Free Trade — With the following conditions…

John Steele Gordon writes:

But so far, and despite waverings on the margins, it remains the fact that the Republican party, long the champion of protectionism, is now essentially the owner of the ideology of open trade, while the mainstream of the Democratic party, a party founded on that ideology and proudly identified with it for virtually its entire existence, is in the process of a stunning reversal.

True, Democrats do not flat-out oppose lower barriers to trade, or flat-out endorse explicitly protectionist measures. Instead, their views are usually couched in terms of environmental concerns and workers’ rights. Congressional Democrats, for instance, will claim that they are not against free trade; they just insist on provisos in free-trade agreements that no sovereign nation could possibly accept. [Emphasis added.]

HT: Bryan Caplan

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