Yes, it is what you think. The rich are influential and vocal, and most of them benefit from free trade. So politicians are kowtowing to them even though free trade deals like NAFTA have killed one million jobs and substantially increased the income gap between the rich and everyone else.
“They — along with businesses and interest groups that tend to be affiliated with them — are much more likely to support trade liberalization. Trade is thus one of the best examples of how public policy in the United States is often much more responsive to the preferences of the wealthy than to those of the general public,” writes Brendan Nyhan, assistant professor of government at Dartmouth College, in a new piece in the New York Times.