As my colleague Philip Bump has pointed out, Trump’s opposition to free trade is savvy. He appears to have tapped into an anti-populist sentiment on the right that’s manifesting itself on trade. And now he’s helping to grow that.
A June survey by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution found a majority of Americans said free trade deals were more harmful than helpful — including 69 percent of Trump supporters. That’s actually 20 points more (!) than Democrats who say free trade is harmful.
Those aren’t the “normal” political fault lines on trade.
Seven years ago, 59 percent of Republicans supported free trade, according to the Pew Research Center. Republicans’ support for free trade has dropped 20 percentage points since then. And as Noah Bierman of the Los Angeles Times points out, the biggest drop happened over this past year.
It’s not just Republicans who are struggling with trade in this populist election.