The Bipartisan Demand for Buying American

Part of the reason I find it difficult to take our two party system seriously is that Americans from both parties tend to hold very similar beliefs — often on precisely those issues over which I wish there were more disagreement. As a case in point, consider today’s Pew report on attitudes towards “buying American”:


I find it remarkable that so many Americans feel that our economy cannot thrive unless we avoid consuming import goods. And I find it doubly worrisome that this belief is comparably strong among both Democrats and Republicans.

In fairness to my fellow Americans, though, I should note that the question from this survey seems to frame the issue with the intention of promoting these responses. Specifically, the “good idea” response is actually a “good idea – keeps jobs in the U.S.” response, while the “bad idea” response is actually a “bad idea – risks trade retaliation” response. I would suspect that a question that does not imply such a militaristic view of trade would be answered differently.