Will no one defend free trade?

Americans love free trade, thanks to Trump. Why doesn't any major 2020 candidate?

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Joshua Lott/Getty Images, REUTERS/Carlo Allegri, Tatomm/iStock, Danler/iStock)

President Donald Trump's new round of tariffs on Chinese goods is going into effect even as we speak. But the more Trump escalates his trade war, the more unpopular protectionism gets with American voters, especially Democratic ones. So all the Democratic presidential candidates are sprinting to put distance between their trade policies and Trump's America Firstism, right? Wrong!

Indeed, the leading presidential contenders, Sens. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), who are setting the tone for the rest of the pack, are functionally identical if not worse than Trump on this issue. And the reason is that they don't think that average Democratic voters care enough about trade to punish them for their protectionism.

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