Donald Trump was not the first person to notice that the globalized economy of elite trade deals and open borders has not fulfilled its promise of more prosperity for all, but he has been one of the loudest. So his candidacy has reminded citizens that their economic struggles to survive are at least partially the result of government policies that favor the elites.
One example: America is no longer a majority middle-class nation, according to a 2015 Pew Research study:
The Rasmussen pollsters have recently produced some interesting surveys to reflect the Americans growing understanding that the government is actually acting agains their economic interests. One poll found that more than two-thirds of voters think government colludes with business against the people, which is a shocking opinion really. It reflects the belief that we now live in an oligarchy, not under a representative government. No wonder Trump’s pledge to kick out the corruption has found an audience.
Most Think Government, Big Business Work Together Against America, Rasmussen Reports, July 06, 2016
Most voters feel government and big business are a deadly combination.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 68% of Likely U.S. Voters think government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors. Seventeen percent (17%) do not, but just as many (15%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Another poll found that Americans “strongly agree” with returning manufacturing to the this nation and were willing to pay more for US-produced consumer goods, although no numbers were included.
Finally, below is a survey about trade. Voters largely believe globalist trade deals have been bad for the country, but the pols don’t care what the citizens think.
The elites don’t change course because they have accrued so much political power that they can do what they please to enrich themselves. If Hillary Clinton is elected president, the family will probably become billionaires by the time she leaves office. Remember that she claimed they were “dead broke” when Bill left the presidency, but now the couple is worth $111 million.
Voters Aren’t Happy with NAFTA, Other Free Trade Deals, Rasmussen Reports, July 5, 2016
Donald Trump has vowed to renegotiate NAFTA and other international free trade deals if elected president, saying they are costing U.S. jobs and killing the economy. Supporters say the trade deals lower prices for American consumers. Voters are not big fans of free trade deals like NAFTA but also strongly believe that the politicians negotiating those deals don’t care what they think anyway.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters think the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico needs to be renegotiated. Just 27% disagree, but nearly as many (23%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Interestingly, support for renegotiation was slightly higher at 56% in June 2008 when Republican presidential candidate John McCain was defending NAFTA, while his Democratic opponent Barack Obama was calling for changes in it. Now, however, Obama and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton are defending the 1994 pact which lowers nearly all trade barriers between the three countries from attacks by the likely 2016 GOP nominee.
Only 29% of voters now believe most U.S. free trade agreements with other countries have been good for America. Forty-nine percent (49%) say they have been bad for the country instead. Just six percent (6%) say these agreements have had no impact. Sixteen percent (16%) are undecided. This is a more critical assessment of the deals than voters had eight years ago.
Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major party are more critical of NAFTA and free trade deals in general than Democrats are.
But only seven percent (7%) of all voters think politicians listen most to voters when it comes to trade issues. Forty-nine percent (49%) say politicians listen most to whoever makes the biggest contribution to them, while 28% say business leaders come first. Eight percent (8%) believe politicians listen most to other world leaders on trade issues. These findings are little changed from the 2008 presidential campaign season.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on June 30 and July 3, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
A little over a year ago, just 43% of Americans felt free trade was good for the country. Forty percent (40%) said it takes away American jobs, but 50% felt it was good for consumers.
Sixty-two percent (62%) of Republicans and unaffiliated voters by a 52% to 24% margin think NAFTA needs to be renegotiated. Only 38% of Democrats agree.
The findings are nearly identical when it comes to free trade agreements in general. Most GOP and unaffiliated voters think they are bad for America. Democrats are far less likely to agree and, in fact, are a bit more likely to believe that they are good for the country.
But voters in all three parties are in general agreement that politicians listen more to big contributors and business leaders than to voters when it comes to trade issues.
Men and those 40 and over are more critical of NAFTA and free trade agreements in general than women and younger voters are.
But voters under 40 were Bernie Sanders’ most enthusiastic supporters, and in his unsuccessful bid against Clinton for the Democratic nomination, Sanders also was critical of America’s free trade deals. Perhaps this helps explain why this age group is the most likely to be undecided on these questions.
Among voters who think NAFTA needs to be renegotiated, 76% believe most U.S. free trade agreements with other countries have been bad for America. Sixty-two percent (62%) of those who think NAFTA is fine as is feel that most free trade deals have been good for this country.
The U.S. economy historically has had an average annual growth rate of 3.3% but has fallen short of that number in every year of Obama’s presidency. Still, his fellow Democrats give the president positive marks for his economic performance and think Clinton would do more of the same. Trump, on the other hand, is expected to make the economy better by all voters except Democrats.
Most voters still believe the U.S. economy is unfair to the middle class. But voters say that economic growth is more important than economic fairness, and they give a thumbs up to policies that expand the economy over policies that promote fairness.
Trump has edged ahead of Clinton in our latest weekly White House Watch survey.