How will trade affect voting in the 2018 midterm elections?

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order directing federal agencies to recommend changes to a temporary visa program used to bring foreign workers to the United States to fill high-skilled jobs during a visit to the world headquarters of Snap-On Inc, a tool manufacturer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., April 18, 2017.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - RC19EAFB4AA0
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Trade has been a dominant issue during President Trump’s administration, beginning with various campaign promises before he was elected. Now, with the recent confirmation of USMCA, the trade conversation continues nationwide and may have more of an effect on the upcoming elections than on elections in the past. Joseph Parilla discusses which areas of the country have been impacted the most by Trump’s trade policy and whether or not it will affect how they vote in November.

What you need to know:

  • Only 1 percent of Americans consider the trade deficit to be the country’s most pressing issue.
  • By traditional metrics, we have a strong economy – unemployment remains low and wages are slowly increasing.
  • Tariffs have had impacts on some companies and on market uncertainty, but the average American consumer probably hasn’t felt any effect of the changing trade policies.
  • The tariffs tend to impact communities that voted for President Trump in the 2016 election more than they impact communities that voted for Clinton.
  • However, it’s unlikely that many voters will switch party affiliation because of the trade policies.
  • Nearly 80 percent of Republicans are in favor of President Trump’s trade policies, and most Democrats are opposed to the policies.
  • The tariffs being imposed on American products show that the leaders of the retaliatory countries are keenly aware of domestic U.S. politics and who is in political control.
  • Two of these targeted tariffs were on bourbon, which comes from Senator Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, and on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, which come from Representative Paul Ryan’s state of Wisconsin.
  • Republican legislators whose states are targeted by tariffs are portraying them as temporary pain for their districts to gain negotiating power in the long run.