Despite pushback from both left and right, free markets should always be supported, because they free people to live out their potential—even in despotic regimes like China’s.
Doug Irwin in his seminal book Free Trade Under Fire points out that Democrats and Republicans have historically vacillated on free trade. The Democratic Party of the late 19th century up until World War II was the party of trade liberalization when Republicans consistently voted for high tariffs. From the 1950s through the early ʼ90s, there was a bipartisan consensus favoring reduced tariffs.
Since NAFTA, a free trade agreement signed into law by President Bill Clinton, support for free trade among Democrats and Republicans has flip-flopped. Labor unions have generally opposed free trade agreements, which helps us understand the shift among Democrats. Republican president Donald Trump engaged in an all-out trade war with China and ran his presidency largely on an anti-free-trade agenda.