberals. Pretty neat trick, if it weren’t so scummy. And I see you bought it.

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  36. Mikey says:

    @Guarneri: You’re so cute when it’s revealed your party’s so-called principles are just so much blather and bullshit, and then you try to turn that around on us.

    But we see you.

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  37. michael reynolds says:

    @Lounsbury:
    I have a different standard of what counts as ‘belief.’ You know what people really believe in?
    Gravity. Look at the extraordinary care people take to avoid trouble with gravity. They’ve never seen gravity, but everyone believes in it. Really believes.

    To profess is not to believe.

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  38. michael reynolds says:

    James and Doug: Your spam filter needs a valium. Free me, please?

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  39. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    80% of why Trump is President is his boldness to change the status quo on Trade.

    Nope. The entire reason Dennison is the president is because the Republican base is racist as fuq. Period. Those red hats are the 21st century version of a white hood. Anything else is nonsense.

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  40. @Daryl and his brother Darryl: As much as the identity politics clearly plays into the Republican coalition, I think that is a gross overgeneralization.

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  41. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: @Daryl and his brother Darryl: White liberals need to understand the difference between racist and prejudice. There aren’t many racists around anymore except for freaks around the margins–in the sense racists believe that white people are intrinsically superior to blacks ( a theory birthed out of 15th century white liberal academia BTW) and need to be separated for all non-whites culturally and economically. Kudos to white liberals from the 19th Century until today for all but stamping their own demented views on race from existence.

    Republicans are most certainly prejudice in that they hold biases towards non-whites that they project on them subconsciously. It is a complement to their natural tribal instincts in as much as any white Republican loves Herman Cain, Clarence Thomas, and what’s his face that runs HUD–10000 times more than they care about any white liberal Democrat.

    I spent time in the military–posted in the Deep South and I can categorically say I didn’t like to go in any store off-base in uniform because of the attention I drew being mobbed by white men and women (wh0 would never vote Democrat) thanking me for my Service. While nice–I was compensated for my services by the taxpayer so I felt no thanks was necessary. These people would much rather live next to me than a white liberal/democrat.

    If I were a Dem strategist–and Im not because I think political parties are stupid relics of the 19th century (like sodomy laws)–but If I were–I would be looking to co-op and recast Trump’s angle on Nationalism and his angle on Trade. Why doesn’t the Party of working families have a plan for enforcing the Sherman Anti-Trust act to dis-aggregate the concentration of mega corporation market share in this country? Oh I know–Dems suck the Mega Corp/Wall Street teet as well. The first Dem candidate to recasts Trumps message on those 3 points will win.

    The Democratic party, though successful in 2018–has a 30 year old message…they are the Status Quo party at this point. Even their infatuation with Biden reeks of a fascination for a return to the good old days of 2008-2016. That train has sailed. The current electorate is not happy with the status quo. They will either come out and vote for the change candidate of their preferred party or they will stay home.

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  42. Monala says:
  43. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Right message–wrong packaging–doesn’t go far enough. I need 6 different hardware chains in my city…instead of only 2. There is to much centralization in the current flavor of Capitalism we have in the United States. Capitalism needs to be INefficient. Frankly, the talk of efficiency and productivity that is stressed with our Economy with regards to GDP were focus areas the Communists had for Soviet Russia.

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  44. Monala says:

    @Jim Brown 32: scroll down to the bottom of the link. There are several other articles about Warren’s anti- trust policies.

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