Trump's tariffs do not satisfy moderates

With the midterm elections quickly approaching, Republicans and Democrats find themselves in a political quagmire. President Donald Trump’s move to impose tariffs on China and Europe has found more support with conservatives. It does not satisfy most Americans, however.

Recent polls have shown a partisan divide on Trump’s trade policies, which comes as no surprise in this current political climate. However, there are some interesting caveats in the data that should worry Trump and the Republican Party as they try to maintain their majority in Congress as well as pass party-supported legislation.

Only 68 percent of moderate Republicans and 42 percent of independents support the president’s tariff policy. Affluent suburbs, once reliable Republican strongholds, are not completely supportive of Trump’s tariffs either. This climate will force moderate Republicans who are running for office to make a tough choice between supporting their party or appeasing the American people through compromise. Republicans will have to decide whether supporting Trump’s unpopular tariffs will endanger their future reputation, or if the Trump magic will help them squeeze out a midterm win.

A majority of the seats up for grabs are located in the Midwest. The Republican party has been taking such a beating in the ongoing trade war that senators from the Midwest tried to convince Trump to re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership to grant some much-needed reprieve to their constituents. Politicians in these districts need to make economic growth a priority and must advocate for freetrade.

The people who voted for the president — not the party — in 2008 did not show up for the 2010 midterms, and the same pattern will likely repeat itself in this year’s midterms. The Republican Party is already at a disadvantage as Trump is currently an unpopular president, with an approval rating sitting at 40 percent — lower than the past 12 presidents.

This should embolden both Republicans and Democrats to come out swinging against Trump’s policies. These actions on trade, especially the aluminum and steel tariffs, are causing more harm than good. Having backfired, the trade tariffs are increasing Democratic support instead.

The independent and moderate voters are showing that they have had enough. These voters are compelling the politicians running to adopt more moderate views. In response, the Republican National Committee must now dump millions of dollars into races that were once thought to be safe. Cynics will argue otherwise, but cynicism is a choice. However, hope will always be a better choice.