Tariffs can be powerful political weapons, and Donald Trump is about to give himself plenty of ammunition.
The administration has listed about $50 billion in Chinese goods it plans to tax, and it announced plans to impose tariffs on an additional $100 billion in the near future. Assuming the tariffs go forward, we can use research and trade data to consider where they could be deployed for maximum political gain.
Where trade policy meets politics
Trump is already raising money and holding rallies for the 2020 election, and he seems willing to use trade policy to bolster his reelection chances and salvage Republican control of the Senate in the 2018 midterms. After all, he reportedly timed the announcement of steel tariffs to influence a special House election in Pennsylvania.
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