The trade war of 2018 was, in theory, supposed to hurt Republicans in states vulnerable to higher tariffs and Chinese retaliation. The results from Tuesday’s midterm elections suggest that didn’t really happen.
President Donald Trump’s tariffs were a hot topic in farming regions and the Rust Belt -- places with a lot to lose in the dispute with China, which countered with duties on iconic American exports from soybeans to lobsters. Yet several candidates who opposed Trump’s tariffs were defeated, while some who backed the duties won their races.
The outcome gives the U.S. president little incentive to soften his hawkish trade strategy. A potential turning point is coming at the end of this month, when the president is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina.