Donald Trump’s decision to enact harsh tariffs on Chinese goods are a time bomb that may blow up in Trump’s face, the Washington Post reports.
Unless there’s a deal—and there are currently no negotiations to make that happen—on July 6 there will be new American tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods. At that point, there will be Chinese retaliation in the form of tariffs targeting American farmers and exporters.
That gives Trump a reason to negotiate—and some of his advisors want him to do just that.
“He’s set himself up perfectly for that attack,” said a spokesman for the free-market American Enterprise Institute. “There’s a group inside the administration that very, very much wants a deal.”
However, Trump’s base wants him to shrink the trade deficient with China, which has grown under his watch and hit a record-high in 2018.
It Trump wants to back away from driving a hard deal and takes a concession, he may anger his base.
“The Democrats are champing at the bit to win back what they see as their natural constituency: working-class voters,” said a former adviser to Joe Biden. “I would bet you many Democrats are going to move into that space immediately.”
To make it more interesting, China’s own tariffs are intended to deliver a blow that hits Trump’s supporters the hardest.
“They have mapped this out to a very fine level of detail, down to congressional districts,” a China expert from Princeton University said. “It is intended to inflict maximum pain on people they recognize as being Trump’s primary constituents in hopes that it will make him change course.”