Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why Republicans are better on trade

This post is meant as a rebuke to all (usually pro-free trade Democrats and Libertarians) those who claim the parties are equal on trade issues. I list the reasons why this is the case below:

All of the major Republican-leaning think tanks: CATO, AEI, Heritage, and Hoover support free trade as do the three major conservative magazines: The Weekly Standard, National Review, and the American Spectator as well as the Wall Street Journal editorial page. The Democratic think tanks and magazines are much more divided on the issue with liberal-affiliated magazines and think tanks being adamantly opposed to free trade and some more neo-liberal magazines like The New Republic being more supportive of these agreements. Combine this with the Republican traditional support of the big business community versus the labor community's support of Democrats and Republican elected officials on average have a much better record on trade.

The swing voters in this election and in many if not most elections is Reagan Democrats/Perot voters. These voters are usually either independents or registered Democrats but quite socially conservative, which is why there are more registered Democrats in this country but more conservatives as well.

In order to appeal to these voters, Republicans usually tout national security and social issues, while Democrats tout economic policies. In other words, since populism (both social and economic) appeals to these voters, Democrats need to oppose trade agreements along with embracing other populist economic policies (universal healthcare, raising the minimum wage, etc.) while Republican politicians can appeal to these voters on social issues. Guns for awhile was quite effective (which is why the Democrats gave up on that and many Democrats in this election were pro-NRA), gay marriage, and a few others. So while some Republicans in textile or manufacturing states may also take the anti-trade view, the majority not need and will not in order to appeal to these voters.

These reasons in the aggregate are why Republicans have and will continue to have a better record on free trade than Democrats.


Post a Comment

<< Home