Reason Podcast

Trump's Mexican Standoff and the New Illiberal Right

When Tucker Carlson and Elizabeth Warren agree on trade, regulation, and social media, it's time to rethink a few things.


Donald Trump's latest tariff brinksmanship has ended more with a set of whimpers than with a bang, for which those of us who favor and participate in mutual gains from trade can breathe a sigh of relief, if only temporarily.

But what have we learned from this most recent round of applied mercantilism, and how does it overlap with the ongoing Deplatforming Wars, Tucker Carlson's crush on Elizabeth Warren, and the nationalist/classical-liberal spat on the right? Such are the topics on today's Editors' Roundtable edition of the Reason Podcast, featuring Katherine Mangu-WardNick Gillespie, Peter Suderman and Matt Welch. Along the way we also discuss reclaiming the word "liberal" (really!), Late Capitalism's learned helplessness, and the many prophecies of Neal Stephenson.

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Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Relevant links from the show:

"Trump's Claim That Mexico Will Buy More American Agricultural Goods Is Fake News," by Eric Boehm

"Trump's Threatened Tariffs on Mexican Imports Might Not Happen. They Have Costs Anyway," by Eric Boehm

"Trump's Tariffs on Mexican Imports Would Be Biggest Tax Increase in Decades," by Eric Boehm

"Trump's Trade War Turns 1. Here's What We've Lost," by Eric Boehm

"Trump's Legal Authority to Impose Tariffs," by David Post

"Will Senate Republicans Revolt Over Trump's Mexico Tariff Threats?" by Eric Boehm

"Becoming the Libs to Own the Libertarians: Tucker Carlson Praises Elizabeth Warren," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"The Fight Conservatives Are Having Over Theocracy and Classical Liberalism Obscures How Beaten Their Movement Is," by Nick Gillespie

"The New Theocrats Are Neither Conservative Nor Christian," by Stephanie Slade

"David French Is Right: Classical Liberalism Is the Best Framework for Protecting Religious Freedom," by Robby Soave

"YouTube Punishes Steven Crowder for Homophobic Speech, a Confused Approach to an Unsolvable Problem," by Robby Soave

"To Fight 'Extremism,' Journalists Are Praising Online Censorship," by Nick Gillespie

"White House Seeks Social Media Sob Stories from Conservative Snowflakes," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"No, the Government Shouldn't Break Up Facebook," by Nick Gillespie

"'Nobody Wants To See a Government Speech Police': Senate Republicans Threaten To Regulate Facebook and Twitter," by Billy Binion

"Elizabeth Warren's Plan to Break Up Big Tech Would Be Bad for America," by David Harsanyi

"If We Told You Neal Stephenson Invented Bitcoin, Would You Be Surprised?" by Peter Suderman




NEXT: What the Battle To Publish Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl' Means to Today's Free-Speech Struggles

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Carlson is an alt-right white nationalist who opposes the Koch / Reason open borders agenda. It’s offensive to smear Elizabeth Warren by linking her with such a hateful bigot.


      1. Ideally, yes, that’s the goal of Koch / Reason libertarianism.


        1. #OpenBordersUbeAlles

    1. Yes, Elizabeth Warren is a hateful bigot.

  2. I don’t watch main-stream opinion shows very often. Is the Tucker Carlson position on Warren and libertarianism typical of other shows on Fox, or is he off on his own with this one?

    1. He has wandered way off the reservation on Free Markets. He’s not wrong that they aren’t the only thing in life, but he has struck out on some anti-consumerism anti-growth binge. But he’s better than most on Free Speech

      1. But he’s better than most on Free Speech

        That’s a low bar these days.

    2. You don’t know what irony is either. You seem to be pretty stupid, in fact.

      1. Tulsa is quite the asset here at Reason. For example.

        1. I’m sorry you’re upset that I called you out for lying and being wrong. However, in my defence, you were lying and wrong.

  3. Always a pleasure to see the face of liberalism getting punched. Keep it up!

  4. I’m sure whatever is being said at Reason’s official TDS Desk is fascinating. For anyone who’s interested in what Mexico’s Foreign Minister is saying, there’s this:

    “Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that no additional agreements had been finalized, aside from the deal it struck with the U.S. delayed for now the Trump administration’s demands for Mexico to become a safe third country, a move that would require approval from the Mexican Senate.

