And it’s not just that Trump’s base likes the NRA and gun rights, it’s that they think it’s an important issue. The CNN poll found that 68% of Trump approvers said that gun policy was going to be important to their votes in the midterm election. Of those, 35% said it was extremely important. Among all Republicans, 40% said it was extremely important.
On trade, it’s exactly the opposite. Last year, the Pew Research Center asked a bunch of questions on free trade and trade agreements. Only 36% of Republicans thought that free trade agreements have been a good thing for America. Only 35% of Republicans believed that free trade had probably or definitely helped their financial situation. Back during the 2016 primary election, Pew discovered that Trump supporters in the primary (i.e. the core of the Trump base) were especially critical of free trade. Just 27% of Trump supporters thought that free trade agreements had been a good thing for the US. The vast majority (67%) thought they had been bad.
Moreover, trade is just not something that congressional Republicans could get voters riled up about.