Are American Voters Ready to Bear the Costs of an Economic War With China?

Are American Voters Ready to Bear the Costs of an Economic War With China?
An American flag is flown next to the Chinese national emblem during a welcome ceremony for visiting U.S. President Donald Trump outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Nov. 9, 2017 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.

In the past year, U.S. President Donald Trump has launched a damaging trade war with Beijing, as well as an all-out assault against Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei. But tit-for-tat tariffs are hurting consumers and farmers, requiring sacrifices on the part of the American public. With no end in sight to the trade tensions, are American voters prepared to bear the costs of all-out economic war with China? This question could be central to Trump’s political fate, but Democratic candidates running to replace Trump in 2020 will also have to answer it.

The resulting debate will be shaped partly by cooling public opinion on China in the U.S., amid a recent spike in trade and economic tensions. Only 41 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of China, down 12 percentage points from last year, according to a Gallup survey conducted in February. And a growing number of Americans are more concerned with China’s economic strength than its military power.

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