Free trade is good on average, but:
1. Protectionism declares production, which is at present condemned as fascist nazi sin against Gaia, to be righteous and good. Protectionism strikes at the moral superiority of progs, who think that shutting down factories, mines, and sawmills is inherently virtuous.
2 . International agreements like the Transpacific Partnership are not free trade, and impair people’s ability to form families and have children, which harms the kind of people that voted for Trump.
3. Even genuine free trade, even though beneficial on average, hurts some people. In particular free trade between China and the US tends to equalize worker’s wages between China and the US, which harms the kind of people that voted for Trump. On the other hand, free trade between Britain and the US is fine for the kind of people who voted for Trump.
When Trump permitted two pipelines, conditional on them using US made steel in US made pipes, the delicious liberal tears flowed – for not only did they consider the pipelines sinful, but they considered US made steel and US made pipes sinful as well. When Trump added those protectionist conditions to the pipelines, he used the bully pulpit to tell liberals that they were not holy, that producing stuff is right and good. No matter what the detrimental effects of protectionism on efficiency, the effects of a moral climate that condemns work and production as sinful and illegitimate is a thousand times worse. When Trump explained his permits to the American people, Trump told the people that a steel mill belching out carbon dioxide is a good thing.
Obviously free trade is good on average. But international trade agreements that consist of thousands of pages of legalese like the Transpacific Partnership are not free trade. Rather, they are arrangements to replace local regulation with regulation by “The International Community”. But distant regulation is necessarily more rigid, inflexible, and out of contact with reality, than local regulation.
Local regulation is corrupt in that you have a beer with a friend, who has a beer with his friend, who arranges that the regulation will be overlooked for you. Or one of your employees seduces the bureaucrat. Distant regulation, international regulation, is corrupt in that you hire a team of Harvard lawyers and team of lobbyists, who occupy several towers in Washington and New York City and get to write the regulations that bugger your competitors more severely than they bugger you. Thus distant regulation, the Transpacific Partnership, inevitably favors giant corporations in major cities, and crushes small businesses in small towns – favors the people who voted against Trump, and crushes the people who voted for Trump. When Trump dumped the Transpacific Partnership, he took a boot off the throats of the people who voted for him.
Inevitably, international trade agreements like the Transpacific Partnership favor people in the big cities, and hurt people in flyover country, hurt the people who voted for Trump, benefit the people who voted against Trump. So people move from flyover country to the big cities. And it is hard to marry in big cities, and there is nowhere for the kids. Women in big cities, like women on international trips, are free from the watchful eyes of friends and family, and tend to fuck around, rendering them unmarriageable. If you repeatedly reuse stickytape, it stops sticking, and women that fuck too many men become emotionally incapable of bonding to husband and children. Also, in the big city, hard to know what your wife or girlfriend is doing. In a small town, your wife will not misbehave, because she knows news will get back to her husband. Because the big city makes it easier to cheat on your wife or husband, the big city makes it harder for men and women to cooperate to form families. Notice that most of those women screaming in outrage about Trump grabbing women by the pussy are big city women who are old enough that they are quite safe from the likelihood that Trump might grab them by the pussy, are single, are too old to marry and have children, and are facing what they thoroughly deserve, a lonely and unloved old age. Again, Trump benefits those who voted for him, and to hell with those who voted against him, to hell with those who are now screaming at him and weeping tasty tears.