Reprinted from Campaign For America's Future
With trade as a major issue in this election season (voters are against it), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is clearly in trouble.
All but one (John Kasich) of the remaining presidential candidates oppose it, with both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders actively campaigning against the damage the country's trade policies have done to working people.
Could this also mean an end to these kinds of "free trade" deals generally? This has triggered a lot of discussion online.
TPP In Trouble
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz all oppose TPP. Clinton, after a "message retooling" has even started speaking out against TPP -- for now anyway. In the Congress, Speaker Paul Ryan said last month that there are not enough votes to pass it.
However, Tory Newmyer, writing at Fortune, doesn't believe for a second that Hillary Clinton is telling the truth when she says she opposes TPP, and is happy about that. Newmyer writes in "Hillary Clinton and John Kasich Win Ohio, and So Does Free Trade":
"Free-trade boosters can breathe a sigh of relief after the Ohio presidential primary. A little one, anyway.
"Buckeye State voters in both parties delivered wins to trade-friendly candidates on Tuesday -- and denied them to a pair who staked their claims on pledges to oppose new deals, starting with the Trans Pacific Partnership. That outcome was in doubt after Ohio's neighbors to the north in Michigan last week voted for reality-show billionaire Donald Trump and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the most aggressive trade foes in the field.
"But in Ohio, Hillary Clinton and home-state Gov. John Kasich prevailed."
TPP seems to be done for in Congress for now. There's one thing, though: Wall Street and giant multinational corporations tend to get their way in Congress and there is one way they can still sneak TPP through. After the election there will be a "lame duck" session of Congress. Politico's Morning Trade wrote Wednesday that Senator Orrin Hatch is still looking at a "lame duck" vote to push TPP through:
"HATCH HAS NO PROBLEM WITH LAME-DUCK TPP VOTE: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said he has no problem holding a vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership during a lame-duck session of Congress ... He said it would be difficult for the next president to completely drop the trade deal if it's not approved this year, but the deal could lose political support if it takes too long to hold a vote."
So we still have to worry about TPP, but not before the election.
Corporate Free Trade In Trouble, Too
TPP, like previous corporate-written "trade" agreements, has little to do with trade and everything to do with increasing corporate dominance. And while those agreements have benefited giant corporations, the rest of us have paid a terrible price. Once in a rare while voters get to have their say on things like that. As a result, TPP is not all that is in trouble; the entire corporate-dominated free trade agenda is coming under fire as well. For good reason. This week's CAF post, What's The Problem With "Free Trade"? explained the problem:
"'Free trade' broke down those borders of democracy. It enabled goods from low-wage countries into the U.S. with no protective tariffs. This made the low wages and lack of environmental and worker protections in some countries into a 'comparative advantage' -- which meant democracy because a comparative disadvantage. We stopped 'protecting' American jobs, and allowed companies to freely lay off workers and close factories here and we have seen what has happened since.