    Mexico’s view is that an overhauled asylum system would have to be regional, with the participation of Central American governments and the United Nations Refugee Agency, Mr. Ebrard said.

    He said that Mexico will strengthen enforcement to contain Central American migration and begin a review of those efforts after 45 days. If the flow of migrants hasn’t been significantly reduced after 90 days, the two sides will return to the negotiating table.”

    1. Realize, of course, that Mexico’s government needs to sell this to their own people and being seen as capitulating to the U.S. Government, generally, and Donald “Fucking” Trump, specifically, isn’t about to get anybody reelected. So, of course, the two governments are likely to spin the deal differently. That being said, here’s the deal:

      1) Mexico will deploy troops to the border with Guatemala and do their best to stop asylum seekers from crossing into Mexico. They haven’t been very good at stopping trafficking of people and “commerce” in the past, but this time’s gonna be different.

      2) They can’t stop the Guatemalans, Hondurans, and Salvadorans who have already crossed the Mexican border with Guatemala from walking north, so they’ve been given 45 days before they start really seeing whether their efforts have been effective or whether human traffickers have bribed their way past the law like they always do.

      3) If the number of asylum seekers hasn’t significantly declined after 90 days, then they’re “going back to the negotiating table” with Trump. In this case, that means Trump will hit them with tariffs in 5% intervals up to a maximum of 25%–until Mexico agrees to become a “safe third country”, meaning that refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, or anywhere else in the world will become ineligible for asylum in the U.S. if they come to the U.S. through Mexico. We’ve had a similar “safe third country” agreement with Canada for decades–in compliance with U.S. law and both the Constitution and our treaties–which means it should survive a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court just fine.

      4) It may be necessary for Trump to hit Mexico with tariffs before the Mexican Senate ratifies a “safe third country” agreement, so brace yourselves. The social democrats control the Mexican Senate, and they won’t want to be seen as capitulating to Donald Trump’s bullying. They might get it by if by voting for the agreement, it means that they’re saving Mexico from Trump’s tariffs. 80% of all Mexican exports go to the United States, and if they had to pay as much as a 25% tariff, it would be devastating to their economy.

      That’s what’s going on–whether you agree with it or not and regardless of whether Liz Warren and Tucker Carlson feel the same way.

      1. According to the MSM Trump’s tariff threat has gotten real results.

        Mexican negotiators persuaded President Trump to back down from his tariff threat by agreeing to an unprecedented crackdown on Central American migrants and accepting more-expansive measures in Mexico if the initial efforts don’t deliver quick results, according to officials from both governments and documents reviewed by The Washington Post.

        The enforcement measures Mexico has promised include the deployment of a militarized national guard at the Guatemalan border, thousands of additional migrant arrests per week and the acceptance of busloads of asylum seekers turned away from the U.S. border daily, all geared toward cutting the migrant flow sharply in coming weeks. The measures, described by officials from both sides and included in Mexican negotiating documents reviewed by The Post, appear to be more substantial than what the Mexican government has attempted thus far during the precipitous rise in migration to the U.S. border.


        Most asylum seekers who reach U.S. soil now are processed and released into the U.S. interior to await court proceedings, something that can take months or years. The proposal would make asylum seekers instead apply for protection in the first foreign country they reach after departing their homeland, potentially allowing the United States to send Guatemalans back to Mexico, and Hondurans and Salvadorans back to Guatemala. Department of Homeland Security officials were in Guatemala last month discussing such a plan.
        Mexico has repeatedly said that it will not agree to a “safe third country” accord that would require it to take in U.S.-bound asylum seekers transiting its territory. But Mexican officials have been willing to negotiate something that would function similarly, if responsibility for asylum seekers were shared among other nations in the region.

        They say such asylum changes would require approval from Mexican lawmakers, and Trump said in a tweet Monday that he will impose tariffs if the regional asylum overhaul doesn’t pass: “If for any reason approval is not forthcoming, Tariffs will be reinstated!” he warned.



      2. The win-win would be for the US to help Mexico secure their southern border.

  5. When they agree it is time to turn off the TV and get some fresh air. The horseshoe of shit ideology is about to close, again.

  6. When Libertarians push open borders for unlimited millions of future Socialist voters it’s time to rethink Libertarianism.

    1. Absolutely! Ends justifying means is a core libertarian principle, doncha know!

  7. Illegals file taxes? Is Peter drunk?

    1. They’re the biggest contributor to Turbotax’s Profits. Didn’t you know?

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