IPPSR State of the State Podcast: Politics, Tariffs and the Popular Vote

Jun 17, 2019

It’s all about politics, tariffs and the popular vote – read that as redistricting -- in June’s State of the State Podcast.

Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research fielded three well-known voices on the State of the State Podcast: Interim IPPSR Director Arnold Weinfeld, economist Charles Ballard and Corwin Smidt, associate professor of political science.


As politics wrapped with international trade tariffs, Michigan was stunned by President Trump’s threat to impose increasing tariffs on Mexican goods, Ballard said.

“By some measures, we’re more exposed to tariffs on Mexican goods, than any other state,” he said during the podcast conversation. Trump announced the plan to stem the flow of migration from Central America.

The president earlier imposed tariffs on Chinese goods, another potential jolt for trade-dependent states like Michigan, Ballard said.

Arnold Weinfeld, Corwin Smidt, Charles Ballard
Credit Cindy Kyle | IPPSR MSU

U.S. supply chains, especially involving automotive manufacturing, are closely connected with Mexico and Canada, Ballard noted. “You’ve got components crossing borders like crazy. Michigan is deeply involved in the North American economy. Tariffs have the potential to do some damage.”

“The economy is sort of like a spider web. If you pluck it in one corner, the whole thing shakes,” he added.

Trade may mix with politics yet this summer, as the IPPSR podcasters talked of a potentially upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on Michigan’s efforts to reform statewide redistricting.

The court is facing redistricting cases from several states, including Michigan. The nation’s high court is expected to end its term this month, Smidt noted. “People are setting the stage waiting for … these outcomes, come the end of June, most likely… where the Supreme Court’s going to make some decisions about partisan gerrymandering,” he said.

In November 2018, Michigan passed a ballot initiative creating an independent redistricting commission to govern how voting lines are drawn. The task had been handled in the most recent past by Michigan’s Legislature.

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