Trump will have a harder time turning things around as the China trade war drags on

President Donald Trump’s chaotic behavior can make financial markets gyrate any moment — and, given his split-personality constituency, likely will do so through Election Day 2020.

Trump pushed the Dow up nearly 400 points on Tuesday with a simple announcement: His administration will postpone additional tariffs on Chinese imports that would have hiked prices on popular consumer goods. The threat of those tariffs had helped drive markets down nearly 400 points on Monday.

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A wave of relief swept through corporate America, which had warned the tariffs might trigger a recession. No president wants to face voters in an economic downturn.

But if that were Trump’s only concern, he never would have pursued his haphazard trade policy in the first place. It isn’t his only concern, which means Tuesday won’t mark the final turn in Wall Street’s trade roller coaster.

The business community and its campaign donations represent vital Republican assets. The top priority of corporate executives — the December 2017 tax-cut — stands as the only major legislative accomplishment Trump and the GOP Congress delivered.

But for its votes, the 21st century GOP increasingly depends on working-class whites without big stock portfolios or high tax liabilities. Instead of material benefits, Trump offers those voters the emotional satisfaction of giving voice to their fears and frustrations.

His bombast on an immigrant “invasion,” and harsh border policies in the name of stopping it, serve that purpose. So does his bluster on trade.

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