Trade war victories are vital to Trump as election looms
His tariff war has hurt US purchasing power more than the Chinese economy, but there are bigger, longer-term payoffs
“China has already begun agricultural purchases from our great patriot farmers & ranchers!” the president proclaimed. What he meant was: the chances of America’s farmers voting for him in 2020 just went up.
China and the US have called a truce in their trade war and markets have rallied, as usual. This is supposedly the “first stage” of a broader agreement, still to be thrashed out in the coming months, but it is the most positive sign of progress since the Northern Hemisphere spring, when they failed to clinch a widely expected deal.
It’s too early to celebrate, though. Both China and the US might be feeling the pain from slowing global trade, but the US is still very far from landing the comprehensive deal that Donald Trump has promised. This isn’t just because American GDP growth seems to be more sensitive to tariffs than Chinese. It’s also because Trump, unlike Xi Jinping, has to get re-elected...