Donald Trump has risen to popularity based in part on his criticism of free trade and its effect on American workers. He says he’s going to “bring back our jobs,” referring to how globalization and the rise of China led to a loss of American manufacturing jobs
If it wasn’t clear before how strongly that’s resonating with voters, here’s another statistic from a recent article in the Wall Street Journal: According to the Journal, 89 of the 100 US counties with industries most exposed to Chinese imports voted for Trump in the Republican primaries. Conversely, only 28 of the 100 least-exposed counties voted for him.
This means that the areas of the country that were hit hardest by trade and globalization were three times as likely to support Trump during the primaries as the areas that were least harmed by international trade.
The Wall Street Journal article, which was called “Election 2016: Propelled by the American Economy’s Failed Promises,” examined the economic roots of the disillusionment that led to Trump’s rise, as well as its social and political consequences. One of the critical “failed promises,” according to the Journal, was that trade with China would have a net positive impact on the economy.
Economists and policymakers staunchly defended trade, and assured the public that although some Americans would be hurt, they would adapt and ultimately benefit from cheaper goods. But the reality was rougher on American workers and “a bigger shock to the economy than anybody expected.”
People have written extensively about how Trump’s ideas about trade are terrible and, if some of his proposed policies took effect, they would almost certainly hurt the economy and plunge the US into another recession. But the people who are voting for him are, overwhelmingly, those who feel that globalization failed them.
Read the full Wall Street Journal article here.