What Americans Really Think About Trade: A Conversation with Alexandra Guisinger

What Americans Really Think About Trade: A Conversation with Alexandra Guisinger

President Donald Trump hands Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers, his pen after signing a directive ordering an investigation into the impact of foreign steel on the U.S. economy. Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein
from Politics, Power, and Preventive Action

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Trade

Polls and Public Opinion

Gender

American perceptions of trade became a critical part of the 2016 presidential election, and has remained at the center of U.S. public discourse since President Donald Trump took office. To understand why Americans feel the way they do about international trade, I was very fortunate to speak with Alexandra Guisinger, assistant professor of political science at Temple University, who has an excellent new book out this week that I highly recommend, American Opinion on Trade: Preferences Without Politics.

Professor Guisinger’s book is a fascinating study of how gender and race affect support for trade protection. We discuss her brilliant study of 531 trade-related campaign ads that feature largely only white men, and whether “economic anxiety” is actually found in surveys of Americans. She also sheds light on just how much the U.S. steel industry—which Trump has been fixated with—really contributes to the economy, and predicts whether we can expect trade to remain a salient issue in American politics. Professor Guisinger also provides valuable advice to young scholars and those interested in a career in political science and international relations.

Listen to our conversation, and be sure to check out Professor Guisinger’s new book, American Opinion on Trade: Preferences Without Politics.

Micah Zenko

Senior Fellow