Trade policy issues are blurring old lines, turning politics in 2016 inside out | The Kansas City Star

Labor opposition to a free-trade deal would be unremarkable most years. Unions have long argued that free trade drives down wages and jobs, while business owners have argued for cheaper imports and .

 

Candidates and voters in both major parties appear to be switching long-held positions on trade policy: Free-trade Republicans are becoming protectionist, while some Democrats are moving the opposite direction on exports and imports.

 

The flip-flops are making it harder to reach consensus in Washington. A major trade deal with Asian nations has stalled largely because of tangled trade politics, for example.

 

But the changing views may also make it harder to decipher races up and down the ballot this year, from president to Congress and beyond. Trade policy no longer breaks along clean partisan lines.

 

Jessica Podhola sits in a conference room near Ford’s Claycomo plant, angry over a proposed international agreement to make it easier and cheaper to import products from Asian nations.

 

 

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