Over at the American Institute for Economic Research, Max Gulker has a perceptive take on why support for free trade doesn’t much matter for winning or losing elections. As he points out, tariffs “were only a hot campaign topic in select states and congressional districts. When candidates did discuss trade, they presented it as an issue of gamesmanship rather than economics.”
In other words, politics and policy are different things.
Gulker is also kind enough to cite something I wrote a while back about public choice and trade. Aside from that, he makes a valuable contribution to the debate.