But Republicans weren’t alone in adjusting to Trumpian trade politics: Free trade has achieved record popularity among Democrats. It’s possible that the end of the Trump era will see Democrats revert to their usual trade-wariness; most of the Democratic presidential contenders don’t seem to match their constituents’ enthusiasm for free trade. But the beginning of a Biden presidency could present a brief, shining opportunity for trade liberalization. He’s certainly no fan of Trump’s tariffs.
Immigration policy presents another opening. The ugliness of the Trump administration’s immigration policies might appeal to some parts of the GOP, but the president appears to be losing some Republicans on the issue. Between December 2018 and July 2019, for example, Republican support for accepting refugees from Central America climbed 10 points, to 24 percent, according to Gallup. Trump’s anti-immigrant message works with his base, but it cuts against overall trends: Since 1999, Gallup says, Americans’ support for keeping the immigration level the same or increasing it has climbed from 51 percent to 64 percent, with the biggest jump — from 10 percent to 27 percent — in support for raising the immigration numbers.
On immigration, as on trade, big business will push the Republican Party toward compromise. Biden, who released a detailed plan for immigration reform in December, would no doubt be ready to make a deal to finally modernize a dysfunctional system.