Chapter 1 provides an overview of the book and its two interwoven puzzles: what are the predictors of Americans’ trade preferences in today’s post-industrial economy, and why do so few politicians attempt to take advantage of these preferences? After providing historical context for American trade policy, the chapter outlines an answer: that the changing American economy has untethered traditional sources of trade sentiment, resulting in diverse, countervailing, and difficult to mobilize sources of trade sentiment. As a result, in most political districts, discussion of trade has fallen by the wayside; and trade policy is increasingly being formulated and conducted outside of standard systems of voter-driven accountability. The chapter places this new argument in the context of existing literature on the domestic and international politics of trade policy and provides a chapter by chapter summary of the book.
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